What games have been ruined for you by soundtracks you hate? I’ve played some Trials Rising (my first Trials Game) and while I’ve loved the gameplay every time I think about playing it I’m reluctant to because I think the music in it is godawful. At this point I don’t even know if I’ll continue with it. Another game in recent memory that almost met this criteria was Dragon Quest XI, until I found out there was a mod to replace the music with orchestral versions. If not for that mod I definitely would not have continued with that game.
I can think of times music elevated games, but usually, even if I don’t like the music, I find that it fits.
The closest examples I have are...
I play the current WWE games with my kid. I just turn the music off, or make it play ridiculous music like the Sexy Boy song for giggles.
Same for sports games. I’m not into the overwhelming majority of hip-hop, so I just turn it off.
I think Final Fantasy tactics Advance and Pokemon Ruby both had this problem for me. It's not even that their music is bad - It's just that I played those games for hundreds of hours, and after a while the music felt like it was drilling into my eardrums. I really can't go back. I suppose the GBA's sound chip or whatever didn't help.
I guess the closest this ever gets is when games don't mix the audio properly?
Japanese games in particular seem terrible about mixing their audio. Even if the music is good oftentimes it absolutely overpowered everything else and there's not always a way to adjust the levels.
Beyond that I don't know that bad music could really ruin a game for me, if it's just something I hate then Ill turn it off and find my own.
I've played a lot of sports games in my life, and thus I am generally attuned to the hodgepodge/committee approach to music licensing and don't let it bother me. Many songs I would otherwise hate or just dismiss become obnoxiously delicious earworms for me over time like some kind of stockholm syndrome. That said, while I get that Watch_Dogs' whole thing was crafting a playlist for yourself on your iPod or whatever the gimmick was, I was so apathetic to that game and the main character that I just kept every song I collected active and their curation really was the worst. It had great songs by bad artists, bad songs by good artists, mediocre songs from complete unknowns and random inclusions of certain genres just so they could go "y'know, Chicago!" It had no sense of character or setting, it was just a bunch of music. Sure, a lot of real life iPods look/looked like that, including mine, but this was a curated and licensed piece of an artistic work, not some random citizen's Pirate Bay collection.
They really needed to attach that music to Aiden's character in some way for the playlist idea to work; I mostly drove around with the radio off in that game, something I will absolutely clown people for doing in real life.
I can't really think of any examples of games that were flat out ruined by the music, but the reverse is true - there have been several games without music, or with only situational vignettes rather than a continuous soundtrack, that couldn't hold my interest largely because of it, The Signal from Tölva, Plunkbat and Black the Fall certainly come to mind there.
There are of course the examples given above where you have a previous reference point and something changes for the worse - like when Binding of Isaac and Super Meat Boy got their soundtracks replaced, or that Dark Souls' soundtrack was just incredibly generic compared to Demon's Souls.
There are far more examples of games where a great soundtrack has helped me look past other issues, like bugs/design issues or poor writing/acting.
To me the soundtrack may be the most important part of a game, so listening to a podcast instead is akin to skipping the cutscenes in a Metal Gear game or playing something like Journey on a mobile/Vita screen.
"How can we bring the Battlefield theme into a modern/near future soundscape?"
"Don't worry i just picked up this $5 synthesizer from Toys R Us".
Way to suck any energy and creativity out of the franchise, i bet the composers at DICE hated having to work on BF3 and 4, BF2 had such fun and creative energy.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is one of my favorite games ever and had some great music, but the mixing was TERRIBLE in some cutscenes, like to the point where I needed the subtitles to understand what the hell they were saying. The other thing was that while the day and night songs for the only city of NLA weren't BAD, they got pretty old considering the amount of time you had to spend in the city throughout the game. Still love the game, but those were some big drawbacks for me.
To everyone saying they play their own music or podcasts. Doesn’t that kind of get in the way of sound effects and dialog? I can understand if you’re doing something grindy like in an MMO but for anything narrative driven or with important sound effects it seems like a no go to me. To take my examples, I can see playing your own music for Trials but Dragon Quest XI I can’t see not listening to the game audio.
To everyone saying they play their own music or podcasts. Doesn’t that kind of get in the way of sound effects and dialog?
It does; I don't play a lot of narrative-heavy games, though. Most video game stories bore me to tears. Generally if I'm going to pay attention to dialogue it's in the sort of game where it comes in punctuated bursts, at which point I pause the podcast and resume it when I'm back to action.
I really despised most of the soundtrack in the original Need For Speed: Most Wanted. I went so far as to go into the music menu and manually turn off the tracks I extra hated, but in those dark pre-podcast days, I still had to hear a lot of those middling EA Trax many, many times. I don’t play very many sports/racing games, so I’m not used to being subjected to this melange of vaguely macho licensed music from [current year].
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