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Posted by TheFlamingo352 (337 posts) 1 year, 6 months ago

Poll: How'd you feel about the "lack" of music? (287 votes)

I like'd the emptiness, it felt restrained/clean/etc. 63%
I wasn't a fan of the emptiness, it wasn't memorable/catchy/etc. 21%
I haven't played Zelda BotW 7%
Results 9%

Watching Dan and Alex teach PunchOut to Abby, and they talked a bit at the end about best soundtracks of the year. They echoed a sentiment that I feel like I've heard a bunch this year, that Zelda didn't have good music so much as good sound design. They talked about not having enough memorable tunes and some other stuff, but I thought the game's music was really smartly arranged and tonally consistent with the story (lonely/sad without being dark and gloomy).

What'd you guys think?

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#1 Posted by Teddie (2138 posts) -

I can't remember a single note of music from the game, but I remember it being well suited whenever it was used. Can't really hold it against the game since it worked, but being unmemorable is a pretty big strike in my book.

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#2 Edited by Redhotchilimist (2960 posts) -

I'd have a hard time giving best score to a game with as spare a music score as Zelda, but I don't think they made the wrong choice when they made the game, either. The music is wonderful where they use it, and it dynamically moves in and out of songs depending on the situation you're in. All the locales have their own nice theme, too, as well as different enemy types. It could use maybe a bit more of their famous leitmotifs here and there, that's all, like how Skyrim would use that super memorable night theme. They did the right type of music for a game where you wander in the wilds for hours, searching for the mysteries of the past.

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#3 Posted by AlisterCat (8080 posts) -

I liked it a lot, though some more musical moments would have been nice. Especially the classic zelda theme or something like the sailing music in wind waker.

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#4 Edited by Dray2k (884 posts) -

Sometimes, majesty doesn't require ambient music.

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#5 Posted by disco_drew22 (67 posts) -

I liked it. It was used sparingly but effectively.

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#6 Posted by paulmako (1958 posts) -

The Hateno Village theme is probably my favourite piece of game music this year. It's just perfect. Just hearing it makes me want to jump back into the game.

I think they made the correct decision with the music in the game.

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#7 Posted by chebbles (122 posts) -

It was one of my favourite aspects of the game. Felt it accentuated the mood of the game when you heard those few notes as you came across something interesting, or the terror that came with the music of the Guardians. I think it went with the melancholy of the game.

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#8 Edited by Ungodly (446 posts) -

I just ended up listening to Spotify, and I got to say that Fleetwood Mac's the Chain added a lot to the big boos fight at the end.

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#9 Posted by elmorales94 (370 posts) -

I literally can't remember a single song from this game. It's not even a situation where the rare use of music serves to accentuate the sensation when a song does kick up. I'm drawing a complete blank. Utterly unmemorable.

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#10 Edited by mavs (382 posts) -

Loved it. The battle themes were great when they lasted long enough, and the overworld didn't need much accompaniment.

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#11 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

I thought it was a pretty daring choice. It definitely felt alien at times, but overall I think I liked it. Not quite as much as your standard bombastic orchestral stuff, but it was interesting.

If they really called it "good sound design" I think that's a cheap shot or using the terms inaccurately, it's definitely music.

this is a pretty good series on the music of the game

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#12 Edited by Novis (295 posts) -

For the game itself, it worked fine. But as a Zelda game, I was SUPER missing hearing those tracks, since Nintendo has one of the better music departments in video games. So kinda mixed.

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#13 Posted by MezZa (3048 posts) -

I liked the boss music a lot. And the tunes that chimed in during atmospheric moments were great too. The soundtrack is peaceful. Not empty.

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#14 Posted by DonChipotle (3521 posts) -

There was the song when you leave the cave and the song when you run into a dragon and that was the only memorable bits of music in the entire thing.

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#15 Posted by BigSocrates (1966 posts) -

I think it fit the game well, since the appearance of music often meant something was happening in the game and marked an act of discovery (like finding a giant Talus or whatever). On the other hand I do like catchy 'traditional' Zelda music. In the end, though, I think they wanted to break with recent Zelda tradition in a lot of ways, and having the soundtrack just be of a different kind was one of them. If you glided off the plateau and the familiar main Zelda theme came up it wouldn't have felt like exploring such a strange and mysterious world.

I think that having the soundtrack they have kept the focus on the mystery and the exploration, and that's what the game did best, so it was the right decision.

In general people who really like Breath of the Wild (and it's one of my favorite games of all time) tend to like how the game was different from prior Zeldas and played with the Zelda tropes and traditions in interesting ways. People who wanted more adherence to the traditional structure liked the game less. I suspect feelings about the music trend the same way.

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#16 Edited by doctordonkey (1819 posts) -

You spend like 90% of the game in the open world, and this game is incredibly long. Having an overarching theme playing throughout the entire thing would have driven me insane. They made the right decision to abstain from going as heavy as they usually do with the music. It's there when it needs to be, but it's not like other Zelda games. Just like how almost everything else is not like other Zelda games. It's not like it's devoid of memorable music, either. Hateno Village (day or night) and Tarrey Town are fuckin' incredible pieces.

Also, that Hyrule Castle track, indoors and outdoors, is one of the best songs in the entire franchise. So there's that. The actual BotW theme song that plays in the trailer and in the final boss fight is also great.

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#17 Posted by SloppyDetective (1600 posts) -

I loved it. That main piano riff gently slowly coming in while exploring. It's my favorite music of the year, but I also haven't played Nier or Persona which seem like their soundtracks have a lot of fans.

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#18 Posted by Neurogia (147 posts) -

I didn't like the emptiness of the music in the open world, and I was forced to lavish every drop of aural delicasy each time a short ambient tune would play. Although, the areas that DID have music (stables, towns, Hyrule Castle) regularly looped in the background were very well done (except Korok Woods, whose background music didn't seem to fit the theme of the area. It was too fast paced and upbeat.).

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#19 Edited by NTM (11749 posts) -

I didn't think it was as lacking as some had said, but yeah it definitely didn't play all the time. I thought there was enough of it, so my answer is none of those above.

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#20 Posted by kmj2318 (38 posts) -
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Best music of the year imo. Here's a great video to see how integral the music is to the game.

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#21 Edited by csl316 (14959 posts) -

At first, I was taken aback by all the silence. But the light music that hit here and there made it feel like trekking through a wondrous (but desolate) world. Made it easy to get lost in it. For such a lengthy adventure, it felt nice to not be bombarded but constant amazing themes.

But the themes here were super strong. A lot of the actual songs had some stand out moments.

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#22 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4414 posts) -

The lack of constant music allows the game to be a good late-nighter game; I can get sleepy playing it as I adventure. It also adds emphasis to the parts that do have music.

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#23 Posted by Justin258 (15647 posts) -

I liked the lack of music a lot! I spent a lot of time just appreciating little details and giant vistas in this game and having too much music would have hampered that a lot.

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#25 Posted by viking_funeral (2881 posts) -

It reminded me a lot of Minecraft, which BotW sorta/kinda wanted to mimic some of the survival elements of.

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#26 Posted by Atwa (1690 posts) -

I actually adore the ambiance in BOTW, it really adds to the mood and feeling of the game.

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#27 Posted by Ravelle (3305 posts) -

I play these type of games with podcasts on anyways so it doesn't really bother me.

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#28 Posted by Sogeman (1039 posts) -

I liked less music, the problem was that the music that was there wasn't really memorable

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#29 Edited by Tom_omb (1073 posts) -

@kmj2318: Thanks for that video. I'm glad someone took the time to examaine the music of BotW to a greater depth than I ever would.

I never rode horses in that game, so I missed the main theme. That Terry town insight is quite amazing.

The music may be sparse and not as full of memorable hooks as past zeldas, but it's full of artistic choices that serve to make the game better.

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#30 Posted by MajorMitch (1161 posts) -

I think the power of silence is often overlooked, and BotW really tapped into that. Its more minimalist, ambient music did a great job at really supplementing your journey, rather than overshadowing it, and I thought it accentuated the tone and mood of the world around you super effectively. And then the moments where there was no music really let me get absorbed in that place, since I could really hear the wind, or a stream, or whatever other noises the world was making. I've rarely felt so connected to a word and the sound design was a big part of that. A loud, epic overworld theme would have made this a very different game. I enjoyed the quieter, more contemplative tone.

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#31 Posted by Lazyshu (11 posts) -

@kmj2318: Glad someone posted this! Terry Town alone, with it's progression along the quest adding in instruments from all the cultures you bring to the town, is one of the best uses of soundtrack I can think of in recent memory. Also that song is catchy as hell!

All the villages have amazing music come to think of it. The Dragon Roost Island re purpose for the rito town is also amazing.

Out in the field I loved the sounds of nature taking the fore with meandering piano striking up at seemingly the perfect moments. Gave me chills several times.

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#32 Posted by mavs (382 posts) -

Nights in Ocarina were also quiet, and it did a lot to flesh out the environments by presenting the same space with a different vibe. So it's not a new technique to the series, but it's taken to the next level in BOTW.

In the places where the music is minimal what little there is has an early 20th-century feel to it, which is completely up my alley. I can see that being a YMMV factor, because it's not a style from any other Zelda game and not at all what you'd expect out of a new Zelda score. I wouldn't mind if it became a calling card of future games though.

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#33 Edited by MaKiNbAcoN (171 posts) -

@doctordonkey said:

You spend like 90% of the game in the open world, and this game is incredibly long. Having an overarching theme playing throughout the entire thing would have driven me insane. o great.

100% agree with this. Enough is done in the open world from keeping it silent. There are so many incredible tracks in this game that are used, personally the music played when you are attacking Vah Ruta is my favorite :

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#34 Edited by fisk0 (6867 posts) -

Huh, I don't agree with that it's silent/empty at all, quite the opposite, this is probably my favorite soundtrack of the year. It's subdued and certainly minimalist, but it's always there, and it's used to great effect to give you subtle environmental hints.

I have a hard time thinking of other games in recent years other than full on rhythm games where the music was so heavily integrated into the game.

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#35 Posted by Ketta (109 posts) -

I do definitely miss the general feel of audio from past Zeldas in this one so I voted that way, but I really did enjoy the soundtrack in BoTW for what it is. I think almost all of the tracks are fantastic - the only one that I actively dislike is the ambient music that plays when you are in snowy mountains.

I loved the music in towns and villages, but I feel that most of it will be forgotten years down the line, whereas I can hum tunes from OoT, MM, WW, and even TP to a lesser extent with no issue on demand - they are just that ingrained into my memory. Maybe this game will get there too when I play it again, hard to say.

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#36 Posted by Fram (1852 posts) -

I love the BotW score so much. It has one of my fave pieces of music from any Zelda game in it:

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#37 Posted by ToxicAntidote (1121 posts) -

"How do you feel about the music" works perfectly fine for thread about the music in Breath of the Wild. Because there is great music in the game, despite what a lot of confused people all over the Internet thinks.

@kmj2318 said:
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Best music of the year imo. Here's a great video to see how integral the music is to the game.

Thanks for sharing this video. It really shows how well suited the music actually is for this game, and all the references to other game in the franchise.

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#38 Posted by John_Wiswell (299 posts) -

The occasional tinkle of a piano was more affecting than having a persistent soundtrack. Like Dark Souls, they got benefits from having a sparing soundtrack that came in for big events.

Also, being this giant game with tons to do, the paucity of music made it feel more natural for me to toss on some podcasts. I listened to half the entire run of My Favorite Murder while collecting golden poop seeds.

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#39 Posted by Dichemstys (3923 posts) -

I absolutely love the music. The music inside shrines never gets old for me.

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#40 Posted by Quid_Pro_Bono (1130 posts) -


The music is stunning but the part of the main theme at 1:04 is absolutely the first thing I think of when I see the game. It’s so evocative of the feeling of cresting a mountain you’ve been climbing for like 10 minutes and seeing that vast expanse. The music & how sparingly it’s used is part of what makes the game special. The game has a pretty unique ebbing and flowing structure of action and the ebb and flow of the music mirrors it.

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#41 Posted by ajamafalous (13816 posts) -

You missed a middle option; I didn't care at all, and honestly didn't even think anything about whether there was music or not until I started seeing people complain that there "wasn't any."

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#42 Posted by katpottz (511 posts) -

I was disappointed personally, I come to zelda for music and this title had some nice music but it was barely there at all.

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#43 Posted by Zella (1275 posts) -

I was disappointed by the silent nature of the soundtrack. I am playing Link Between Worlds now, as I also play BotW again (played for a bit on Wii U and now playing on Switch) and the difference is very obvious. LBW perhaps has the soundtrack be too obvious, however I still find the often silence of BotW worse. I understand their reasoning behind it in BotW but I wish they made the music a bit more pronounced. I like most of the songs I have heard in BotW but just wish there was more of an emphasis on it and more of an emphasis on utilizing some of the classic sounds of the series. I think it is an important distinction to consider, that you can consider the soundtrack quite good but believe it wasn't implemented well.

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#44 Posted by Vasta_Narada (750 posts) -

I thought the music that was there was quite tonally appropriate, especially in how despondent it sounded, and I liked the choice to not have music for large swathes of the game. That said, I went to the Symphony of the Goddess this year and they had a piece for BotW that I thought was somewhat underwhelming probably due to the lack of music choice from the game.

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#45 Posted by mems1224 (2505 posts) -

I remember the song from the trailer and that's it. The rest is completely forgettable and that's a bummer. There is a way to do subtle, toned down music that's not overpowering while still being very memorable. Skyrim did it perfectly

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#46 Posted by TheWildCard (694 posts) -

I"m mixed. In general I like sound direction, but I do think it could of used more oomph at times and isn't all that great. The fact that the trailer was more exciting than anything I found in the game was disappointing.