Setting The Mood: The Effect of Soundtracks in Video Games

What are some of the top things that define an excellent game for you? No doubt there are many varying opinions, but most of us can agree on a few. Such as: good graphics; great, if not epic, story lines; great voice acting; and smooth game play mechanics. These are just a few, and by no means the end of the list. However, there is another one that we will discuss further.

Musical score. Sometimes this one gets missed because we can be so wrapped up in the other, more immediately noticeable, factors discussed above. Take both the Arkham Asylum soundtrack and the Arkham City soundtrack, think about it. Arkham Asylum and Arkham City both were great games by themselves, but without the musical score present to heighten your emotions would it have felt as amazing? In the pre-finale ending when Batman and Ras al Ghul are falling and the music picks up- did you feel powerful as Batman? I did. I got goose bumps, man! That was, in part, a credit to the musical score.

One of the composers of the musical score in the original two Arkham games was Ron Fish. You may recognize Ron Fish’ name from another title, Rise of Nightmares from the 360 Kinect platform. Ron Fish collaborated with multiple other composers including Nick Arundel, who brought him onto the project of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. He stated that his personal favorite musical composition from the two titles was the Ras al Ghul boss fight. Sadly Ron is not working on the Arkham Origins title, but one thing is for certain. We all think he and the team of composers did an amazing job. We look forward to their next title.

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Now in some cases the musical score can be one of the redeeming factors of a game. Taking an average game and making it better. An example of this is Dues Ex Human Revolution. This game was fun. The voice acting was good, the story was good, the mechanics were good. But something was missing. However, I tell you truthfully my friends, I will never complain about the musical score of this title. It was amazing. I have it in my playlist on my computer. The composer is Michael McCann aka Behavior. He has worked on other famous titles such as Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent. To say that Michael McCann’s music is unique would be an understatement. Check out the Dues Ex soundtrack and you will here remnants of Indian, techno, and classical music. A combination of epic proportions.

Sometimes you’re in the mood to blow something up. Other times you want to develop a character from scratch, even solve a few puzzles rather than get any work done. No matter what, the games that you will remember for being epic will have a great musical score.


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