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Games with best sound design...music and sound effects?

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

Just started getting into gaming with quality headphones on. Wow what a difference >:) !!

 

So can anyone suggest any games that just suck you in with their super realistic/beautiful sound/design? Been playing Assassins Creed 2, EA NHL Hockey, Fallout 3, and COD: World at War & MW1 (<-lol)...I'm not a huge gamer. 

 

I think it was even just the menu music of Nazi Zombies with a pair of SRH-840's that gave me that HOLY SH*T moment of revelation...now I want some more LOL!

 

I prefer FPS or 3rd person games for that added immersion. 

 

Are there "Gaming Awards" for "Best Sound" etc? Maybe I can look that way too....

post #2 of 55

When you say 'sound design,' are you referring to overall sound quality (OST, sfx, pacing, etc.) or are you referring to surround sound and positional audio? Or do you mean both?

 

Also, if you're looking for recommendations, it'd be helpful to know what system(s) you play on.

 

For example, I play on PC, and use an ASUS Xonar Essence STX audio card to interpret Dolby 7.1 signals from my games into Dolby Headphone virtual surround. This is probably a different setup than what you're using, and it can make a huge difference when it comes to positional audio. When I play on 360 I just use stereo; I've had some very memorable experiences playing that way as well, but there's a big difference when compared to my computer.

 

Off the top of my head, I really enjoyed Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dishonored, Black Mesa, and Bastion (all on PC) for overall audio design.

post #3 of 55

Skyrim,Oblivion,Morrowind, Daggerfall (free to download,quite old first person rpg but very immersive audio), and of course Fallout 3 all by Bethesda.

 

Fallout New Vegas by Obsidian. Now thats its totally patched all the problems which plagued it on release are pretty much non-existent allowing one to fully enjoy it for the masterpiece that it is.

 

Borderlands 2, Diablo III ( you'll need a constant online connection though), Clive Barkers Undying (fantastic old first person horror game with top notch creepy audio work), Bulletstorm, Crysis 2, Doom 3, F.E.A.R. series,Quake and Quake 4,Left4Dead 1 and 2, The Witcher 1 and 2, Starcraft 2, Dawn Of War 2, Dragon Age, Divinity II Ego Draconis, Blood, Painkiller series.

post #4 of 55

The Thief series is my gold standard for good sound design in videogames. That goes for both positioning and the atmosphere set by the sound effects.

 

While the quality of sound samples used in games seems to be going up, actual positioning is taking a nosedive. I blame the prevalence of audio middleware with software mixers in the game development market for that; things used to be so much better back when A3D, DirectSound3D, and OpenAL were still in common use.

post #5 of 55

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

post #6 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

The Thief series is my gold standard for good sound design in videogames. That goes for both positioning and the atmosphere set by the sound effects.

 

While the quality of sound samples used in games seems to be going up, actual positioning is taking a nosedive. I blame the prevalence of audio middleware with software mixers in the game development market for that; things used to be so much better back when A3D, DirectSound3D, and OpenAL were still in common use.

 

Yea they really kicked the pooched with Skyrim when it came to 2.0 stereo. Unless one sets up their 2.0 rig for 5.1 in audio settings to get that missing center channel voices will be too low and their will be dropouts which is a major bummer considering how fantastic the audio work for Skyrim is.

 

Thief is amazing. Someone on the Elder Scrolls Forums once gave a link to the free soundtrack and i was blown away with its ambient detail especially when using it as background music while exploring the creepy dungeons of The Elder Scrolls Oblivion.

post #7 of 55
Thread Starter 

Yeah Im just 2.0 stereo running off a Fio on PS3.

 

Another site I was on said Battlefield 3 had great sound (maybe won an award?). Just grabbed it online for like $20 lol.

 

And Softdrink...I guess when I say "sound design", I mean everything. I know thats complicated. That's why when a game has it ALL nailed...its just amazing. I hate when an aspect of the audio pulls you OUT of the game, like poor "position" or levels at just awkward volumes. 

 

Here's an example....an archer was flinging arrow after arrow at me on the rooftops of Vienna in AC2. I can hear him stretch the bow, release the arrow, and the sound of the arrow flying thru the air....very nice! BUT...I was hiding behind a lil chimney thing and the arrows were hitting it...without making a SOUND!! Kinda bugged me...the arrows were deflecting right by my head!! The bells should have been ringing here and there in AC2 also...all those beautiful bell towers and NOT....ONE....RINGING....BELL....!!! LOL...

 

Also, didn't GTA4 have great "positioning" and atmosphere? I only had HD280's back then or just played thru the TV speakers.

 

Anyways...thanks for the suggestions!! 

 

darthsmile.gif

post #8 of 55

If BF3 is anything like BF:BC2, the sound effect samples used are great, but the positioning is terrible. Can't tell where sounds are coming from no matter what sound settings I use.

 

Meanwhile, BF1942, BF:Vietnam, BF2, and BF2142 have good sound effects (though I wouldn't mind a sound mod derived from the later games) and excellent positioning. No surprises as to why...BF1942 and BF:V use DS3D, BF2 and BF2142 use OpenAL.

post #9 of 55

I rarely play PS3 titles anymore (actually to be totally honest I rarely play anything that isn't a shmup anymore), but I remember really enjoying the immersive aspects of the sound design in MGS4. It has a brilliant soundtrack, some of the best dubbing work (in both languages) of any game I've ever played, unique and unbelievably detailed sound effects for every weapon and area... Really it just blew me away. I have no idea if you're a fan of the Metal Gear series (they're really not for everyone, that game in particular), and it's not worth checking out for audio quality alone, but I was quite impressed when I first played it.

 

I haven't played it in a very long time, and so I can't comment on positioning, but most of the Metal Gear games have very good positional cues.

 

I understand what you mean by 'everything' though. One of the games I mentioned-- Bastion-- isn't even a game which allows movement in 3 dimensions. I don't believe it has any positional cues at all, because it doesn't need them. But it has unbelievably good sound design, and every aspect-- especially the narration-- really fits the overall experience.

post #10 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLiRD808 View Post

Yeah Im just 2.0 stereo running off a Fio on PS3.

 

Another site I was on said Battlefield 3 had great sound (maybe won an award?). Just grabbed it online for like $20 lol.

 

And Softdrink...I guess when I say "sound design", I mean everything. I know thats complicated. That's why when a game has it ALL nailed...its just amazing. I hate when an aspect of the audio pulls you OUT of the game, like poor "position" or levels at just awkward volumes. 

 

Here's an example....an archer was flinging arrow after arrow at me on the rooftops of Vienna in AC2. I can hear him stretch the bow, release the arrow, and the sound of the arrow flying thru the air....very nice! BUT...I was hiding behind a lil chimney thing and the arrows were hitting it...without making a SOUND!! Kinda bugged me...the arrows were deflecting right by my head!! The bells should have been ringing here and there in AC2 also...all those beautiful bell towers and NOT....ONE....RINGING....BELL....!!! LOL...

 

Also, didn't GTA4 have great "positioning" and atmosphere? I only had HD280's back then or just played thru the TV speakers.

 

Anyways...thanks for the suggestions!! 

 

darthsmile.gif

Maybe it's time to invest in a low cost (like used) receiver that comes with Dolby & DTS. connect it to the PS3 using optical and plug your headphones into the receiver.

The PS3 can send 5.1 surround sound audio to the receiver and hopefully the receiver comes with headphone surround sound processing.

Almost all Yamaha receivers come with headphone surround sound.

Check your local Craigslist or eBay.

post #11 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Maybe it's time to invest in a low cost (like used) receiver that comes with Dolby & DTS. connect it to the PS3 using optical and plug your headphones into the receiver.
The PS3 can send 5.1 surround sound audio to the receiver and hopefully the receiver comes with headphone surround sound processing.
Almost all Yamaha receivers come with headphone surround sound.
Check your local Craigslist or eBay.

Worked with my Yamaha! But I haven't heard it in over a month, my little recon3D is serving till I don't have to have most of my fun stuff packed in the basement. Should be starting a new job though next week, hopefully I can move soon!

Adding to games others have mentioned, on the Xbox360, I also loved the sound for Bioshock, Halo: Reach (IMO better sound than CoD games, unless you hate energy weapons), Metro 2033 (freaked me out in an awesome way!), Dead Space 1&2, Alan Wake, and Mass Effect (each one got a little better IMO). Just off the top of my head. For PC, I also want to say Starcraft II is awesome. Positional cues are only in the gorgeous cutscenes, but the sound design overall is well done (and cool, imho).
Edited by Evshrug - 10/25/12 at 11:46pm
post #12 of 55

How about the Silent Hill games? SH2 is on PC, and although the textures look obviously outdated, it still looks fine. Akira Yamaoka is a great composer, and the music is just simply great. Moody and full of atmosphere.
Shadows of the Damned is also by Yamaoka, and also sounds fantastic. This one's on consoles only though.


Edited by Ojsinnerz - 10/25/12 at 11:49pm
post #13 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Maybe it's time to invest in a low cost (like used) receiver that comes with Dolby & DTS. connect it to the PS3 using optical and plug your headphones into the receiver.

The PS3 can send 5.1 surround sound audio to the receiver and hopefully the receiver comes with headphone surround sound processing.

Almost all Yamaha receivers come with headphone surround sound.

Check your local Craigslist or eBay.

Nice....I'll look into that.

 

Do I have to worry about the headphone outs not being powerful enough to push high ohm headphones?

 

Also, dont I need surround sound capable headphones too then? Thought I saw some for sale at Gamestop but didnt even try em on.

 

Thanks!

post #14 of 55
NO. You do not want 'gaming surround' headphones or anything like that. These are usually, if not always, massive gimmicks designed to take advantage of people who don't know about virtual surround and Dolby Headphone.

Basically you want two things: A decoder of some sort that will interpret the audio output from the console (usually this is a DAC, or some kind of receiver or combo box, like the Yamaha recommendation), and a pair of headphones. Usually you'll want headphones that are known for having a large soundstage and good instrument separation, as these features translate well into positional accuracy and directionality in gaming.

Read Mad Lust's headphone gaming guide; it's an incredible resource if you want to get into the Dolby Headphone side of gaming audio. Really just read it. It's the most popular thread in this subforum by a huge margin, with good reason.
post #15 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Softdrink 117 View Post
One of the games I mentioned-- Bastion-- ...has unbelievably good sound design, and every aspect-- especially the narration-- really fits the overall experience.

+1

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