I’ve been rediscovering quite a bit in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition lately. At first it was just learning how much fun playing with mods could be, but, as I’ve been playing, many of the smaller things that made Skyrim into a favorite have also been finding their way back into the limelight. Little details like ants on a log, the beautiful night skies, and especially the music. Skyrim’s music is easy to take for granted. It’s always there in the background; adding that little extra something that elevates your Dragonborn’s wanderings into something more. They’re all great, but “Far Horizons” stands out as one the best. Continue reading Resonance: Far Horizons
We all know how important music is in video games. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack is a character in and of itself, bringing life to a game in ways that a character can’t. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack plays a supporting role by imbuing scenes with emotion, being a presence without overwhelming the action. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack can be nearly nonexistent, popping up only when absolutely necessary in order to make the players react. And, no doubt, there are games without soundtracks. When done right, the lack of music plays a key role in forcing the player to focus on the game itself. When done wrong, lack of music in a game can make it feel hollow and incomplete.
So a game and its soundtrack often go hand in hand. We play great games and are rewarded by great soundtracks. But could it ever be that the soundtrack itself is the reward?
Over on UWG’s Youtube channel, I have been covering Kirby’s Return to Dreamland for the Wii, a game I hadn’t played in probably a good five years. As with all Kirby games, this one is bright and cheery and all around adorable, and I had such a great time with it, in fact, that this game helped renew my waning love of the Kirby series. Nevertheless, I have to admit that the first few worlds aren’t particularly memorable, a sentiment I remember also feeling during my first playthrough of the game several years back. The problem stems from the fact that the earlier worlds represented locations that are seen in pretty much every platformer in existence. Green, forested world, check. Desert world, check. Water world and ice world, check and check. Fun? Of course. But inspired? Not really. And then along came world five, Nutty Noon. Continue reading Resonance: Sky Waltz
Chrono Trigger is an exceptional game. Many people who’ve played it (perhaps even most who’ve played it) will say that it’s an excellent game; some even go so far as to call it a masterpiece of the JRPG genre. I absolutely agree with that sentiment, but I feel that “exceptional” is the best word to describe a game like Chrono Trigger. Not because it just so good, but because there’s so much that sets it apart from peers like Final Fantasy VI or Super Mario RPG. Its battle system is unique. The way it uses and treats its characters is unique, and its soundtrack is something special in itself. It’s not just that the songs are great, but that they also used with such impact. Each one feels just right for each use and one in particular is always able to draw out the feels, even when you know it’s coming. That song is known as “At the Bottom of the Night.” Continue reading Resonance: At the Bottom of the Night
I had to check several times to make sure no one had already written about this one, as Mining Melancholy might possibly be one of the most brilliant songs in a game that already has plenty of amazing tracks. As expected, Mining Melancholy is found in every mine level of Donkey Kong Country 2. As you play through these often frustrating levels (thanks to the fact that every single one is vertical, which means that one mistake could send you tumbling back to the start of the level, or worse), if you pay attention to the background, you’ll notice the tools left behind by the miners. Pickaxes, explosives, buckets, what have you. And let’s not forget those huge sparkling gems we catch glimpses of in the distance. Those things are massive! Continue reading Resonance: Mining Melancholy
It’s probably been at least four years since I last played Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars at this point, and yet I can hum just about any track from it almost effortlessly. Earlier this week, The Duck of Indeed made a post talking about how having a lack of nostalgia for Super Mario RPG may have hampered their experience with the game, and that got me thinking. I grew up with this game, and yet I never really thought about what it was that kept me coming back to it. The battles are fun and the world is interesting, but not in any way that I’d say is particularly special. My conclusion then was that it was the game’s music that made it a timeless favorite, and “Fight Against Kajidoh” especially.
The original BioShock really did have an incredible cast of characters didn’t it? The likes of Andrew Ryan and Atlas stick out the most, but the more one thinks about the game, the more characters pop back into the ol’ memory. There’s Brigid Tenenbaum, the repentant scientist; Yi Suchong, the one whose reach exceeded his grasp; J.S. Steinman the mad surgeon; and then there’s Sander Cohen the regretful artist. Sander Cohen is unique in this group though, as his motivations are somewhat unclear and the game leaves it to the player to decide what his agenda is. For a long time, I thought he was simply another madman. Madness is rather common in Rapture, so it wouldn’t be all that surprising to find that it had taken an already eccentric creative and sent him over the edge. However, that opinion changed once I took a closer look at his character theme: “Dancers on a String”.