Action-Adventure Games With Great Sound Design – TheGamer

Don’t these action-adventure games sound good?
The beauty of games is witnessing how the various aspects of their design fuse harmoniously into a polished product. Astounding art and gameplay are only part of the design puzzle, but the sound captures a certain feeling and adds texture to riveting sequences. And games that fall within the action-adventure genre notably rely on sound design.
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Even the littlest details can elevate the immersive quality and overall impact, whether it's the gunplay and explosions, the cinematic way music is utilized, or how the sound effects get implemented. Below are some excellent examples of phenomenal sound design across a variety of action-adventure games.
The outrageously ridiculous but fun style of 2011's Saints Row: The Third makes for some thrilling sound design implementation in the world of action-adventure. The two specific choices that exhibit this brilliance are the introductory cutscene and a mission in the game known as "Party Time."
The opening sequence combines two film references from Star Wars and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The theme "Also sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss plays over the synopsis floating across the screen like at the start of every Star Wars. And Kanye West's hit song 'Power' is an exciting highlight of the mission "Party Time," where you crash a pool party from above.
The Assassin's Creed series may have undergone some significant changes over the years, but one critical aspect that was there to stay was the customary Leap of Faith. They're performed by jumping off a designated platform on the highest point of a structure, usually marked by an eagle, and falling into a haystack or other spots in later games.
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Leaps of Faith are an element of the story and also what made the parkour so iconic for Assassin's Creed. The sound design is simple but memorable. First, the camera pans around your perched character amidst the scenic view as the surrounding wind whooshes. When you dive off, an echoing screech of an eagle follows you down until your cushioned landing.
With its lightsaber weapons and spaceships, Star Wars has been the epitome of sound design, and a new story-driven adventure set in its universe came about in 2019. Jedi: Fallen Order introduced a BD-1 droid companion with its new unique sound design and quirks. Non-verbal droids like R2-D2 and BB-8 always steal the show, and BD-1 isn't any different.
BD-1 is quite a multifunctional droid and therefore has a lot of various sounds. Aside from the adorable beep tones used for communication, BD expresses different sounds when scanning environmental objects, digging through crates, tossing you a stim, and helping zipline.
Music and song choice have become a staple of Guardians of the Galaxy ever since James Gunn's films, and this is likewise incorporated into the video game adaptation. Eidos-Montréal's Star-Lord remains faithful to Gunn's character concept, making him well-versed in classic rock and pop tracks, and the developers thought of a creative way of forming a mechanic around it.
While engaging in battles alongside your fellow Guardians and defeating waves of enemies, the meter on the bottom of your screen gradually fills up to trigger a huddle. It'll bring you to a colorful neon zone outside the battle, where a faint tune is audible, and you converse with your team. After, a random song plays throughout combat, such as "Holding out for a Hero" or "The Final Countdown."
Horizon Zero Dawn and its sequel Forbidden West both deliver spectacular sound design when it comes to the machines, but we'll go with the first since it originated the Aloy vs. machine combat. The sound design is particularly remarkable during the hectic action because of the many different forms of sound attached to each unique enemy type and kept track of.
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There's a sound for a short circuit when they're downed, an impale from Aloy's spear, a projectile being launched, a hit from a bow, and a move signaling a heavy attack. There's a cacophony of raucous robotic audio cues going off all at once, which adds crispness and polish to the desired gameplay aesthetic.
The stunning ambient soundtrack and satisfying harsh clanging of swords immerse you in the samurai redemption tale that is Ghost of Tsushima. Aside from getting lost in the open-world environment and slaying the Mongol invaders through the main storyline, it further excels at letting you unleash your samurai fantasy with its duel component.
Duels pit Jin Sakai in an intimate one-on-one sword match to the death, much like a gunslinger duel in the Wild West, and feature incredibly dynamic sound. Their cinematic intro contains an array of flutes interspersed with dramatic pauses to highlight the tension. The unsheathing of the blades is another subtle detail, and the flutes proceed throughout the battle.
Although not the game everyone expected story and gameplay-wise, Death Stranding certainly doesn't falter in the sound design department. The sounds in this game are masterful and an absolute marvel, playing a role as key as the primary mechanic of transporting packages long distances.
Whether it's the droid-like noises that emit from the Odradek device, the weather system, soothing your BB with lulling music, getting caught in the terrain, or falling over with packages, the sound is sharp and effective. It's even more at its best during the ambient traversal, where all the environmental sounds combine with that of mellow licensed music tracks.
The sequel to The Last of Us didn't just expand on the world-building and story. It also had countless intricate details and refinements for its mechanics and audio. Composer Gustavo Santaolalla's mesmerizing score continues to establish the game's persistent gloomy atmosphere, and you can even play music yourself in a new acoustic guitar minigame.
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However, the area where the massive detail on the audio thoroughly stands out is the weapon upgrade benches. There's a drastic change to more realism from the first game in modifying weapons with plenty of new sounds added in. You have the initial removal of the magazine, loose bullet clink, sliding the gun and tools around the table, filing the weapon, and tightening a new muzzle.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy may have its musical flair, but Marvel's Spider-Man brings the bustling city of New York to life. There are many fantastic sounds implemented in the game, from the web-slinging abilities at your disposal in combat, audio from the cars and pedestrians you pass by, and thematic music.
Given all that, the best of its sound design pertains to the dialogue from the calls Peter gets in between missions. While idle, he answers the person on the other end with a very calm tone. When you transition to swinging from webs and rapidly moving around the map, Peter's voice syncs with the strenuousness of the maneuvers, getting labored and heavy.
Rockstar truly perfects the formula for an action-adventure game with titles like Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto, and Max Payne under its wing. One of its most noteworthy sound choices was utilized in a gritty 1940s detective-style game called L.A. Noire, which has you follow Cole Phelps and his rise from a rookie officer to a dedicated homicide detective.
The clever piece of audio here is the investigation music that pops up in the background as you examine key evidence at a crime scene and interrogate witnesses or potential suspects. The subtle piano notes direct you toward clues you can potentially miss and play a key role in whether you're on the right track to solving a case.
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Dennis is a writer, storyteller, and aspiring game narrative designer. His favorite hobbies include reading suspenseful thrillers, watching films and television, and being immersed in the spectacular worlds of video games.

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