Best of 2014 – Day Three: Audio

Over the next ten days, Hardcore Gamer will be revealing its Best of 2014 Awards leading up to our Game of the Year. Today we present you with the Best Voice Acting, Sound Design, Original Soundtrack and Licensed Soundtrack:

Best Voice Acting: Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South Park: The Stick of Truth)

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Sure, Matt and Trey have a bit of an unfair advantage here. They’ve had more than a decade to refine the voices of their characters while everyone else had only a couple of months. There is no denying, however, the talent both of them brought to all of their roles as they brought the characters we love (or hate) from South Park to life in a full fledged video game title. And unlike their competitors they didn’t just voice a character, but basically voiced the entire game. Remove the other nominees and you’d have a hard time replacing them. Replace Matt and Trey, however, and you’d need to find a new cast.

Runner-Ups
Troy Baker (Far Cry 4 – Pagan Min) Kevin Spacey (Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Johnathan Irons) Brian Beacock (Danganronpa 1 & 2- Monokuma) Dan Jeannotte (Assassin’s Creed Unity – Arno)

Best Sound Design: Alien Isolation

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Too many times sound design is a lost art in video games. Not so in Alien: Isolation. The Creative Assembly had so much attention to detail when crafting what many consider a game-of-the-year candidate. So much of Isolation was the subtlety of hearing ambient bumps and steps without knowing for sure if it was the ever-sneaky Xenomorph antagonist. The usual method good horror games are content to take is to let your mind do most of the work, but the sound design in Alien: Isolation had a heavy hand in that thought process. And all this fails to recognize the work put in on the sounds of the alien, itself. It’s rattlesnake-like guttural entrance sent a chill up players’ spines, and, since a lot of time was spent hiding in lockers or under the desk, the sound design had to carry the game for long stretches. The foley artists at Creative Assembly were up to the task, and they made this award an easy choice for Hardcore Gamer.

Runner-Ups
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Fantasia: Music Evolved Destiny Forza Horizon 2

Best Original Soundtrack: Destiny

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Alright, this category was a little unfair given that Destiny’s soundtrack had contributions from Sir Paul McCartney, so the nominees (all of which are outstanding) shouldn’t feel too bad they lost out to a Beatle. But the Destiny soundtrack is so much more than McCartney — in fact, Martin O’Donnell, Michael Salvatori and C. Paul Johnson also played major roles in its production and composition. Salvatori is of course known for Halo, the music of which as quickly grown to be some of gaming’s most iconic. This is a cinematic soundtrack, worthy of scoring a big-budget sci-fi movie and it’s clearly a stand-out of the game from a production standpoint. Kudos to Bungie for going the extra mile with this stirring OST.

Runner-Ups
Dragon Age: Inquisition Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth Shovel Knight D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die

Best Licensed Soundtrack: Forza Horizon 2

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Forza Horizon burst onto the scene with one of the best soundtracks of the year and of recent memory, so it’s of little surprise that its sequel is following the trend. Horizon 2 features the same quality of music on a larger scale, with nearly 150 tracks to listen to. Standouts include tracks from Holy Ghost!, Cut Copy, Chromeo, PAPA, Architecture in Helsinki and oh so many more. It’s rare to be driving along and hearing a song you don’t like and the style of music — a range between indie rock and dance — fits perfectly with the game’s exciting tone.

Runner-Ups
Hohokum Grand Theft Auto V (HD Remaster) Watch Dogs FIFA 15

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