The mark of a truly great game is its excellence in all of the various aspects that it is composed of. The visuals, the narrative, the gameplay and the soundtrack. However, there is one aspect that is often overlooked but can also be considered one of the most important. A game’s sound design is paramount to its ability to draw you into the world, make you feel like you’re right there in this created universe. If a game has stock audio effects or bland voice work, there will always be something missing throughout the whole experience. This is why it’s so important to nail it and our winner did exactly that.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is most definitely a technical marvel. The level of detail that Rockstar put in this game is astronomical and easily puts other AAA releases to shame. The sheer scale of its audio design is unlike anything we have ever seen in gaming, bar none. Every single piece of the environment has been painstakingly brought to life through the audio design and this makes you feel well and truly immersed in this world of outlaws and cowboys. Guns sound like they should with heavy satisfying impacts, the leaves rustling in the wind during a storm, distant lightning strikes over the horizon, horses clopping on city roads, it’s all beautifully brought to life.
That’s not to mention the stellar voice work that is persistent throughout the entire almost 70-hour long story experience. Arthur Morgan and his gang share many moments of dialogue between them and commuting to mission objectives is often kept entertaining by the back and forth between characters. Real, human characters with noticeable flaws that wax lyrically about their moral standing in an unfair and cruel world. It all melds together to create an experience that you won’t easily forget.
Runner-Up: Forza Horizon 4
Honourable Mentions: Spider-Man, Monster Hunter: World