Saturday, 23 February 2013

1up Blog #66: Eastern and Western Game Music (12/14/2010)

I’m not sure about you but I used to think the Japanese made the best music in games. With the quality of games in the east declining, the quality of their game music seems to have as well. Even series’ which once had predictably awesome music like Final Fantasy and Zelda haven’t captured their former glory. The games of the west seem to have the edge now (I know I'm generalizing though). Western games like Uncharted 2, Mirror’s Edge, and the Halo are the best recent ones I can think of.
What’s a music blog without some music?
It’s not like the East and the West have changed their music styles much. Western composers seem to still be mostly copying movies and focusing on atmosphere. The problem I find with the focus on atmosphere is when you got tracks that don’t loop, you have a long game with a ton of dead air. The ones that do loop get irritating quickly.
Japanese composers still seem to focus on catchy tunes that are not necessarily made for certain areas. This makes the music during cut-scenes pretty forgettable, but for the longer games at least the music takes a while to get repetitive. It’s just recently that Japanese games don't seem to have much memorable music - Nier is the only great soundtrack that comes to mind (though I haven’t even played the game).
A good older track
An interesting example might be the music in Metal Gear Solid 2-4: Japanese games where the main composer (Harry Gregson Williams) is American – not to mention a very famous movie composer. I can’t say his music is bad, but I actually prefer the original’s entirely Japanese soundtrack. What do you guys think?

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