Author Topic: When a game ruins good music

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dharkhades

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When a game ruins good music
« on: June 08, 2015, 06:08:17 PM »
I was thinking about this topic the other day and thought I could generate some good discussion out of it. Have you ever listened to any music from a game and loved it but when you finally played the game it came went back to listen to the music but lost the "spark" that made you love the music in the first place?

My two examples would have to be SaGA Frontier 2 and Shin Megami Tensei IV. SaGA had beautiful graphics and artwork but the battle system and story were just a total drag. Shin Megami Tensei IV was such an awesome game I actual broke down and bought DLC, something I told myself I would never do (even when the Overworld map was a nightmare and not in a good way).

I have some thoughts on why this might have occurred but I'll just leave the topic open for now and comment on my thoughts later.

Monsoon

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2015, 06:25:11 PM »
...no, not exactly.  I never feel that a game ruins the music, but MANY MANY times has a game not lived up to its incredible soundtrack.  One of my favorite examples is the killer battle music in Grandia Xtreme*:

Combat 3
Combat 4

GX's combat system is actually solid, but MAN is it a letdown overall as an RPG.  Especially since the first two Grandia games are really, really good. 

*shoutout to Wild Armor, who's a Grandia superfan who knows these OSTs backwards and forwards.

Taelus

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2015, 06:47:02 PM »
I've had the case where a game's music was BETTER than the actual game for me. This is how I feel about Penny Arcade 4, Glory of Heracles, and a whole host of other games. So often I'll be in love with the music and then be totally underwhelmed by the game, even when I really want to love it.

In the case of Radiant Historia, I really liked the music, then the game made me absolutely adore it.
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ironmage

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2015, 07:40:52 PM »
I picked up Final Fantasy Tactics Advance about a year ago, partly because I loved Sakimoto's FF12 soundtrack.  And when I listen to FFTA's soundtrack in isolation, yeah, it's really good.

But when I listen to it in the context of the game, it becomes almost painfully repetitive, and loses much of its charm. (Maybe because the story is kinda dull, and I'm finding FFTA a lackluster sequel to FFT).

The game hasn't permanently ruined the soundtrack for me, though.  I can still listen to it, I just happen to enjoy listening to it on its own a lot more than via the actual game...

dharkhades

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2015, 09:51:06 PM »
Maybe "ruined" is a strong word, but I couldn't think of another word to describe it. I used to listen to both SaGa Frontier 2 and Shin Megami Tensei IV on repeat for weeks (not at the same time). SaGa Frontier was a case of not having any context to the game so I could just use my imagination on the adventures the characters were experiencing (it helped that all of the tracks were labeled with German names making it harder for me to know the context of the song). Once I knew, it had lost that magic and I haven't really listened to it since. As for Shin Megami Tensei IV, I used to think the battle themes were right up there with Shoji Meguro's but I knew more about the world that Shin Megami takes place in so I didn't have to use my imagination as much. After putting 100+ hrs into the game, the battle tracks seemed significantly weaker but the dungeon/city themes seemed so much better. I may just need more distance from playing SMT4 before I can really come full circle back to that OST.

Ironmage, I've heard a lot of people rave about Sakimoto's FF12 OST (which sounds quite similar to his Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter OST) but I found it to be A. lacking or missing something, say a fellow composer to share the credit and change up the sounds style (Hint: FF Tactics, Tactics Ogre), and B. long and a little same-y, like everything flowed well but it all started to sound like one big song that never ends half-way through the OST. Who knows though, I'm capable of being wrong, maybe I can give it another listen.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2015, 09:59:51 PM by dharkhades »

Darilon

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2015, 08:34:50 AM »
I find that sometimes with battle music. The music can be great but it just can't stay fresh for hundreds of battles.

Ramza

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2015, 02:48:52 PM »
I find that sometimes with battle music. The music can be great but it just can't stay fresh for hundreds of battles.

This, pretty much. Very few battle themes, no matter how good, can live up to the usual "grind" of RPGs. That's why I find that a game with LOTS of battle themes makes for a good in-game experience. A great example would be the Etrian Odyssey series, which has a separate standard battle theme for each "layer" of the labyrinth, and usually has a variety of boss battle themes along the way as well. That makes such an enormous difference. And you realize it if you go back two or three layers (to, say, clear an old side quest) and then you hear that old battle music and you're like "oh, hey, that WAS different!"

SaGa Frontier (1) had five separate battle themes used in different zones and/or contexts. And then it had seven final battle themes (one per main character). That was great as well.
SaGa Frontier 2 also had five battle themes, but some of them were specifically for those weird Strategy-RPG mega-battles. Those were awful (especially the last one).

Dincrest

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2015, 09:38:17 PM »
Heartstring Bugs.  I enjoyed the soundtrack so much that I wanted to play the game, and do a two-for review.  Sadly, the game wasn't that great.  I think part of it was that the songs took a long time to warm up and get to the good parts, but the way the game was structured, scenes were never long enough for the music to get to the good parts, so I was left listening to the same old intros all the time.  This was a rare case where the music held up better outside the context of the game.

http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/Heartstring_Bugs/index.html
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 06:40:49 AM by Dincrest »
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Wild Armor

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2015, 11:56:45 PM »
Have you ever listened to any music from a game and loved it but when you finally played the game it came went back to listen to the music but lost the "spark" that made you love the music in the first place?

Kinda?

Most music from the Final Fantasy series from FFVI - FFX I heard the music first and adored the soundtrack falls into that. I Played the games, Loved the music even more, but did not have that same exact 'wow' factor it happened when I first heard it. Why? Because I already heard it many times outside the game first and a great deal within the game. What had happened was that the music became something I had to be in the mood for. More or less, I was on break from those soundtracks after beating the game/hearing them so many times. FFVI - FFX are the only group of games where I had that happened, where I had to take an extended break from. Even my body tells me that now is not the right time to re-listen to those soundtracks. So I suppose that's the worst it's ever gotten--it turning into mood music.

However, there are instances where I really liked the music from games such as the Grandia Series, the Wild Arms Series, Space Channel 5, and so on. After those games, that 'spark' either remained the same, or elevated to complete aural adoration. I mean, I wrote a paper on Grandia's soundtrack! And look at that, the thread where I asked a question about it for my paper is still there: ADX and Grandia

*shoutout to Wild Armor, who's a Grandia superfan who knows these OSTs backwards and forwards.

You bet I do! You can spread that coverage also to most things by Iwadare, Naruke, and music from Eternal Sonata. ;)

I've had the case where a game's music was BETTER than the actual game for me. This is how I feel about Penny Arcade 4, Glory of Heracles, and a whole host of other games. So often I'll be in love with the music and then be totally underwhelmed by the game, even when I really want to love it.

In the case of Radiant Historia, I really liked the music, then the game made me absolutely adore it.

Glory of Heracles's soundtrack is superduper, as well as Sands of Destruction's ost. ;)

Ramza

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2015, 01:36:34 PM »
Hirota's soundtrack for Glory of Heracles DS seems doomed to never get any kind of proper release, physical or digital.

http://www.vgmonline.net/supersweep-release-glory-heracles-box-set/

This story ran at the end of '14 saying that the whole Glory of Heracles series would have a soundtrack box set release.

There's been no mention of it in awhile, no catalog number or release date set. But I heard through credible sources that the hold-up is whether or not Paon (now owned by Nintendo) would allow the Glory of Heracles DS soundtrack to be a part of the set. The rest is all from the old Data East days, and they're happy to see the music released (as am I).

Nintendo's "we don't like soundtracks" stance is truly frustrating. Yeah, they'll throw you a bone for Pokemon and give you a half-complete Zelda soundtrack now and then. But otherwise, they're just awful.

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2015, 08:38:46 PM »
^ TBF some of their games have like never-ending soundtracks.  But yeah, it's balls.

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2015, 08:41:35 AM »
Secret of Mana, the game, totally ruins a good soundtrack.

Not because the game is bad but because if you do anything in the game it freaks out and starts dropping bits of music.

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dharkhades

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2015, 07:33:44 PM »
I get that battle music can get old after you've played the game and been in hundreds of battles but a good tune is a good tune. I've played FFIX many times through and when the regular Boss battle music kicks in, it gets me pumped every time. I'm currently playing Hotline Miami and despite having to repeat Level 4 probably 80 times before I could beat it, the same awesome song kept playing and I love every minute of it (the song, not necessarily the level). For me, I think what loses it is when my imagination about when and where the song occurs in the story goes crazy so I get let down when I find out later after playing the game. Just some food for thoughts.

Chronix112

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Re: When a game ruins good music
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2015, 11:12:10 PM »
Battle themes with vocals with the Persona series being the biggest offender.