The Inside Gaming Awards Cometh, and we have the stab wounds, dislocated joints, and bruised egos to prove it. After hours of heated discussion, we’ve all agreed (some grudgingly) on the winners. However, that doesn’t mean that we’re all pulling for one game or another. Here’s where we get a chance to voice our individual opinions on the matter, so at least we can claim we didn’t vote for a game when a dedicated fan of a snubbed game sends us a mailbomb.
Today we’re revealing and discussing the Best Trailer and Sound Design categories.
Lawrence S: While I love and appreciate the simple elegance of a two-second nutshot, there’s really no denying how awesome the Dead Island trailer was. There’s a movie in the works based on the trailer, after all. While the Crysis 2 trailer gives me goosebumps and the Assassin’s Creed trailer has incredible music… yeah. Can’t deny it.
Justin F: It’s pretty clear to me that Lawrence actually CAN’T love and appreciate the simple elegance of a two-second nutshot. The Saints Row The Third debut trailer was the funniest and best trailer of the year. Why? Because it was 60% title cards and logos. It parodied the modern video game trailer so perfectly and in so many ways. Most importantly, it did more in a two-second nut punch to reflect what the game was truly about than all four other trailers on this list combined. That two second nut punch is all you need to know about Saints Row The Third. Bravo, Volition.
Brian R: Four out of five of those trailers–ranging from the Dead Island trailer that has spawned an honest to goodness movie deal, to the Gears of War 3 clip that has giant spiders and, like, Sarah McLaughlin or Shania Twain or whatever–are doing their best to emulate cinematic epics. There’s sweeping music, creative camera angles, slam-cut-editing, and people getting stabbed with emotions and bullets. All of this is good, and make them all viable contenders for being the “best.” But then Saints Row the Third goes ahead and just shows someone getting smashed in the prunes. Like Justin says, that’s all you need. Gotta go with Saints Row for this’un.
Landon R: You know what? Justin is right. While Dead Island had an impressive teaser to beat, the Saints Row trailer surprised by doing exactly the opposite. It didn’t blow our minds with graphical prowess, it excluded giant explosions, and it left out silky-smooth voiceovers.
I’ve seen the light, and I must lean towards Saints Row. Nut punches and all.
Landon R: I can’t do it. There’s no way that I can decide between my two loves of 2011, Battlefield 3 and Bastion. While the two games are on two opposite ends of the gaming spectrum, their sound design is absolutely unmatched. From Bastion’s phenomenal soundtrack that drifts you through its game worlds, to Battlefield‘s sound effects that take you on a one way trip to punch-in-the-face-with-awesome town, I don’t see how I could choose between them.
Then again, Portal 2‘s “Robots FTW” tune remains present on my morning playlist.
Justin F: Every year we get a DICE game and every year I don’t know how they do it. Their sound designers know how to capture the full range of a noise low to high. The meaty, punchy thuds of the guns in BF3 are so dense with texture and subtlety that I feel like I could close my eyes and feel the audio beneath my fingertips. I said it last year and I’ll say it again: DICE has the best audio engineers and sound designers in games, and they’ve once again demonstrated why this is true. My honorable mention goes to Bastion‘s amazing use of music and narration. The most emotional gaming experience I had this year was saving Zia and tracking down Zulf; anyone who’s beaten the game knows exactly the moments I’m talking about, and it was all thanks to the incredible music cues.
Lawrence S: While I love me some audio gun porn, nothing can match the audio of Dead Space 2. I’m going to cheat and use some YouTube videos just to prove my point.
I still get the chills from these scenes and it has everything to do with the sound. SO GOOD.
Shibs: If we’re talking strictly about the fidelity of a game’s sound effects, Battlefield 3 wins this war hands down. But that pesky word “design” means this category isn’t just about how good the sounds are but also how well they’re implemented into the overall experience of a game. And in no game this year is sound design more integral than Dead Space 2. As you might expect from such a horror-focused franchise, music and sound is used sparingly; it’s there to punctuate dramatic moments. And the screeches and squishes of the Necromorphs bring to life these otherwise fictional space zombies. But my personal favorite auditory touch in Dead Space 2 is how the game is able to create tension by foreshadowing combat encounters. It’s that moment when you hear footsteps above your head or banging on the wall across the room. You know it’s coming. A Necromorph is going to pop out. But when and from where? Each step becomes increasingly more difficult to make. I don’t think I’ve ever held a controller tighter than when I played Dead Space 2 with headphones on and the lights off.