Aggie Awards

The Aggie Awards - The Best Adventure Games of 2015


Best Sound Effects: SOMA

It’s hard to believe that in most video games, there are NO inherent sounds involved. Each game begins in absolute silence, its world brought to life only through the dedicated efforts of sound designers. Some games can get away with minimal effects (and often try), but some practically beg for a richly atmospheric soundscape. For the latter, there may be no environment riper for wonderfully immersive sound design than creepy, remote research outposts stricken by horrific, mysterious tragedy. Whether in space, Antarctica, or the bottom of the ocean, the foreboding, creaky confines of dark corridors ravaged by the elements always seem to be rotten with grinding metal, distant alarms, whistling steam, and cracking glass. SOMA does this as well (and arguably better) than any game of its ilk.

The sound engineers at Frictional are masters at creating authentic aural backdrops, and SOMA represents them at the height of their craft. They give the game’s sound an incredible heft – something as mundane as opening a door is greeted with an array of sharp hisses, deep thuds, and shrieking steel. The moments you step outdoors in a diving suit are remarkable as well, as your perception of the world takes on a muted, echoing, distant profile. And when the monsters show up? Forget about it. Try keeping your cool when all you can hear are human screams mixed with garbled static as steam blasts your face while running through halls covered in vaguely fleshlike organic overgrowth that slaps wetly against your footsteps. It’s gross, it’s intense, and it’s ultimately Aggie-worthy as the best sound in any adventure game this year.

Runners-Up:


STASIS

Prominence

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2

Bulb Boy
 



Readers’ Choice: STASIS


You say to-may-to, we say to-mah-to. This award HAD to go to a game based on a derelict station; the only question was which one. While AG staff slightly favoured SOMA, you readers even more slightly gave STASIS the nod for Best Sound Effects. And for very good reason. With music played sparingly, usually all you’ll hear are the ambient mechanical sounds of the Groomlake, with fans whooshing, steam hissing, and deck plates creaking. In the quieter moments, all you’ll hear is your own breathing, escalating as your stress levels climb. Occasionally the ship’s PA will interject with an inappropriately cheery automated announcement as a painful reminder of how wrong everything has gone. Play with headphones on, and enjoy. [Insert sounds of thunderous applause.]

Runners-Up:


SOMA

Broken Age

Anna’s Quest

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2
 



Next up: The Silver Aggies... the envelope, please!

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