In Defense of the Let's Play

Yes, this is me.

I don’t actually watch that much television. Growing up, my parents never got cable, so watching a show regularly was a thing unheard of. As I’ve grown older, though I now have access to things like Netflix, HBO, and Disney+, I still don’t watch that much television.

Or at least not what you would consider to be regular television.

Instead, I binge Let’s Plays on YouTube. I watch hours upon hours of them.

For those of you not in the know, a Let’s Play is a video where you can watch someone else play a video game.

Typing that out just now, it sounds stupid. I guess I can understand why there are people who scoff at the notion of Let’s Plays.

But I’m here today to speak in defense of Let’s Plays.

A good Let’s Play is always either informative and engrossing or comedic and entertaining. Some people watch Let’s Plays to learn more about a specific video game. Others watch it for the friendly factor of seeing someone goof up a video game.

I’m personally one of the latter.

There is nothing I like more than experiencing a video game with another person. Sadly, not everyone who is my friend is willing to sit for about fifteen hours to complete a video game with me. So I treasure the few moments I can get.

There is a specific and unique enjoyment I get from watching someone experience a video game for the first time, whether it’s seeing them delight in the same things I delight in, get the pants scared off of them, or cry at a particularly sorrowful moment.

So without having to kidnap and force my friends to play video games for me, a Let’s Play satisfies that itch.

Detractors of the Let’s Play usually say one of three things about them. The first is that it’s an incredibly boring experience to watch someone else play a video game. If you like video games, they say, why not just pick it up and play it yourself?

To which I say, sure, tell all those sports fans out there that in instead of enjoying watching a game, they should all go out and play sports professionally. Go on. Tell them.

Another issue these naysayers will bring up is the “copyright” issue. People who stream or record themselves playing video games are making money off of the material in the game instead of producing original content themselves. If you’ve seen any of the popular Let’s Players out there, you know that’s not necessarily true. The good ones bring a hefty dose of personality with them when they play. They’re almost like professional comedians. It’s a performance, and I’d say they do work to rake in those views.

The final thing I hear people complain about is how a Let’s Play deters players from buying games. If a person sees someone else play a video game, there’s no reason for them to purchase the game for themselves.

Well, I’m living proof that this is not true.

Sometimes I’m not sure about purchasing a new game unless I know I will like it. Call me stingy, but these durned video games are expensive. Before investing in a game, it’s important to know if I’ll actually enjoy playing the damn thing. A Let’s Play provides me with an extended glimpse into what gameplay is like, even more than a game review.

Also, I’m a giant pussy when it comes to horror games. Call me a coward, but I like to know when scares will happen or if a game is too frightening for me before I buy it. A Let’s Play not only allows me to observe when a jump-scare occurs, but it leaves me with lasting, funny impressions of when the Let’s Player got scared. In a way, their fear lessens my own.

And, on occasion, I watch Let’s Plays of games I could never even hope to buy because they’re for a console or machine that I don’t own.

Conversely, I also enjoy watching Let’s Plays of games I’ve already bought and played myself. (I’m a big rewatcher/replayer/rereader of things.)

Lastly, Let’s Plays have even turned me on to games I would never have even looked at had a favorite Let’s Player not taken the time to play it for their audience (namely me).

So, as my final piece of evidence in defense of the Let’s Play, here are just a fraction of the games I have played thanks in part to a Let’s Play.

Red Dead Redemption II: Yup, that game I loved so much I wrote a two part review for it, that game came into my possession because of a Let’s Play. I was super on the fence about it, especially after hearing it was a prequel. I knew it would be a long game and wasn’t sure I’d want to commit to it. I watched a Let’s Player start the game and fell in love with the look of everything. And after seeing the horse riding mechanics, RDR2 had me hook, line, and sinker.

Alien: Isolation: I was always a big fan of the Alien franchise, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about this new game. Want to know why? Because normally these games are shooters! They follow in the vein of James Cameron’s Aliens. And that wasn’t what I wanted from an Alien video game experience. Upon watching a playthrough of Alien: Isolation, I saw that the exact opposite was true. This game took inspiration solely from Ridley Scott’s Alien, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Ori and the Blind Forest: Not much was done to market Ori and the Blind Forest, so I had no clue about the game’s existence until one of my favorite Let’s Players picked it up. It looked interesting, and I watched the playthrough on a whim. Now it’s one of my favorite games (so much so that I bought the Definitive Edition), and its sequel is one of my most anticipated games of the new year.

Soma: I knew Soma would be made by the developers who did Amnesia: The Dark Descent. So even though I was very intrigued by it, I was a scaredy-cat when it came to actually playing it. By watching a Let’s Play of it, I was able to be assured that I could handle its brand of terror. (It helps that there’s essentially a no-dying mode.)

Telltale’s The Walking Dead: This game was everywhere on the Let’s Play scene when it first came out, and it’s easy to understand why. Its narrative-driven gameplay and branching dialogue options made it a game that was engrossing to go through multiple times. After watching someone play it, I bought it myself and went through the whole adventure again. Only this time, I made the *cough cough* right choices.

Waiting on a Prayer for Doom Eternal

Imagine you’re at a restaurant, and you’re about to eat your favorite meal. The savory dish is sending off aromatic scents that make your stomach rumble. You pick up your fork, about to plunge it into your food…

…but then it is snatched away before you can take even a single bite!

That disappointment you’re imagining, that’s basically me when I found out that Doom Eternal was going to be pushed off for three whole months.

We were so close, you guys. So close. Doom Eternal was set to release on November 22. I had pre-ordered it and already cleared an entire day of work with my boss so that I could spend it playing my most anticipated game of the year.

And now I have to wait till March!

Side note: Yes, I’m aware this is very much a first-world problem.

I don’t buy games often. I usually prefer to spend my time replaying games that I already have in my library. On average, I purchase about two games a year. Since it’s so rare when I buy a game, I take the selection and purchasing process very seriously. I like to know ahead of time that I’m going to enjoy the game I spend my money on.

Doom Eternal was going to be one of those games for me this year. I’d played the demo at E3, so I’d had concrete evidence that the game could potentially be the best thing my console ever ran.

And now I have to wait.

Three months doesn’t seem like much, and in retrospect, I am totally making a mountain out of a molehill. But it has seriously derailed my Thanksgiving plans. Now, I don’t have a valid excuse to laze away the beginning of my holidays.

In addition to that, I now feel worried about the status of the game. I originally had so much faith in the developers, but this news that they’ve pushed off the release has me anxious about why they need those three extra months. What bugs do they meed to fix? What glitches are permeating the game? Are they trying to add last-minute features? These thoughts are all crowding around in my head and I can’t get rid of them.

More optimistic fans take this delay as a good sign. They say that the developers are making sure that when the game releases, it is a polished, finished product. But what amount of polishing, the pessimist in me replies, could they accomplish in three months?

Instead of letting my worries consume me, I’m trying to fill my gaming hours with intensive sessions. I’m trying to burn away all the Doom Eternal longings I have within me.

I’m also buying unnecessary toys related to the franchise at my merest whim as a sort of consolation.

Hey, we all have ways to cope.

We Were Here Review!

I have a friend named Fro who gets sent to these awful assignments in San Francisco as part of his work. While it majorly sucks that he’s sent there for weeks, it does make for some great Xbox Live playtime.

A few days ago, we thought we’d try out one of the games that was offered for free on Xbox Live Gold. It was titled We Were Here, and neither of us knew much about it except that it was an online co-op experience.

So, we both thought, ‘Why the hell not?’

What followed was the most enjoyable three hours I’ve ever spent playing a video game.

The controls are simple and easy to learn. The game is played in first person, so you have the typical configuration of right and left sticks controlling the camera and movement respectively. There are a crouch and a jump button, but since the game’s not a platformer, you don’t have to worry about those too much. A button to pick up items is the most important control, followed by the delightful walkie-talkie button.

That’s right, folks. The game insists that you abandon that Xbox Live party since the game’s in-chat system is an integral mechanic. The two players have to radio each other, using a bumper to pull up a radio that they speak into. Only one person can talk at a time, and in a game where the two of you are separated for the entirety of the game, communication is key.

In essence, We Were Here is a puzzle game. It was developed by Total Mayhem Games, and I’m so surprised no one else has struck the gold they did with this game concept. If I were to try and describe it in a single sentence, I’d say it’s an escape room in video game form.

One player is the explorer, and they have to make their way through a confusing and treacherous castle. The other player is the librarian, and they’re stuck in a room with charts, books, projectors, and paintings that can help the explorer on their journey.

Together, the two of you have to escape.

This game is absolutely delightful. I had a blast playing it, and I can’t say I’ve had the same experience while playing any other game.

It’s challenging, but not too hard, finding that perfect balance between testing your brain and breaking it. It really and truly relies on communication because the explorer and the librarian do not know what the other is seeing unless they’re told.

Fro and I actually had to say, “over” after we were done speaking so that we didn’t clog up the line of communication and speak over each other. And we really brushed up on our…describing skills.

Plus, the game has a touch of fright. When the explorer is in a certain area, some kind of monster haunts the hallways. Fro started flipping out over the walkie-talkie when he saw it, since he was the explorer, and I was just safely in my little library trying to help him out.

The ending to the game would be my only gripe, but I’m not going to say what it is so that I don’t spoil it for anyone. Let’s just say it leaves you thinking there’s more, when there isn’t. (Unless there is!)

We Were Here was perfect for a single sitting-game session. It’s available on Xbox and on PC. If you get it, I can guarantee you won’t regret it. Just be sure to play with a friend.

I rate We Were Here a play-with-a-person-you-know-and-can-joke-with-and-it-also-wouldn’t-hurt-if-they’re-on-the-intelligent-side.

Gears 5 Review: Balancing on a Lancer’s Chainsaw

I first picked up Gears of War 3 because I was bored. I knew nothing about the game except that it involved beefy muscle-men shooting up these alien-looking creatures. Little did I expect to be drawn in by the lunky cover-based mechanics and absolutely awesome co-op nature of the game.

I ended up playing Gear of War 4 on the first day it came out (which led to a very hilarious midnight game time with my friend Bubba), and this prepped me for being fully thrilled for Gears 5.

Plus, as I haven’t been shy about posting here, I went to E3 this past summer. The previews for what Gears 5 would be had me super excited in LA. It was no Doom Eternal in terms of my pumped levels, but I was still looking forward to it.

Fast forward to the day it released, and I downloaded it and started playing it immediately. I was totally fresh when it came to the game, no prejudices, I swear. (Well, except for some lingering confusion as to why they shortened the name from “Gears of War” to just “Gears.”)

My final thoughts? There is a lot to like about Gears 5, but it is plagued by some truly frustrating moments.

Now, bear in mind that I’m a campaign gal. I’m not a very good judge of multiplayer aside from “that was fun” or “that totally sucked.” So this review is going to focus on the story mode.

On that note…SPOILER WARNING!

Let’s start with the gameplay first.

Gear 5 played better (at least for me, your Below Average reviewer) than Gears of War 4. Something about the controls felt less clunky, more fluid than its predecessor. My character moved faster (except when slowed by an obligatory story moment). Since I’m a predominantly first-person shooter player, I’m not always used to the heaviness of an over-the-shoulder, third-person shooter. It takes me a while to get used to it. I was able to acclimate to Gears 5 more smoothly than the other two Gears games I played.

The guns also felt wonderfully unique.

Anybody here play Halo 5: Guardians? While playing that game, I couldn’t help being bored with the weapon selection. They all felt so…similar. That wasn’t an issue for me in Gears 5. The Lancer felt different from the Hammerburst. The Gnasher felt different from the Overkill. The Boltok felt different from the Snub.

Side note: Fuck the Snub Pistol. I hate that thing.

Aside from the cool reload mini-game, I looked forward to using each weapon, at least once to try it out, just to see how unique it would feel.

And when you get to know the cover mechanics (and you stop running out like a fool playing Doom), the game is thoroughly enjoyable. You pop in and out of cover, blast the Swarm with your bullets, spikes, or shrapnel, dive to the next spot of cover, and then repeat. It’s all very fun.

But wait, you may say. All of this was in the previous Gears game. How did Gears 5 up the ante?

Well, they threw super powers into the mix.

The main characters get an AI robot buddy named Jack to fight alongside them, and he gives them perks during a battle. Some of these perks are passive upgrades to Jack himself, things that will help him survive. Others are more aggressive.

With Jack by your side, you can let out a Pulse to highlight enemies that are behind cover. You can send out a Flash to stun them out of cover. You can even create a little Shock Trap for them to stumble onto. I think you get the gist of these things.

During the campaign, you can collect components to upgrade these abilities, which provides players with more of an incentive to explore than simple collectibles. And the abilities do end up proving useful when you’re in a pitched battle with Swarm soldiers and Snatchers surrounding you.

But those cooldowns are insanely long.

Please tell me it wasn’t just me. I mean, I spent the components necessary to shorten the timer on those abilities, but I seriously felt those things took forever to recharge. You’d think with all the improvements to technology going on, Baird would have figured out a way to make those cooldowns shorter.

But whatever, that’s not my major complaint with Gears 5. The only thing those long cooldowns truly gave me was more time relying on my own weapons, which is not a bad thing in and of itself.

Let’s move on to the story bits.

Bottom line, Gears 5’s story works. It does its job. As a matter of fact, it worked better than I thought it would. Why? Because the story doesn’t just rely on Kait’s descent into Locust madness like I thought it would. The emotional focus of the story centers on regret and friendship, and those two hefty themes can carry the game to the moon and beyond, especially with that dialogue.

Despite myself, I found myself guffawing along with the hardeeharhar wit and bravado that accompanies a Gears game.

And damn it if I didn’t start liking Fahz by the end of the game. I normally hate the stereotypical douche-bag character, but he won me over. Don’t know how that happened. Probably the dialogue’s doing.

And Jack’s an interesting addition to the story as well as to the gameplay. Though I do wonder why Swarm Leeches never decided to infect and take over Jack when every other machine was being possessed.

Kait’s discoveries and struggles are mesmerizing, engrossing as heck, but they do feel a little vague. I’m still not one hundred percent clear why her dead mom was in her brain and how this strange incarnation of her ended up getting released, but I’m not going to complain too much about the fiction part of my science-fiction game.

What really interested me in terms of story coalesces at the very end, with that terrible choice the developers have you make.

Here’s some brief backstory for those of you not in the know:

The three main characters, Kait, Del, and JD, are the closest of friends. You get the sense of that in Gears of War 4 and in the beginning chapters of Gears 5. But JD makes some very poor decisions (for the right reasons), and it actually damages him physically and emotionally. He cuts himself off from Kait and Del, becoming a pseudo-jerk like Fahz. This results in the majority of the game being about Del and Kait on their adventure. Toward the end, JD reconciles with his two friends, and you three tackle the final mission together. It’s a strange sort of redemption story.

And that’s when Gears 5 kicks you in the balls.

Kait’s mother/not-mother wraps her tentacles around both Del and JD’s throats, and for the first time I can recall in a Gears game, you have to choose which character lives or dies.

Side note: You do this by choosing which tentacle to chuck a sword at, the one holding Del or the one holding JD. Don’t know why you couldn’t just chuck it at Kait’s mom’s face.

And this is not some phoney-bologna choice. Whoever you don’t pick to live, dies. I panicked like a chicken without its head when I had to make this choice. I ended up saving Del, because he was my broski for most of the game, and it would have been terrible to just let him die.

But then I had to contend with the fact that I let Marcus Fenix’s son die. Marcus’ face (yes, his computer-animated face) had me writhing in shame and guilt.

Side note: Yes, I do plan to play the game again and have JD live, so I have a save file with each option.

Anyways, it is a ton of fun experiencing Gears 5 with another person by your side, and it tickles me pink that you can play it with three people couch co-op style.

However, this is also where I ran into major problems with the game.

More than once, scripted in-game events failed to occur, leaving me and my partner stranded in this interminable moment of time. We had no choice but to restart from our last checkpoint. For example, I once got stuck under a downed helicopter, and my partner’s character had to go down some stairs and reach me before I got swarmed with Swarm. We didn’t realize this at the time, but a Juvie is supposed to leap on top of my character and start pounding at me once my partner’s character got close enough to save me. After shooting it, there’s a small mini-cutscene where my character is helped up.

Unfortunately for us, the Juvie never showed, so my partner and I spent a good fifteen minutes wondering how he was supposed to help me up. He walked around my character (who lay on the ground chilling) pressing every button under the sun, hoping he could activate some kind of assist.

Another problem that plagued my playthrough were missing character models.

You guys know that fight with the Matriarch that happens in the ice level? For the intro, she’s just missing from the cutscene. And when the gameplay starts up, she can be found on the complete other side of the room.

We also had those moments where Kait or Del looked like they were holding their weapons, but their weapons were playing the invisibility game. Nothing screams polish like a missing weapon model, am I right?

Ugh, and don’t get me started on those wind storms.

Look, I liked the idea of making the game open-world-esque, but if you’re going to include skiff-traversable areas, could you not populate them with bullshit storms? I could hardly control the vehicle, the fake dust obscured my entire screen, and THE RANDOM LIGHTNING STRIKES KILLED ME MORE THAN THE SWARM!

Maybe I’m being salty, but I don’t think that skiff handled well. And it definitely didn’t handle well in the middle of a wind/lightning storm in zero-visibility conditions.

All of the gripes I have against the game, however, didn’t really spoil my enjoyment of it. Gears 5 luckily struck a fine balance for me, between laughably glitchy, truly engrossing, and damnably entertaining.

Though it’s kind of an unfortunate reality gamers have to put up with these days that big titles will inevitably release with more bugs than Million Ants.

I rate Gears 5 a fun-update-to=the-Gears-franchise-that-has-a-few-issues-but-when-it-succeeds-it-really-succeeds-and-no-one-can-deny-the-pleasure-of-Lancering-Swarm-in-the-face.

Playing Single-Player Campaigns with Another Person

I once wrote a post extolling the virtues of couch co-op games. In it, I made a big deal about being able to sit down with friends and play video games (and some other sob-story stuff). I still believe playing co-op games is one of the better parts of gaming.

But over the years, I’ve realized there is something I like more than good old-fashioned splitscreen fun.

There is seriously nothing better than playing a single-player campaign with a buddy.

Just hear me out.

Since a single-player experience is meant to be played by one person, a stronger emphasis on narrative is given to these campaigns. Player choice and immersion are focal points.

If you’ve never played one, imagine an interactive movie that could last you for days.

And sure, I’ve watched my fair share of movies alone, but I draw extra enjoyment from watching a movie with a friend and having the same or a different reaction. It’s one of the things I live for.

Looking back on my gaming experiences then, the ones I love the most are the ones where a friend and I went through the highs and lows of a single-player campaign together.

My friend Bubba is the number one person I do campaigns with. We have such good memories of playing video games together, even if one of us was mostly a passive observer during the whole thing.

We played Alien: Isolation, a survival horror game, all the way through by passing off the controller every ten minutes. That time limit wasn’t arbitrary. Ten minutes was about as long as we could stand the stress of having to creep around a space station with a Xenomorph stalking us. The game was so stressful, we practically threw the controller at the other person when our turn was up, even if a Xenomorph was charging us at the time.

We played Life Is Strange, an episodic, dialogue-driven adventure, together. At first, we laughed at the downright dumb that seemed to permeate character decisions and reactions. But after a while, we got sucked into the high school drama. We even have personal catchphrases we use that come from this game. We’re terrible trash people.

We played the latest Prey game together. We both really like sci-fi, so this survival adventure game on an abandoned space station infested with a new alien life form was perfect for us genre-wise. Plus, we both had different styles of playing, and they both worked. I was the sneaky sneakerton that would whack enemies from behind with a wrench or a silenced pistol shot, and Bubba was the all-sprint-all-the-time kind of player who favored the shotgun and psychic blasts.

I watched Bubba play through Celeste, an indie platformer that is all about fighting your way through your own insecurities while remaining true to yourself. I’m not terribly skilled at platforming, but Bubba was a mad genius. He died almost 1000 times (not joking), but he persevered all the way to the end.

Bubba watched me play Mass Effect: Andromeda, a sci-fi RPG, and laughed at me the entire time. He called me obsessed because I kept trying to spark relationships with any turian I could find. And we both laughed at the insane amount of glitches we ran into.

I don’t think I’m alone in the gaming community in liking the feel-good feeling of a single-player campaign experienced alongside a friend. (I mean, that’s probably why Let’s Plays exist in the first place. Let’s Players are like substitute friends who play games for you.)

There’s just something to be said for playing a game in a way that, perhaps, it wasn’t exactly meant to be played.

Top 10 Favorite Video Game Soundtracks

The music behind a video game might be one of the more underappreciated aspects of a game. Everyone always goes ga-ga for the visuals and the gameplay (for good reason, ’cause, I mean, those things are sort of important), but I feel like a game’s soundtrack isn’t as valued as it should be.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for soundtracks, so today, I’m going to write about my top ten favorite video games in terms of their music.

That’s right, folks. It’s time for yet another list!

Seriously, these are my favorite kind of posts to write.

Let’s do this.

10. Dead Space 2

The Dead Space series is not known for its soundtrack. (Or at least I don’t think it is.) It’s mostly known for its excellent take on sci-fi horror. In Dead Space 2 you play as Isaac Clarke, engineer extraordinaire, as he deals with yet another necromorph infestation. The terror of these nightmarish creatures is brought to life thanks to the incredible audio design. And, as everyone should know, a video game’s soundtrack is technically part of its audio design. (Kind of.) The Dead Space 2 soundtrack is better than just blaring horns accompanying jump-scares and rapid percussion during a chase sequence. The game also includes some pretty somber melodies, with slow strings depicting the tragedy of the story as well as the fright. It hits you right in the feels. (And yeah, the chase sequence themes can give you minor heart attacks as well.)

9. Tetris

Good god, I could hum this theme for hours. I don’t know if the Tetris theme counts as a soundtrack, but I’m gonna include it on my list anyways. If you have never heard the Tetris theme song, I don’t know whether to recommend it to you or not. On the one hand, it is an iconic video game tune that everyone should hear at least once. On the other hand, if you hear it, you’ll get it stuck in your head and you’ll have no one to blame but me.

8. Shadow of the Colossus

If you’re going to be fighting giants in these epic landscapes, you should definitely have great music to accompany you on your quest. I have only ever played Shadow of the Colossus once on the PlayStation 2. (No, I haven’t tried the remake because I don’t own a PlayStation 4.) It was goddamn beautiful. For those of you who don’t know, you play as a guy named Wander who has to take down these slow-moving Colossi. The music is mostly ethereal in quiet moments, but it changes to bombastic, fantastical themes whenever you begin your fight with a Colossus. And funnily enough, the music is able to make you feel simultaneously triumphant and a bit saddened when you bring these magnificent creatures down.

7. The Last of Us

People hype up the story of The Last of Us all the time (as well they should), but the soundtrack should get some love too. It is remarkably simple, poignant, and easily recognizable. If you really listen to it, the main theme can be boiled down to three notes. Gustavo Santaolalla achieved so much emotional impact with such simplicity. It actually reminds me of Jaws’ soundtrack. Not the emotions tied to the soundtrack. (Definitely not.) But how the melody can convey so much by remaining uncomplicated.

6. Red Dead Redemption II

I’ve already gushed about Red Dead Redemption II in its entirety in this post over here, so some of you already know how I feel about its soundtrack. Masterpiece level of music right there. RDR2’s soundtrack rides alongside the story beats in perfect tandem. You know those fortuitous moments in movies when someone is feeling sad and then it starts to rain. That’s how in sync Red Dead Redemption II’s soundtrack is with its story. Something will happen and the music matches it. Also, there is a fantastic selection of songs chosen for choice moments in the game. If soundtracks in general don’t interest you, be sure to at least check out the featured songs sung by many talented artists. My particular favorite is “That’s the Way It Is.”

5. Prey

Prey is a video game that did not get a lot of notice when it came out, which is a downright shame because it is fantastic. It’s a mix of Bioshock, Soma, and Dishonored all rolled into one sci-fi package. Its soundtrack is also great. While it doesn’t stick in your head with defined melodies, it suits the game to a tee. I just found out it was composed by Mick Gordon, who appears in another entry on this list as you’ll soon find out, and I couldn’t be happier. It has a classic synth vibe to it that is nostalgic and futuristic at the same time.

4. Ori and the Blind Forest

Soft orchestral notes greet you as soon as you start up Ori and the Blind Forest, and the high quality of its sound is maintained throughout the entire game. The tempo picks up when your little forest spirit, Ori, is in danger, but it knows when to slow down too. Throughout the game, you travel to various places on a map (Metroidvania-style), and each area has its own theme. Even these background themes are as enjoyable to listen to as the more dynamic story themes.

3. DOOM (2016)

Mick Gordon shines in DOOM. Admittedly, this kind of music might not be for everyone. If you give it a listen and decide it’s not for you, that’s okay. But just try and picture those pulsing and pounding themes as you play the iconic Doomguy, punching and shooting your way through bloody hordes of ravenous demons. No other soundtrack on this list made me feel like a bad-ass the way Doom’s did.

2. Super Mario Odyssey

Okay, I know I’m not including the original Mario theme, which is a super iconic one, but this soundtrack blew me away with how awesome it is. Super Mario Odyssey wowed me on every level. I played it with relatively low expectations, expecting it to be just another Mario game. Imagine my surprise with how playful and delightful it was. The soundtrack embodies the idea of adventure, which is exactly what you go on alongside Mario and Cappy.

1. Halo

Psh. What, did you think I wouldn’t include Halo on this list? Halo is my all-time favorite video game in the history of ever. Its soundtrack is perfection. I love every theme, can predict when each music cue will occur, and frequently play it in the car to the annoyance of my sister. Rest assured, when I say I like the Halo soundtrack, I’m only talking about the Halo games in which Martin O’Donnell was the composer. Halo 4’s soundtrack was all right, with some great tracks like “Arrival” and “117,” but Halo 5: Guardians‘ soundtrack sucked dick. I’m sorry for getting lewd there, but it’s true. You can’t hum a single piece of music from Halo 5 because all of it just sounds like generic sci-fi noise. Anyways, I love Halo’s music so much, I think I’ll listen to some right now!

So that’s it for my list. Do you have any favorite video game soundtracks? Or just favorite soundtracks in general, from movies and TV shows? Let me know in the comments 🙂