The Critical Hit Games of the Year 2018 – Best Sound Design

3 min read


If yesterday was a celebration of the games that look great, then today is a highlight of video games which tickle your ears with expert precision. This isn’t a redux of those games that have amazing soundtracks, but rather the 2018 releases which used all the parts of beefy audio buffalo to their full extent. Every sound, no mater how minor, plays a huge part in selling the escape from reality that a video game should be. Here’s a look at the games, that did it best.

Honourable Mentions

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

Sure, Red Dead Redemption 2 may have fantastic audio that really helps you feel every fan of the hammer and bullet fired, but Rockstar’s western sandbox is outstanding in its ability to use sound at the right time. There’s a certain quiteness to Red Dead Redemption 2, rarely broken up by booming soundtracks or gun battles, that creates an otherworldly and haunting audio trip through untamed frontiers and hostile towns.

It’s that isolation, that solitude that always jolts you out of your seat when the action turns to 11, that makes Red Dead Redemption 2’s sound design stand apart in a class of its own.



Winter is coming, and you’ll feel every single chill of it in 11 Bit Studio’s amazing survival sandbox. Frostpunk might be a masterclass in steampunk gears turning and creaking in the face of an unending blizzard, but it’s also unreal in its ability to emphasise misery and the struggle of trying to stave off extinction. It could be a bright summer day outside, but Frostpunk is more than capable of leaving you feeling cold and chilled to the bone.

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4

There’s a certain beauty in listening to a well-oiled machine rev its engine. The thunder, the fury of a V8 block injecting explosions into every cylinder at a dangerous rate and then unleashing every single horse under the hood to propel that vehicle forward with wreckless abandon. It’s petrolhead love, that makes Forza Horizon 4 not only a good-looking game, but one that sounds incredibly distinct from many miles away.

Battlefield V

Battlefield V

Barring that multiplayer footsteps issue, Battlefield V is still one of the premier games available today to help you justify that purchase of a sound system that costs almost as much as the serum that the queen of England uses to stay immortal. It’s loud, it’s detailed and it’s able to kick even the most expensive Hollywood productions to the curb, thanks to its own stellar blockbuster design.

And the winner is…

Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect

We’ve mentioned before how Tetris Effect has one of the best soundtracks of the year, but it’s a game that is so much more than just kickin’ electronic tracks straight out of the early 2000s. Tetris Effect is phenomenal in its application of its music and sounds, tasking its players with creating a score all of their own that reflects their actions within the time-honoured puzzle.

The result is sensational to say the least, a stunning collection of audio that you can’t help but feel invested in. Every twist of a block, every line cleared and every panicked action from when the tempo increases, all combines to form an audio experience that perfectly complements the visuals. Something which no other game this year came close to even scraping in 2018.

Last Updated: December 13, 2018

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