Category Archives: Chris

Music to My Ears: Dragonborn


Ah, Skyrim. What hasn’t been said about this epic game by this point? A beautiful open world full of interesting areas to discover with a character that you could customize in a multitude of ways. A plethora of sidequests and a thoroughly mediocre main story. One of the most robust modding communities in all of gaming. A phenomenal soundtrack.

I’ve been playing the remastered version for our YouTube channel for a couple months now, and episodes started airing this past weekend.

Skyrim is a game that I’ve played all the way through twice before (on Xbox 360 and on PC), but I’m still excited to give the world one more go. The fact that the game looks prettier and has all the DLC out of the box certainly doesn’t hurt. I’m probably still crazy for buying and playing this a third time, though. I can admit that.

The title theme is probably the most iconic bit of music from the game, although there are certainly several other pieces that stand out. I’m a sucker for just about anything with choirs. I actually feel like Dragonborn gets slept on a bit when people think of the best video game music ever made. Here it is in its four minutes of glory.

Dragonborn

Music to My Ears covers soundtracks or individual songs from video games. You can view all posts in the series by clicking here.

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Music to My Ears: Burn (Tales of Berseria)


Tales of Berseria released in the States (and a few other places) last week, and unlike other games in the series, we haven’t talked about it much in this space. So let’s fix that today.

Berseria has a lot of things going for it. It’s the first release designed for the current generation of consoles (Zestiria was an enhanced PS3 port), so it’s very pretty. The animation is smooth like butter and the game avoids some of the glaring flame-rate issues that earlier titles have had, at least so far. It’s the first Tales to feature a solo female protagonist, because Xillia and Symphonia 2 had split duties (and Symphonia 2 never actually happened).

Velvet has an interesting, tragic backstory from the get-go, and other than her outfit (which can be fixed with costumes), she seems like a cool addition. The rest of the cast so far is solid and the English voice acting is pretty good. I can already tell the battle system won’t be my favorite in the series, but I’m still optimistic that it’ll be fun.

These are all very early impressions…we’ve only been able to spend a couple hours with the game to this point. I’m sure there will be more in the future, from a full review to a possible playthrough for the YouTube channel. In the meantime, here’s the opening video from Berseria in its untouched glory.

Burn

Music to My Ears covers soundtracks or individual songs from video games. You can view all posts in the series by clicking here.

Music to My Ears: Believe in Me


We’ve covered the Tales series in other posts on the site before, but after looking at the opening for Xillia, I figured it would be worth checking out one of the other really good songs from the game.

“Believe in Me” is usually reserved for the most serious boss fights in Xillia, when you’re going up against major enemies at crucial junctures in the plot or dealing with huge creatures that want to kick your ass. It has an appropriately epic feel to it, and the video below gives you 30 minutes to drop it in the background and watch your productivity skyrocket.

Motoi Sakuraba has been the primary composer for Tales games since the mid-’90s, with only a few exceptions (like Legendia, part of Zestiria, a few side titles, etc.). Even as a huge fan of the series, I have to admit that his work has not always been…stellar. Maybe that’s the byproduct of producing so many soundtracks for similar games over a long period of time. All I know is that I prefer his music in things like Golden Sun and the earlier Star Oceans.

Still, from time to time Sakuraba manages to put together something special, and this track is one of those examples. Listen to its majesty.

Believe in Me

Music to My Ears covers soundtracks or individual songs from video games on Tuesdays. You can view all posts in the series by clicking here.

Music to My Ears: Progress


Today marks the beginning of another long-form playthrough on the YouTube channel, now that we’ve burned through a ton of episodes of Trivia Murder Party and other friends from the Jackbox Party Pack. We’ve sort of been filling in the gaps of the busy holiday season with fun one-offs of those games, but it’s a new year now, which means it’s time for Tales of Xillia.

Xillia was a game I thoroughly enjoyed when it first came out in 2013, but what I’m noticing as time passes is that it’s actually my favorite game in the series. A lot of that is due to the cast of characters and the Lilium Orb system, but it also has some of the best battle mechanics in all of Tales, as well as a top-notch opening theme (seen below).

Somehow we managed to get Michaela to play the sequel with us (gotta love that Tales multiplayer, after all) even though she hadn’t ever played the original. So this is a chance for her to see the characters as they first interacted, instead of the neutered versions that appear in the sequel. It should be pretty entertaining.

You can find part one of the playthrough here — new Xillia videos will be appearing Monday through Friday, with Vesperia continuing in the weekend slot until it finishes around the end of the month. It’s a Tales-heavy January, but that only seems appropriate with Berseria on its way to the States on the 24th.

Progress

Music to My Ears covers soundtracks or individual songs from video games on Tuesdays. You can view all posts in the series by clicking here.

Merry Christmas from At the Buzzer!


A holiday tradition around these parts is to take a week off for Christmas. This year is no exception — there won’t be a new episode of the show this week, and videos will go on hiatus from today through Saturday. A new Tales of Vesperia will post Sunday, and then things resume as normal on Jan. 2.

Looking back on 2016, we continued to post steady numbers despite the fact that our content has lagged a bit — there’s still an update every day, but sometimes it’s just a YouTube mirror. We’ll be trying to work on that going forward, and there might be some bigger changes coming down the pipe as well.

We’re heading past the 900,000 hit plateau sometime in the next couple days, which is pretty cool. Not too far away from a millsky now — we should pass 1,000,000 around the summertime. Our YouTube grew quite a bit this year, especially with the success of the Trivia Murder Party series. That’s neat.

2017 will bring some familiar things and some new ones. That D&D show we’ve been teasing for months will actually start, and the website’s going to look a bit different at some point early in the year. The podcast will return on Jan. 5 with our annual lists of the best pop culture stuff from the year before, and we have a new playthrough ready to start on the YouTube channel.

Until then, thank you for visiting the site or listening to our show, and stay tuned for all the stuff we have planned for 2017!

Music to My Ears: Fury Sparks (Dual Mix)


Ah, Fury Sparks. We covered the original song from Tales of Vesperia in a post from a few years ago, but now it’s time for something a bit different.

The other night, Michaela and I were going down the video game music rabbit hole, staying up way past our bedtime (even though I’m a grown-ass man and can go to bed when I want) going through themes from different soundtracks. One of the things I stumbled on was a reupload of a track I found back in like 2008 or 2009, a version of Fury Sparks that overlays the original theme from Vesperia with a remixed version.

When done right, these dual mixes can be really effective — the different instrument choices work in unison to collectively make the song sound like a more complete version. The flip side is that they’re easy to do wrong, leaving both versions sounding hollow at best and discordant at worst. Some songs simply don’t match up in terms of tempo or key, leaving you with a jumbled mess that makes you want to gouge out your ears.

Worry not: This is one of the best combinations I’ve ever heard on the internet, and I’ll probably highlight some more in a future post. It’s a neat concept that only works in certain cases, but when it does, the finished product is all the better for it.

Fury Sparks (Dual Mix)

Music to My Ears covers soundtracks or individual songs from video games on Tuesdays. You can view all posts in the series by clicking here.

Let’s Play Rocket League (+Channel Update)


Chris takes an off day to play one of his favorite games, Rocket League! It’s plenty of soccer car action as well as an update about what’s next for the channel as 2016 comes to a close.

Remember, we take requests! If there’s a game you’d like to see us play, hit us up in the comments.