Depends on the situation. I do love jap music in Persona 4 Golden and the western music in videogames that I genuinely enjoy and play from time to time are the soundtrack of Europa Universalis IV and Crusader Kings 2. My current favourites are the Main theme of EUIV and Ride forth victoriously (war theme).
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Japan usually has better melody, western audio usually has better source samples and composition.
I have to agree. In my opinion, many music for Japanese games have their roots on those ancient video games. As such, they were made to sound great even with very limited sound set. High quality audio wasn't available for games back then. With high quality audio today, they sound even better. Just compare the Etrian Odyssey soundtrack from DS with that of the 3DS games, and ancient Final Fantasy games and their remakes to see a small part of their evolution.
For Western produced games, I have to say it is a very mixed bag. As they generally have large quantity of samples, it allows them to make wide range of music. On the other hand, the West cared little about 'quality', or in other words, anything can be called 'music'. As such, the results really depends on who made and played them, so some are average, some are bad, some are horrible, some are awesome, some are epic.
Depends on what you played when you were young I guess. When I think video game music the first songs that come to mind are the main themes from Morrowind & Baldur's Gate, several tracks from Command & Conquer like for example Hell March and a bunch of themes from old Amiga games like Turrican 2, The Chaos Engine & Gods.
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I've noticed that more often than not Japanese soundtracks are more flashy, and though catchy, can get annoying really fast. Western soundtracks on the other hand seem to be more tasteful, yet can easily be forgotten. Comparing the best of each i'd say they're about equal with each other, but i think i'm going to have to go with Western. To me when it comes to music, catchy=/=good
Really? I can't think of any other video game music composer who matches the ability of Nobuo Uematsu to write songs that are hard-hitting emotionally yet catchy and always fit the mood. He's the reason everybody keeps listing Final Fantasy, and I think that makes it easier to think of Japanese games with good soundtracks than games from anywhere else. If I exclude Squaresoft games, though, there are only a small handful of Japanese games where I really remember the music or really found it to be excellent.
Japan. Uematsu is just unsurpassed in terms of game music. There's nothing wrong with Western game music, it just doesn't tend to be all that memorable.
Hmm, let me try to think of Western games that had music I really liked. Ecco the Dolphin 1+2 on Mega Drive. The Wipeout series (licensed music, does that count?). Halo was pretty good. The Elder Scrolls series is basically decent. Ooh, World of Warcraft has some really very good music amongst its vast range of tracks. Amplitude and Frequency had some good tunes. I actually really liked some of the tracks in Unreal Tournament. Crysis is pretty good. Command and Conquer had some nice stuff back in the day.
But honestly, only a very few tracks from the games mentioned above really stay with me today, whereas there are many, many Japanese tracks that still get frequent playtime on my iPod.
Oh! Ronald Jenkees did the music for Sequence and is one of the best musicians alive, although sadly not many people have heard of him.
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