The Sad, Yet Inspiring Theme Music For Arcanum Somehow Drove Me To Play Harder

I recently got around to playing (and finishing) Deus Ex: Human Revolution. What's strange is that when I think of the game's most memorable moment, what I recall is the intro video after the game's starting section. I'll stop there, lest I venture into spoiler territory, but boy, it really gets you in the mood. The same can be said of the main theme for Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, a sorrowful, yet rousing piece that made me want to play even more.

You can listen to the theme in the clip above and a high-quality MP3 is available online — it was offered free on the game's official site until it dropped off the face of the internet.

I think there's an important distinction between a piece of game music, or an in-game cutscene that's just good and one that seems so in-sync with what the game's about it stops being a perfunctory chunk of media and becomes a necessary part of the experience. Think of all the games you've played and how many throw-away tunes you've heard and then think about, say, Legend of Zelda. I'm sure the series' best instalments would still be great without the iconic theme, but with it, there's another layer of emotional depth that drives you to play, beyond gaining new equipment or seeing the next scrap of exposition.

Maybe it's partially nostalgia with the Nintendo classic, but rarely, I get that feeling with newer games, like Deus Ex: HR. How about you? What recent games do you feel perfectly set the mood with their music, cutscenes or movies?


    The music that played whenever a dragon appeared in Skyrim really got me pumped and did a great job in both summing up what Skyrim is and making you feel like a badass Dragonborn.

    Spoilers for Halo 4:

    I think the scene with Cortana talking about how she knows that sun is fake while the Chief casually prepares his weapons and Cortana comments about figuring out which one of them is the machine is a vital part of not just Halo 4 but the whole Halo experience. It really lets you know who these two characters are, the tragedy of what's happening to Cortana and sets things up perfectly for how the story unfolds from that point.

    I love the music in Deus EX HR when in the menu. Just... awesome.

    I'm gonna go listen to it now.

    Last edited 24/11/12 2:42 pm

    Apotheosis by Austin Wintory which played over the last bit of Journey. Amazing piece of music in its own right, but absolutely PERFECT for that part of that game.

    Arcanum was and is an awesome game. I'm amazed actually just how much overlap there is in what you can do in Arcanum to Human Revolution. It's basically deus ex in isometric mode, with magic and build able items


      I think it's safe to turn off your computer.

    I agree, Arcanum is an amazing game. Just being reminded about it from this article makes me want to go and get it again. I remember wandering the dirty city streets of Tarant with the slow, somewhat depressing violin and the background noises of pigeons and mumbling of the residents. It was one of the most atmospheric older games I've played. And would recommended it to anyone that enjoys RPGs and hasn't played it.

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