I played Splinter Cell a lot when I was younger, so the original game still resonates with me. One of the things, for me, that made that game so great was the sound during tense moments. Quiet, calculated, only just a trickle to feed your emotions. But, if you got spotted-


Agh. Just thinking about that takes me back to all the moments when I nearly fell out of whatever I was seated in. That collosal wave shook every known particle of my body, and it was an important message in game: you've been spotted. The adrenaline kicks in, and you have two instincts to choose from: fight or flight. For me, it was a perfect use of sound in the game.

A much wiser man than me once told me: sound is like frosting. If its done right, it tastes okay. However, if its not there, the cake itself isn't harmed much. But, bad frosting can really ruin a cake. Admittedly, it was for an animation class and we were hand drawing, but I still think its a good point. But instead of 'not there', change it to a minimal use of sound in game. Sometimes sound can really accentuate a game's experience, from voice acting, to environment and ambient noise, to the music.

I'm a very visually oriented person, so unfortunately sound doesn't quite affect me, unless its a very in your face kind of way, a la Splinter Cell. But sound, unlike graphical quality, can really tear away the immersion of a game. Games today are being praised for not having hyper realistic graphics, and we still enjoy the sytlized quality of it, and can easily lose ourselves in the visuals.  However, we can take a next next gen game built on Unreal 1031, but if you've got crappy voice acting or grating music, the game is totally unbearable.