Audio System is Atrocious (still)
I've had this game since the early days, 5 years now. I also put the game on hold after a period of bad updates and bad decisions being made. Needed to let the game 'sit' and mature. So I'm only just now returning after 2-3 years of being away from it.
A lot of the game seems decent now. So I really want to get back into it.
However... a core system of any game, The Audio System, is a complete mess! It detracts from what could otherwise be a good experience. Being constantly annoyed by bad audio situations keeps pulling me out and slapping me upside the head.
I have a standard 5.1 surround system for pc gaming, and a soundblaster Z-series card. I also have "hundreds" of other games, ranging from budget indie titles, to AAA monstrosities. I cannot recall the last time I have bore witness to such terrible audio positioning/handling in a game before. Even an indie side-scroller seems to get it right.
Just a short list of the blaring issues:
- Assembler, furnace etc... their effects are just a dull, almost un-noticed noise coming out of every speaker.
- Sparks/buzzing/static from damaged blocks, never coming from the right direction. Makes it difficult to 'locate' "where is that buzzing broken block coming from?"
- Using a grinder or welder, is going at about 500% louder than any other sound in the entire game. This is even with the 'visor down'.
- I am standing in a field being shot at by a turret, and no matter what direction I turn, I cannot tell where its coming from because the gunshots keep coming out of the same random direction regardless my camera or character angle.
- Engine sounds from someone else are 'ever present and loud' in no particular direction. So I cannot tell who is coming from what direction, or where. And when they get far enough away, the sound just cuts out completely. Zero fade, zero positioning. Even the checkbox for doppler effects doesn't work on/off.
- Getting in my own rover, the engine sounds are so quiet I can't even tell if the vehicle is functional.
- Audio Block emitting its sound, full, always out of front-right speaker no matter which way you turn.
- Checkboxes for the various audio settings have no effect on or off (no perceivable effect, if they are working).
About the only thing that does seem to work, is when you put down your helmet visor... the sounds are 'muffled'. Which is actually a cool dynamic...... if everything else was working properly!
Music... stuck out of front-left speaker. I would think (like every other game with ambient music), that it not be stuck in a 'direction' but set to 'around you' so it has no perceived physics presence.
Overall ... I cannot believe this game is 5 years old, and has a worse audio system than something from the 90s. I guess the focus of development is to make more skins to lock behind DLC paywalls, than to improve a basic core element which has a massive effect on immersion and enjoyment of the game.
Maybe you all have just one speaker, and never realized the problem?