Something that I have been very good at from a very young age was recognizing music from different forms of media. My parents once made a comment that they had no idea how I could recognize almost any piece of music from my favorite movies. Be it Master and Commander, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Jurassic Park…you name it.
My dad and I used to buy music CD’s all the time from this wholesale shop and while he picked up a bunch of classic rock stuff, I picked up movie soundtrack CDs. This same appreciation for music followed me as I began to really play video games when I got a PS1.
A good soundtrack in a game can make or break the experience for me. I’ve talked at length before about the Halo series and how this current trilogy of games has really done a poor job of making the soundtrack recognizable to fans and making sure its prominent within the gameplay.
That is part of the reason I conducted this Top 10 series over at Velocity Gamer all those years ago. I really believe a video game’s soundtrack is just as important as all of the aspects of the game and not enough people recognize that. I unfortunately left OnlySP before I could post this article up last year, so I figured I’d continue the tradition here at Gameumentary…albeit two months late.
Nick Calandra and Kyle Bailey contributed to this story. Marked by KB and NC.
UNCHARTED 4 – THE RACE TO LIBERTALIA
The Uncharted series has provided some of our most memorable adventures in video games, and the music from the series has been fantastic since the very beginning. Race to Libertalia, for me, was one of the most memorable pieces of music from Uncharted 4 because of its adventurous tone and at times, might even remind you of some of the music from the Jason Bourne series. – NC
THE WITCHER 3: BLOOD AND WINE – THE BEAST OF BEAUCLAIR
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt had some of the best music in video games in 2015 and Blood and Wine continued that trend in 2016. The Beast of Beauclair is arguably one of the best boss fight songs in recent memory. – NC
DOOM – RIP AND TEAR
C’mon. Did you really think this wasn’t going to make the list? – NC
GOD OF WAR 4 – OFFICIAL THEME
Fully aware that the next God of War hasn’t even been released yet, but when this was played live at Sony’s E3 2016 presentation, I already knew this was going on the list. The God of War soundtracks have always been great, but this theme for the latest installment in the series is on another level. I’m excited to see what the full soundtrack brings to the table, hopefully later this year. – NC
ABZU – DELPHINUS DELPHIS
Giant Squid Studios’ ABZU is a game of filled with enchanting beauty and life and wonder, much of which is owed to Austin Wintory’s masterful use of music within the game’s world. Wintory has worked on games like The Banner Saga and Journey, the latter of which was also worked on by then art director at thatgamecompany, Matt Nava, who founded Giant Squid Studios. His talents of creating gorgeous visuals and compelling, exploratory gameplay is married perfectly with Wintory’s finesse as a composer, whose music can bring out the essential emotions that make each and every moment of a game even more impactful. – KB
OWLBOY – MAIN THEME
Jonathan Greer’s work on the Owlboy soundtrack is nothing short of spectacular. By now, everyone knows that the game’s road to release was… rather long, but the wait was more than worth it. I’d still say that even if the only thing D-PAD Studio had released was its soundtrack. The way Greer has married electronic and orchestral symphonies together is impeccable, making for a musical experience that fills every single emotional facet that game’s surprisingly dramatic story has to offer. Greer’s music elevates Owlboy from being simply good, to something that I’ll replay for years to come. – KB
HYPER LIGHT DRIFER – PANACEA
When you get someone like Disasterpiece to write music for you, whatever you’re working on must be incredibly special. This was true for Fez (and still is), for the eerie indie-horror flick It Follows, and it’s most certainly true for his latest project: Hyper Light Drifter. The game’s score fits perfectly into the library of work from its composer—dark tones, moody electronic melodies, and mysterious harmonies—but there is also a beauty to it, making it perfect for the game it accompanies. This song in particular is one of the most effective uses of piano I’ve ever heard of in a game, especially given when it plays in Hyper’s story. – KB
TITANFALL 2 – THE BATTLE OF TYPHON
The soundtrack in Titanfall 2 was actually a surprise hit for me, as was the single player campaign. This piece of music arrives at one of the later missions in the game and instantly became one my favorites of the year as it made the scene that played out all the more intense and engaging. I can’t say too much about it without spoiling one of the biggest scenes in the game, but if you’ve played Titanfall 2 you’ll remember this track. – NC
FURI – DANGER
I have yet to play Furi myself, but I’ve seen mention of its soundtrack online too many times to count. I went through and listened to quite a bit of the soundtrack and I have to say, I can completely see what people were raving about. – NC
FIREWATCH – PROLOGUE
This is the first song you hear in Firewatch and what you originally thought was going to be a bit more lighthearted adventure suddenly turns into something much more deep and thought provoking. The first song you hear in the game sets the tone perfectly for what is to come. The whole Firewatch soundtrack in general is pretty great, but this song was among my favorites.- NC
Have a favorite track you want to share with us? Be sure to post it in the comments as an honorable mention!