Since I shared a few video game opinions here recently I thought I continue the trend a bit and talk about one of my favorite aspects of gaming – the music. I am someone who closely examines all aspects of games when I play them, and the music can really have an impact on my opinion of the game. It obviously won’t make me hate a game I’m enjoying, but I get kind of disappointed when the music is weak or underwhelming.
So I wanted to highlight some of the music that is so good that I basically listen to them on a weekly basis. These are in no particular order, except the first one which is my end all be all. I may do this again another year to highlight the music in games that I come across after this post.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Composer – Trevor Morris
Now I adore all of the Dragon Age Soundtracks, but it would be a boring list if just kept naming DA as the best. So while the Inquisition OST is my absolutely favorite the music from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II are definitely worth listening too, both are done by Inon Zur. Origins has a much darker edge to it and really kind of captures the dark, gritty, and almost closely focused feel of the first game. While Inquisition has a much wider sound and varies quite a bit, which I think works well with the larger scope of the story and motivations.
Also to add to this DA mini list, the Bard songs from Inquisition are some of the best in-game bard songs to date. The vocals by Elizaveta Khripounova are beautiful and there is one song, in particular, I Am The One that makes me think of all three main characters of the franchise as well as a character I played in a tabletop RPG version of the DA world.
Bloody Tears – Castlevania
Game(s) It Appeared In: Castlevania II – Simon’s Quest (originally), has been in damn near all of the since.
Original Composer: Kenichi Matsubara
The video above is a cover and not the original, because while the original is amazing I think this group does an outstanding job of really capturing that gothic hard-hitting style that is the Castlevania franchise. It just makes me want to become a vampire lord…maybe more successfully than poor Dracula though. He keeps having to rebuild his house because humans keep showing up to wreck it.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Composers: Kazumi Totaka, Minako Hamano, Kozue Ishikawa
Games Appeared In: Link’s Awakening (originally), Tri-Force Heroes, Hyrule Warriors
A bit of warning first, the above video does show gameplay from the game. So if you want to play it without some visual spoilers, just hit play and don’t actually watch the video. So I again I have included a cover version, this one done by Jerimiah Sun, who does an amazing job arranging all of the music. While the Ballad of the Windfish is my favorite Zelda song, because it’s the original piece for my favorite installment, this is a shoutout to the entire soundtrack which is ethereal, epic, and beautiful. It has a dreamy quality to it that just works so well, while still maintaining those really epic adventurous themes that are consistent throughout the series. I really encourage you to check out Sun’s full playlist, because while Ballad is THE song for me there are some incredibly strong pieces that just deserve so much attention.
Full Soundtrack Playlist
Kingdoms of Amalur
Composers: Grant Kirkhope
This has to be one of the most underrated games ever and by extension one of most underrated soundtracks. So this is a twofold recommendation for both the game (which holds up really well despite coming out YEARS ago) and for the music. It’s got that epic sound to it that is both hard hitting and expansive, not to mention some nice flightly elements that pull in that Fae inspired world into the music.
Divinity: Original Sin II
Composers: Borislav Slavov
Another epic fantasy RPG with some stunning music. It has that same brass and strings theme as a few of the others on this list (I like them…). It has some more melodic pieces that don’t evoke a sense of danger and urgency that really shows off the beauty of the world, even despite all the terrible beasties you have to face on your path to becoming a god. It also does a cool thing where you can choose the instrument you’d like your character to be associated with, and when you do something like kill an enemy that instrument will lead the music that is triggered. It’s fantastic when you have multiple people playing.
Composers: Kazuhiro Nishida, Yoko Osaka, Toshikazu Tanaka
This is one of my favorite NES games, it was a super fun and quick shooter that was and still is one of my all-time favorite coop experiences. The music captures that kind of military-esque feel while also keeping it kind of manic. This is almost exactly like it sounded in game, the only difference is WiiGuy has refined the sound so that it has a fuller sound than any NES game was capable of at that time.
I think I’ll keep the list short this go around, simply because six videos in one post would be pushing it for me as a reader. SO, do you listen to video game music? If so what are some of your favorites? Have you listened to any of those I’ve shared here before?