It’s been a busy week, what with holidays, a somewhat screwy work schedule, and a random head cold I picked up somewhere, so we’re keeping things light today. Earlier this week, over at Game Front, I published a big rundown of 10 great game soundtracks I’ve been listening to this year. There are quite a few quality entries, so I thought I’d share.
You can find the link to that feature here, which includes the means of finding each of those soundtracks (a few of which are available for free). They cover a range of sounds and moods, and I think they have a lot of appeal even to non-gamers and people who aren’t usually soundtrack fans. Journey, perhaps especially, deserves a specific nod, as the entire soundtrack is up for a Grammy in February. It’s the first game soundtrack ever to be nominated in its entirety. Kind of a big deal.
The list includes my favorites and is limited only to games that came out in 2012. I have a few others I picked up this year that are getting heavy rotation, though, so I thought I’d run down a few here.
This is one from last year and I’m not a huge fan of the game itself (although I’m in the minority — lots of people really, really like it), but the music in Bastion is first-rate. There are some quality (melancholy) vocal tracks on the soundtrack and lots of high-energy combinations of guitars, both acoustic and electric, with various other instruments to create the audio aesthetic of the game’s broken world.
A pile of synthy electronic tunes is a great accompaniment to FTL, a simulation game about commanding a spacecraft and fleeing an evil force bent on your destruction. The songs range from dark and mysterious to light, and the best of them convey the atmosphere of exploration.
3. Dark Void
I’m a big fan of composer Bear McCreary, whose work includes the music for the updated Battlestar Galactica, AMC’s The Walking Dead, the canceled-but-awesome Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and a ton more. Dark Void is, by all accounts, a mediocre game, but it has a phenomenal soundtrack from McCreary that includes a lot of his signature sounds, like heavy percussion. The composer also told me (via Twitter) that he things Dark Void is his best soundtrack as an overall unit.
2. Harmony of a Hunter: 101% Run
A second version of a fan-made series of remixes from the Metroid franchise of games, Harmony of a Hunter: 101% Run is three discs long, free, and awesome. There’s just a ton of variety here and you don’t need to recognize what games the track come from to enjoy them. It’s an awesome effort and deserves your attention and praise.
1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
I purchased DXHR’s soundtrack last year, but it still hits my rotation fairly often. A lot of the things I like about this one are echoed in some of the other soundtracks I purchased this year — things like the mix of electronic sounds and a sci-fi thrust with human elements and vocals. There’s a lot of dark, mysterious stuff here, and I like all of it.
Oh, and one more time, here’s that other 10-list.
Feel free to share your own favorite soundtracks or whatever in the comments. Always looking for new stuff.