Guest Writer: Soundtracks

This time round Origami Killer wants to talk to you about what music means to him, particularly when games use it.

I’ve always been a musical person, in my life I’ve learnt how to play Guitar, Violin and now Piano. So when I play a video game the soundtrack is always something I listen out for. For a game to be great it is essential for it to have a really memorable soundtrack in my opinion; it helps me connect with the game.

What has really brought the subject of soundtracks to my mind is the recent “Video Game Heroes” show as part of the Vision Sound Musical Festival. Here the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed many pieces of music from a series of different video games. More can be read here thanks to our very own TSA News Team.

Moving on from the event I would like to talk about some of my favourite or most memorable soundtracks that I have encountered. There are only a handful of games that I have played where I have stopped playing just to listen to the music in the background. Of course one of these games is Uncharted 2.

The soundtrack of the game is without a doubt the best on any game this generation; it’s varied, compelling and powerful. Other than that, the way it seamlessly changes into different moods is a big part of the Uncharted experience. At one point the music is spurring on action and makes you feel like you are right in the middle of the gunfight, similar to the feeling of a huge blockbuster movie. Then, with a snap of the fingers, the music is low and ominous, filling the atmosphere with tension for the gamer. It is utterly fabulous and ultimately a huge part in making Uncharted 2 the great game it is today.

Another main part of a strong soundtrack in a game is its ability to promote emotion. The title that does this best for me is a tie between Heavy Rain and, although not entirely a game, the Dead Island Teaser Trailer. The music scores in both have really made my eyes water and sometimes even shed a tear. It’s these types of soundtracks that I think connect you with the game most efficiently and they are so intense that you don’t even need an image on the screen to get the same feeling. Also for me the Dead Island melody is so difficult for me to describe, other than moving and compelling I can’t think of any other words that do it justice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_pzIWp5kCA

I also think that a soundtrack is a very good way to immerse you into a game or help you adjust to the culture of that game. L.A. Noire is a prime example; the in game radio features some wonderful songs recorded and produced by various artists around the world who have all re-mastered the 30/40’s Jazz vibe to near perfection. This makes it very easy for me to imagine the world of the game, but this time it is not by emotion but through the culture of the era.

I hope these examples have shown how music can be used so diversely in video games, which as a result refines the experience of gaming. The soundtrack is something I always keep an ear out for, and can sometimes even be a deciding factor in the decision of purchasing games. With the time and effort that goes into recording these musical scores they really should be more appreciated in gaming.

So do you share the same love for game soundtracks – If so have there been any stand alone soundtracks in your gaming experience? Don’t be shy either when admitting that a certain tune made your eyes slightly misty.

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48 Comments

  1. Uncharted, Heavy Rain and Oblivion without a doubt. Fantastic music.
    Great article, well done.

  2. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind theme is probably one of the best around, and the music from TES games in general is great; Jeremy Soule is a pretty awesome composer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWuNf4gxwuM

    • I haven’t played a TES game yet so didn’t know what the soundtrack was like in it, I’ll be sure to check it out.

  3. I have quite a few video game soundtracks on my PS3 (Flower, God of War Trilogy, Bulletstorm, Mafia II, Killzone 3, Heavy Rain, Motorstorm Apocalypse, Pixeljunk Eden and Yakuza 3).
    I think possibly one of the most outstanding soundtracks of recent times has to be Flower.

  4. To date, Heavy Rain is the only video game OST that I own. Absolutely superb and really gave the game an added sense of tension.

  5. Heavy Rain, GTA Vice City, San Andreas and 4. Red Dead Redemption is also very good, NFS Hot Pursuit, Driver San Francisco is better than i expected and in the end, my lovely series of SKATE games! All the 3 have excelent OST’s!

  6. Not a single mention of Metal Gear Solid? D: Get out! :P

    • Erm, I didn’t even click post comment for this one :S

  7. Not a single mention of Metal Gear Solid? D: That is sacrilege! I would post some music, but the song titles or videos have spoilers in them.

    • I’m afraid to tell you that I’ve only played one MGS game and I really didn’t get into it. So any music from that game has completely skipped my mind. Your double post really shows your disgust haha!

  8. Can’t let Final Fantasy not get a mention! The older ones mainly neways! Nobuo Uematsu’s work is simply amazing and elevates the games, to this day I still remember booting up FFVII and hearing prelude!

  9. I collect soundtracks and have imported them from Japan, America and Europe. Love, love, love them. Nobuo Uaematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, Akira Yamaoka, Yoshitaka Hirota, Winifred Phillips there’s soooo many great composers. OverClocked Remix as well is fantastic. I also do a guess the game music contest once a year too – great fun.

  10. Heavy Rain, Resistance 3, most of the Final Fantasy soundtracks, and of course the original Resi’s like Resi 1 & 2 had great music :) to me the soundtrack is a very important feature in a game, I love it when the music is just right for the setting. I remember back in Resident Evil 2 when you could tell if something bad/scary was about to happen just by the music changing :D

    • resistance 3?

      i found the soundtrack to be rather “plastic” as in they tried making it atmospherical but it didn’t really add anything to the game IMO

      • the music played at the main menu I find is very good :)

      • Guess it is, really absorbs my mind into the atmosphere of the menu lol for the 5 seconds I’m looking at it :p

      • yes that’s the catch, your not on it very long, then the music is a bit dull in game

      • just noticed this was article :p

        good read mate and nice1 for bringing the subject up.

        really do like TSA these with the writers taking about all the little things that make gaming what it is today :D

        ps…. this site really needs smiley icons! :D :P :),

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