TSA Game Of The Year 2013 – Soundtracks

Music that'll make you click.

The soundtrack is gradually becoming one of the more important parts of a game, able to ever-so-gentle affect the tone and mood of a game. Battlefield 4’s modern war zones are accompanied by the, for want of a better term, gritty and heavily distorted thudding and synths, standing in stark contrast to Austin Wintory’s hauntingly etherial compositions for last year’s winner, Journey.

This year’s staff winner comes from a newcomer to the video games industry, as Gustavo Santaolalla’s sublimely evocative work leant an extra dimension to the world and atmosphere of The Last of Us.

Even just the title music brings together all of the inspirations and themes from the game. With the ronroco gracefully picking out the melody above a selection of strings, drums, it has moments of sorrow, poignance, hope, redemption, all within the space of a few minutes. But through the rest of the soundtrack, he finds so many ways to use a wide selection of common, exotic and unusual instruments with which to compose music absolutely appropriate for every moment within the post-apocalyptic story of the game.

It’s unsurprising, then, that The Last of Us holds a commanding gap to BioShock Infinite in second place. Infinite too saw a strong original score come to the front, but this was combined with the anachronistic renditions of more modern popular music than the game’s 1912 setting should allow.

BioShock just about manages to beat GTA V, which sits in third thanks in part to its simply vast selection of licensed music, spread out across in-game radio stations. In an interesting twist, they turn to these radio stations and specific tracks at specific moments during the story, for greater dramatic effect.

Rayman Legends original soundtrack mixed with the exquisitely clever levels designed around the rhythms and music of Black Betty and other popular modern music to secure itself in fourth place. An honourable mention goes to a Peter Chapman other than our own, as the TSA owner’s namesake teamed up with Rom Di Prisco for Guacamelee! in fifth, ahead of The Wind Waker HD, Super Mario 3D World, Tearaway, Monaco and finally Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.

The Last of Us featured TheSixthAxis’ soundtrack of the year.

GOTY-Soundtrack

17 Comments

  1. Thoroughly deserved!

  2. Great, glad TLoU won – in a lot of games I often don’t even notice the music, so the fact that I thought the soundtrack was great says a lot.

    Nice to see Guacamelee getting some love again too!

  3. So, glad GTAV did not win, like on the silly VGX. Ni no Kuni not even mentioned? Seems strange.

    • I agree on GTAV, the music was my only real disappointment.

  4. TLoU was a superb original score on an overall basis and a deserving winner.
    But my single musical highlight was the barbershop quartet early in Bioshock Infinite

    • Yeah, the barbershop quartet doing the Beach Boys was awesome!

  5. Great choice, the whole cinematic experience in The Last Of Us was superb, great game.

  6. TLoU was a great soundtrack but I forgot about Rayman’s Black Betty that level alone probably takes it for me. I remember crying with laughter playing that level of awesomeness

    • Oh yeah that was cool – only played the demo but I think I kept the demo on my PS3 just so I could play it again! :)

  7. TLoU thoroughly deserving, but Bioshock had some lovely ‘folkie’ musical interludes too. I haven’t picked up Rayman Legends yet but Black Betty’s inclusion tickled my nostalgia for the nightclubs of my mis-spent youth. :)

  8. A deserved winner. One of the few soundtracks I actually own

  9. It was a toss-up between The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite for me.

    Other than those two games I thought it was a poor year for game soundtracks though. The only other theme I could whistle or hum right now is Beyond’s.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed the Tearaway soundtrack MM always pick great kooky tracks that really fit there games. The Go Team on LBP1 was great too

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