Where words fail, music speaks – Favourite Gaming Soundtracks
There has been so much damn good music in video games and it keeps getting better and better as games slowly get a more accepted status in story telling media. And where we once had only 8-bit tunes that turned into electronic orchestras, nowadays it is not unusual for a game to get an entire symphonic orchestra to record their soundtracks. And there have been some great highlights. Impossible for me to put into any sort of ranking but I want to pick a few out that are extra special or beautiful to me so without further ado here are some of my favourites in no particular order:
Civilisation IV – Baba Yetu
I don’t even know how to describe this other than phenomenal. Incidentally this is the first gaming soundtrack that won an actual Grammy – and rightfully so. Those who know me might know about my seasonal obsession with Civilisation games. Out of all the strategy and planning games this series has been with me the longest and I loved each part to pieces. I usually forget about the games for months at a time only to come back when I need a relaxing single player experience I can do with one hand and leaning back and forget about everything. Just a quick game. 7 hours later I usually laugh at myself because there is no such thing as just one quick game with Civ.
Civilisation VI – Sogno di Volare (“The Dream of Flight”)
It came out only a month ago but this is already on my list. Everything I wrote above applies here too. But additionally: This piece is just so damn uplifting? I listen to this and I feel like I can move mountains and suddenly have a more positive look on literally everything. At least for the duration of the song. And good for me: Civ IV came out right at the beginning of autum, perfect for the long winter nights. I already know I will spend hour after hour thinking: Just one more turn.
Star Wars – The Old Republic – Balmorra, The Forge
I love this because it is completely new music for the game, yet it fit’s perfectly into what you would expect from a Star Wars soundtrack. And if you land on that planet and run through the hangar doors straight into a civil war you feel twice as epic with that as your background music. Additionally, the more calm version of the same theme (starts at minute 5:00) fits the slight hopefulness, the spark of rebellion on this war torn planet perfectly.
Star Wars – The Old Republic – Knights of the fallen Empire Love Theme
Short and sweet and wonderful. The last SWTOR expansion comes with a lot of really great music.
The Elder Scrolls – Morrowind Oblivion and Skyrim Theme
I can’t even say which one is my favourite out of those 3. Musically they are sort of connected to each other, therefor I would put them all together for this question. The Morrowind theme especially still gives me chills and a lot of good memories.
Mass Effect 2 – Suicide Mission
Mass Effect will probably forever have a special place in my heart. Never have I gotten into characters as much and I have cried so many times through all three games because I have way too many feelings for everything that is going on. Too much attachment to everyone involved. And this, the Suicide Mission at the end of part 2 is probably the greatest moment in gaming history for me. While I love all three games Mass Effect 2 has probably one of the most rewarding endgame I’ve ever played. The Suicide Mission is where everything comes together and plays out according to your earlier choices. And there is this moment where the game just straight up delivers about two hours of absolute synergy between writing, action, emotional moments and music.
Mass Effect 3 – The End of an Era
Well, the title says it all, right? This is the last piece of Mass Effect I played. The Citadel DLC. A big, bittersweet goodbye and a few hours full of inside jokes and fanservice. And emotionally the actual ending to the trilogy. After being immersed in that universe from 2007 to the Citadel DLC coming out in 2013 this was the actual and. I may have been a tad emotional there… Seriously, if you ever wondered what I look like when I just start weeping out of nowhere just turn this piece on around me. Just make sure you have a box of tissues for me.
The Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess Theme
The only Game that I ever actually bought a console for. Zelda games are hit or miss for me and due to the fixed protagonist and railroading have little to absolutely no replay value for me but this intro song was wonderful and stuck with me long after the game.
Fire Emblem Fates – Azura’s Dance & Main Theme
While the dance in itself is short the main theme of it is also the main theme of the game and it is absolutely beautiful. Additionally, given by the nature of the game being not one, but three different games, the arrangement of the main melody and the lyrics change, depending what copy of the game you play. (Birthright or Conquest)
What is really nicely done is that the three choruses (and the corresponding verses+bridge) each describe one of the three games. “Birthright”, “Conquest” and “Revelation”. They each pick up the main themes of each game (Birthrighty & love, Conquest & Fate and Silence & Blood.) On the superficial side the song is just really pretty. With a lot of heart wrenching depth beneath it.
Dragon Age Origins – I am the one
Honestly, what Inon Zur did for this soundtrack was magical. I would say this is the perfect fantasy setting soundtrack, regardless of medium. It would have worked on a movie scale as well as it did in game. The entire soundtrack is absolutely brilliant but if I had to pick only one song it would be this one. Every feeling I have about DAO comes up when listening to this.
Dragon Age Inquisition – Trespasser DLC Lost Elf Theme
This is another “holds a special place in my heart” piece. Solas was the canon love interest for my Lavellan playthrough (which was also my first playthrough) and damn it if this romance didn’t break my heart. Especially this scene here. Everything about it, especially his long explanations and that last kiss… Emotional me showed up again and is still not really over this. I had so much to complain about DAI. Still do actually. There is little that I actually like as it is in this game. But the Trespasser DLC was a delight that made me happy and angry at the same time because why on earth couldn’t the entire game have been more like this? It wouldn’t have fixed everything but it would still be better than what it is now. But anyways – the soundtrack was amazing.
Fallout 4 – Main Theme
Inon Zur keeps on being on of my favourite soundtrack composers. Every time he does an OST the music just connects me intimately to the game and what he did for Fallout 4 was no different. From the moment they released the main theme, way ahead of the game I was enthralled and the rest of the soundtrack didn’t let me down once.
And last but not least: I have a playlist with all of the above mentioned plus a few additional pieces I like here if anyone wants to listen to all of them in a row.
And of course, if you have favourites that are not on my list put them in the comments! I love seeing what other people like.