Most games tend to be filled with generic soundtrack ‘action music’, however this means when a soundtrack is good it stands out. In celebration of the Venue Mash Up Edition, I present to you my top five music pieces in gaming. It was hard, there were so many games I wish I could have mentioned. I recommend you listen to them all.
#5. Monster Hunter
I used to watch the opening cinematic for the PSP Monster Hunter games on repeat just to hear the theme. It evokes the glory of combat and adventuring with powerful horns and floating strings, pumping you up to hunt monsters. In a later level, the mid-game boss battle of a game that is solely boss battles, it plays on repeat for the last phase of the fight which tells you ‘You’re the best! This is glory!’ as you die continuously to the monster.
#4. Mass Effect
The Mass Effect games, especially the sequels, have amazing soundtracks throughout. It was hard to choose one piece. Honourable mentions to two’s Suicide Mission and any piece in three’s last act, but the piece that rises above is Leaving Earth. If you’ve played the game you’ll already know it. It functions as the incredibly powerful piece that accompanies the melancholy retreat from earth. Bare piano pieces can be hugely generic but this is successful as it represents the onscreen emotional and physically turmoil. It is, for me, the most successful usage of music to reflect the game.
#3. The Last of Us
Gustavo Santaolalla’s ponderous and creepy soundtrack is at the standards of complexity and emotional evocation of an epic film soundtrack. Mixing and repeating motifs to represent the themes of the game, injecting you with all the story’s emotion is found throughout. The Path- A New Beginning, the end credits piece, reprises motifs of hope and lies, combining them in a post-game emotional kick to keep the moral quandary replaying.
Elder Scrolls games are respected for the quantity of ambient music but the highlight of the soundtrack of each is the theme. Each theme is constructed from the previous three games with different arrangements. It was hard to pick one but I decided to go for the original, Morrowind’s gentle, mystical Nerevar Rising. Although, both are great pieces that represent the game’s world.
At the end of Drake’s fortune there’s a shot of his boat sailing into the sunset as the piece Nate’s Theme begins to play, that I’ll never forget. The harmonising horns and jungle drums scream ‘adventure!’ to the same degree as the Indiana Jones theme, encapsulating in a few minutes the spirit of the whole game. Inclusion in later games also provided a spine-tingling moment.