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Top 5 Modern Video Game Soundtracks

They Remain Eternal Inside the Hearts (and Ears) of Gamers

With the Game Awards looming, it’s fair to say that fans will find themselves subjected to a visual feast in terms of sneak peaks, announcement trailers, as well as the celebration of the industry’s greatest accomplishments over the course of the year. However, there’s also another factor that has slowly started to become a staple of the show – the live performances. Given how a game’s soundtrack has become just as synonymous with gamers as the protagonists, it’s only fair that they get the attention they deserve. While we doubt we will hear any of these modern masterpieces at the awards, it’s heartwarming to know that their melodies are bound to endure for decades to come.

#5: “The Elder Scrolls” series (2002-)

This powerhouse RPG franchise made the leap to consoles with “Morrowind,” and its music was an equivalent step forward for the series. Composer Jeremy Soule’s use of stirring strings and booming percussion matches the epic quality of each game. As the gameplay in the series continued to progress, Soule matched the developers’ work. For “Skyrim,” he added a 30-man choir, which he layered 3 times to sound like 90 voices.

#4: “Portal 2” (2011)

The soundtrack for this puzzle-platformer contains both a score and individual songs, all of which perfectly compliment the inventive game. Composer Mike Morasky created a score which is generated in real time based on gameplay, leading to music which takes over 70,000 years to repeat itself! Indie rockers The National and Jonathan Coulton wrote the songs, both of which help to establish the game’s powerful emotions.

#3: “Red Dead Redemption” (2010)

“Red Dead” did an incredible job of establishing its Western setting, and the score by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson had no small part in its success. They used instruments found in cowboy films and consulted traditional Western musicians to create music that fit the title. Nothing screams Wild West quite like hearing a fiddle and jaw harp as you ride on horseback carrying a revolver.

#2: “Shadow of the Colossus” (2005)

Colossal would be a good way to describe Kow Otani’s score for this game. Though the epic orchestral score is only heard during cut scenes and when you encounter the titular giants, the music manages to be just as impressive as the Colossi themselves. Do yourself a favour and blast this theme while taking on the 3rd Colossus. I now know what the next Godzilla film needs to include.

#1: “Bastion” (2011)

Modern video game music has come a long way since the early days of beeps and boops, but this action-RPG’s achievements stand alone. Composer Darren Korb describes the sound as “acoustic frontier trip hop,” and the bizarre hybrid of bluegrass and techno is perfect for the game’s trippy, self reflexive tale. By the way, Joss Whedon fans, does this tune remind you of anything?

Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Worst Pieces of Video Game Music.

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