Top Tier: With music as our guiding light, pt. 3

April 9, 2012

Check out parts one and two of this feature here.

So you don’t know where to start when it comes to video game music? No problem! Let this listener’s guide give you a brief tour of the aural confections that could be filling your ears at this very moment, and this is only a small taste! Treat it as a jump start to more exploration.

Shadow of the Colossus

Never has there been a more exciting symphonic soundtrack for a video game. From exploring the strange, vacant world of the colossi to taking on the behemoths themselves, there is a appropriately-themed song to accompany each experience. Some of the most powerful music in the game is less than a minute long too! Now that is impressive!

Recommended listening: Demise of the Ritual, Lakeside, Revived Power

Persona 3

You’ve got to hand it to the Persona team. They know how craft a stylish game. The soundtrack for this game is slick, and the swankest tracks are the ones with vocals. The voice can be a powerful tool, and in Persona 3 it really brings out that idea of youth. It’s honestly a surprise to me at this point to see that so few games try to capture the essence of the modern world like these ones do. (Well, aside from all of the magic and demons.)

Recommended listening: Changing Seasons, Deep Breath Deep Breath, When the Moon’s Reaching Out Stars

Street Fighter III: Third Strike

Street Fighter III is an odd beast in its entirety. As if replacing the loveable cast of II with a new pack of strange pugilists wasn’t enough, they took a radically different approach to the music as well. The end result was awe-inspiring. Not wanting gamers to get lethargic, the soundtrack is riddled with tinges of drum & bass style tunes and chipper dance floor beats.

Recommended listening: Beats in My Head (Elena’s Theme), Spunky (Makoto’s Stage), You Blow My Mind (Dudley’s Stage)

Donkey Kong Country series

Each of the original three Donkey Kong Country games had a rocking soundtrack, and I could recommend about a dozen songs from each.  Each world had beautiful, jaw-dropping music to accompany it, and it was all varied. There were soft songs for the underwater segments, drum-driven jungle beats and even a little funk for the more eclectically inclined. It’s super-memorable music because it’s fun.

Recommended listening: Jungle Groove (DKC), Rockface Rumble (DKC3), Stickerbrush Symphony (DKC2)

Mass Effect series

Now here is a soundtrack worthy of a space epic. If there is one thing that didn’t change from the original title to the latest, it’s the quality of the music. A lot of these tracks have a cinematic feel to them that stimulate memories of very specific events, and they tend to appeal to the more emotional of gamers.

Recommended listening: Leaving Earth (ME3), Suicide Mission (ME2), Uncharted Worlds (ME)

What are your favorite game soundtracks? Let us know in the comments!