In most cases, a soundtrack can completely make or break a video game. As we all know, if a game is not dripping with immersion, a lot of the time its not worth playing. Whether the music: builds tension, gives a sense of pace or just keeps the brain ticking. It can be argued that a soundtrack is essential to make a game truly great. This is why we have selected our top 5 favourite original game soundtracks especially for your reading pleasure.
For this one, we are only including soundtracks produced specifically for the titles themselves. Meaning games such as GTA V and Fallout, although great games, will not be included.
5. Portal 2
Composed primarily by Mike Morasky, the Portal 2 Soundtrack has reached number 5 on our list for many reasons. First of all, the glitchy techno influenced style is the perfect companion for the fast paced game involving throwing oneself through portals placed on walls into bouncing goo etc. The music also complements the puzzle style gameplay the portal games are known for. Making for hours and hours of play in one sitting without the effects of boredom which can occur when playing games for such lengths of time. And of course, we can’t forget the earworm at the climax of the score, “Want You Gone” by Johnathon Coulton which is incredibly reminiscent of “Still Alive” by the same composer from the original Portal game. It’s the songs such as these that make the game memorable and reach number 5 in our list.
4. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
For any of you who have played Skyrim, you’ll be with us on this one. This soundtrack is a complete classic, for more reasons than one. Dragonborn, the opener, is known for the triumphant vocals in the games own language (Dragon tongue) and perfectly sets the scene for the slow burning, adventure based gameplay set to come. In a whopping 4 disks, the Skyrim soundtrack has everything you expect from the music of an Elder Scrolls game. Such as Medieval sounding horns and almost mystical sounding woodwind instruments. All coming together to form one of the most immersive soundtracks there is, and most ever will be. And for these reasons, it reaches number 4 on our list.
3. Hotline Miami
Upon release, Hotline Miami received critical acclaim from a variety of sources such as IGN and Eurogamer, which coincidentally gave the game a 10/10. Taking influence from Nicholas Winding Refn’s movie Drive, and cop shows of the 80’s… The music of Hotline Miami puts a modern spin on such influences to create a sense of immersion unheard of in the indie game world. Heavy and deep bass notes pound your ear drums and you run from room to room stomping heads (again similar to Drive’s elevator scene). It’s music such as this that adds layer after layer to the rage-quit style game and make it incredibly fun to play. The soundtrack for Hotline Miami is one of the rare ones which, because of the production value, is even fun to listen to outside of the game. And in fact I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a tune or two played on a night out. Meaning Hotline Miami OST deserves number 3.
2. Half Life 2
Composed by Kelly Bailey, the hour long soundtrack to Half Life 2 seems to take influence from glitchy techno artists such as Aphex Twin. Making for an extremely catchy, immersive, and energetic score which is the perfect accompaniment for the senses of adventure and isolation that the player feels in game. The opening track “Hazardous Environments” is extremely iconic to the PC gaming audience as it has been used as the Valve Corporation ‘jingle’ (if you can call it a jingle) since Half Life 2 was conceived in 2004. In the years since, Half Life 2 has set an amazing precedent for the first person shooter story-orientated genre and is in fact widely renowned as the greatest game ever. Despite controversy over the long awaited third instalment in the games franchise. However, it can be argued that the game would be nowhere near as good if not for the intriguing soundtrack that accompanies it. This one holds a dear place in my heart as it is Half Life 2 that is to blame for my love of video games today. And for that reason, atop of many more, that it reaches the second place in our list.
1. DOOM 2016
Now, this one is special. Mick Gordon has truly created a masterpiece for Bethesda Softworks and Id studios. Filled with eardrum tearing, heart pounding, face melting and hair pulling guitars. The 2016 soundtrack is a modern work of art that puts an amazing spin on the original. Songs such as “Rip and Tear” and “BFG Division” make for a memorable in game experience that leaves your teeth gritting for more demon slaying action. Pieced together with the extremely fast paced nature of the gameplay this one surely deserves the top spot. If it were up to me, DOOM 2016 OST would get places 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5. However, we can’t play like that so Mick Gordon will have to make do with with the top spot.