2017 has been a great year already for games and equally as impressive musically. I chose a few of my favorites for you to check out and added my thoughts on each below their respective video. If you’d like to share your thoughts on these or other tracks I’d love to see your feedback in the comments below.
‘Main Menu Theme’ – Mass Effect Andromeda – John Paesano
When I first heard Mass Effect: Andromeda was taking place in a brand new galaxy, I was excited for a Star Trek-esque exploration of mind-blowing new worlds and species. Instead we got the same races from last game, generic bad guys, and somewhat interesting cat people. Unlimited possibility for creation and they gave us aliens that looked like humans in suits. That’s understandable for live-action but a huge disappointment for a video game that could literally create anything.
Hearing this track was the last time I was excited about the game. The slow and thoughtful piano, slowly exploring with ample ‘space’ in between notes with ambient sci-fi sounds and the low thud of percussion sounding like the heartbeat of the galaxy. Star Trek horns gently rise and circle around as if orbiting the track.
Beautiful, elegant, powerful, and everything I love about Mass Effect.
‘Loneliness’ – Gravity Rush 2 – Kohei Tanaka
The original Gravity Rush OST was also spectacular, but was more melodically driven. The sequel wanders a bit more but cuts deeper in the process. This track immediately pulls at my heart strings with its opening string line. Sad and lonely, clinging to a quivering tense line of hope. The song seems to soar and fall apart at the same time, glimpses of light streaming through the fog.
Tanaka is a star composer in Japan, producing work not only for games, but anime, film, and television. I also highly recommend ‘Morning Market of Portraio’ at 56:07
‘Life in Ruins’ – Breath of the Wild – Manaka Kataoka & Yasuaki Iwata
I love this soundtrack. It’s quite a departure from the strong melodies usually populating this franchise, but the ambient nature and exploratory piano fit the open-world adventure perfectly.
The main body of the piece hints boldly at classic Zelda themes without fully resolving. Considering Link has awoken from an extended smooth to help rebuild the land and purge it of evil, this choice fits extremely well.
‘Grandma (Destruction)’ – NeiR:Automata – Keiichi Okabe & Keigo Hoashi
A generic ‘epic’ build gives way to achingly gorgeous chord choices that build and fall with dramatic recklessness. This building sequence dominates the track with a singular vision, making me imagine a hero with a singular goal and a willingness to sacrifice anything to accomplish it.
If you have any favorite tracks from this year I’d love to see them in the comments below.