What soundtracks in a game really hit you?

Inspireless Llama

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Dec 20, 2019
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Hey guys,

I've seen 2 soundtrack topics already here, 1 about recommendations and one about custom soundtracks, but none about which soundtrack did fit into a game perfectly.

For me, of course the Witcher 3 soundtrack was absolutely excellent. But also in a very old game, I found the soundtrack of Rome: Total War really really good and totally fit into the game.


But also for those who played Rise of the Tomb Raider, the last song in that game I found really really good and fitting.


What are soundtracks you guys found prefectly?
 
If I am going to pick a sountrack that perfectly represents the game it's a part of then it has to be Silent Hill. The music design for those games is brilliant and sounds just as lost and tortured as the poor souls trapped within its nightmare world.

I am also very much a fan of Robert Holmes, composer for the Gabriel Knight series and think his style fit the games perfectly and helped define their place in gaming history.

Nier: Automata's soundtrack was perfect for the game. While it doesn't seem to fit the action oriented aspects, the music was perfect for the existential themes found in the game.
 
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Feb 1, 2020
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My favorite soundtrack is probably Hollow Knight. It's so vivid and fits the mood so well, just a very well orchestrated score with a lot of range. Lotta cool leitmotif stuff that make it even deeper.

I'm playing the Outer Worlds right now and I think it has a really fun and unique sound that feels different than other sci-fi music.
 
Jan 16, 2020
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I still listen to a lot of soundtracks for games. Mostly Indie games or remixes of them.

i listen to a lot of james paddock's soundtracks, especially the back to saturn x soundtrack, as well as the odd adventures of square one.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJZe4SeiEx0&list=PLIquCqbH2phw6LE8Q5Sv1bcoF8U1yR28g&index=84


Recent indie games i listen to include chroma squad and brigador. The latter i turn on when i'm at work writing a report or something tedious.

Lastly one that has recently struck a real cord with me is Valley. The one that really sticks out was track 14 - thundering charge. In the game you ran along rails and hurtled through tunnels at break neck speed whilst jump vast chasms to get to your destination.


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4i7WP8s004&list=PLIquCqbH2phw6LE8Q5Sv1bcoF8U1yR28g&index=84&t=0s


Kudos to the devs for making a brilliant game and an awesome soundtrack.
 

Frindis

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Gabriel Knight2: The Beast Within [GoG].
(NB, when you open this particular track, do NOT look at the picture above the track. Just open the link and listen without looking. The picture above the song contains spoiler for the game) is fantastic and one of the high points in the game for me. It really captures the gothic and eery atmosphere of the game.

The one after at 47:18 is also quite memorable for me and at a very emotional point in the game.

For anyone not played this game, it is still VERY good and works on Win 10. One of the best stories/settings you will find in a game and with an excellent cast.
 
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Inspireless Llama

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Dec 20, 2019
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Gabriel Knight2: The Beast Within [GoG].
(NB, when you open this particular track, do NOT look at the picture above the track. Just open the link and listen without looking. The picture above the song contains spoiler for the game) is fantastic and one of the high points in the game for me. It really captures the gothic and eery atmosphere of the game.

The one after at 47:18 is also quite memorable for me and at a very emotional point in the game.

For anyone not played this game, it is still VERY good and works on Win 10. One of the best stories/settings you will find in a game and with an excellent cast.
I like it!

I actually forgot a soundtrack in my original post haha. The Devil May Cry soundtrack actually convinced me to buy the game.



 
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One video game soundtrack that stands out to me in particular was that of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. The game takes place in a fantastical, twisted version of 8th century Britannia as it was occupied by the Norsemen. Senua, who suffers from psychosis, is on a quest to save the soul of her deceased lover Dilion from the wrath of the goddess Hela. The game is basically a visual representation of Senua's hallucinations and for a lot of the game she is terrified and gripping with her fears.

There are a few more empowering moments, however, perhaps none more so than when Senua is crossing the bridge to Helheim. She is being encouraged by the voice of her father, telling her:

"And you wanted to surrender? Abandon him to find peace with the gods? No. The darkness won’t allow it. So you will walk into the lair of the beast, look it in the eye and you will go to war.

This is your mission. This is your quest. There is nothing else left.

The gods made you a warrior for a reason! It’s your calling."
Then the bridge sequence starts and you're fighting off hellish Norsemen as these thundering drums and a powerful viking chant are washing over you. I got chills down my spine from the very first beat of the drums, never once missing a single sword stroke or parry for the entire section of gameplay. It was such a powerful moment that I wanted to be perfect for Senua, and the accompanying music is so incredibly powerful and stimulating!

Just listening to it on a soundtrack won't really do it justice, but make sure you turn your sound system's bass up to 11 before you press play. It's invigorating.

 

Sarafan

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My most recent pick would be probably Tyranny. Lots of great music.

An all time pick would be probably Heroes of Might & Magic 4. The soundtrack fits the game just perfectly.
 
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jpishgar

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The top of my list is Enderal.

The stellar soundtrack and writing pushed this game from Skyrim mod to full-fledged game better in many regards than a lot of exceptional, big money AAA titles.


It haunts me. In a good way? I wrote a review for it a while back, but it's best committed to and played through without any expectation. Go into it expecting a fun little adventure, but with the caveat that it may ruin you for gaming if you find yourself unable to resist finishing it. I'll be here for mutual support if you do.

Second on my list is Third World War from the old Sega CD.


It's dated now, but back then, this was the height of geopolitical simulation. The music absolutely encapsulates all the emotions of global superpowers at each others throats. The satellite laser strike piece is particularly awesome.
 

Zloth

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Final Fantasy 7 - and Square knows it, too. The original game's songs are featuring heavily in their trailers. There's plenty of people that will choke up when you play this:

The Elder Scrolls theme is another - and Bethesda knows it:

Or Saints Row 3's ending. They've captured Shaundi, Viola, and Burt Reynolds and they're about to blow them up! You've got to drive across town to save them! OR you can go after Killbane, who's been your arch enemy through most of the game. "I Need a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler starts up. Well, I guess that makes that decision. Abandoning your gals while that's playing is hormonally impossible.
 

Zoid

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Video game soundtracks are my jam so excuse me while I go down a rabbit hole...
For me, of course the Witcher 3 soundtrack was absolutely excellent. But also in a very old game, I found the soundtrack of Rome: Total War really really good and totally fit into the game.
I second both of these. The music of Witcher 3 is so fitting because of the care that Marcin Przybyłowicz, Mikołaj Stroiński, and Percival took in creating a sound that would evoke Sapkowski's world. They used a variety of authentic medieval instruments like the Rebec, Suka, and Gadulka and took inspiration from Polish folk music. It resulted in a unique sound and it's no wonder that Belousova took inspiration from it when scoring the Netflix show.

Wow you're really taking me back with the Rome: Total War soundtrack. I spend hours listening to that. Lost Souls still stabs right to my heart in memory of all the fine soldiers I lost.
The Elder Scrolls theme is another - and Bethesda knows it
Jeremy Soule's work on the Elder Scrolls series has made a big impact. Morrowind's title song Nerevar Rising became the theme for the series, being re-imagined as the Reign of the Septims for Oblivion and Dragonborn for Skyrim. Though I can talk for ages about why it's a great theme, my favorite music in Elder Scrolls series comes from the quieter and more atmospheric moments. King and Country perfectly captures the feeling of stepping out into a vast new world. The Peace of Akatosh and Solitude are achingly beautiful and pensive accompaniments to those moments of stillness under the stars of Cyrodiil or Skyrim. These soundtracks are special.
The one that comes immediately to my mind is FTL. it suits the aesthetic so well, and I'm a sucker for that kind of bleepy electronic music anyway. Stellaris also has excellent ambient music that fits the atmosphere perfectly.
Andreas Waldetoft and Bert Meyer did a great job on Stellaris's grand, space opera soundtrack. It's funny you mention it in the same post as FTL (also a great soundtrack btw), because the track titled Faster than Light is one of the stand-out tracks of the Stellaris soundtrack to me. That mix of full orchestra, synths, and church organ creates an awesome sci-fi vibe that takes clear inspiration from Zimmer's work on Interstellar.
I've seen 2 soundtrack topics already here, 1 about recommendations and one about custom soundtracks, but none about which soundtrack did fit into a game perfectly.
I've been trying to think about the topic of this thread. It's an interesting question. There's lots of video game music that I like, but if we're evaluating how well music fits into a given game then we have to consider how well it serves the game's setting, tone, story, and action. Some of my submissions would be:

The Halo soundtracks by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, naturally. These are iconic and as a big fan of the games I'm sure bias is creeping in here, but I think they fit the games perfectly. The main Halo theme is one of the best action themes in a video game. One Final Effort from Halo 3 is just so darn epic, from the clarity of those recognizable opening chords and E dorian piano arpeggios, to the driving drums and baseline with super bold octave leaps, to the motion and rhythm in the strings. Go back to Halo 2's Mjolnir Mix, cut Steve Vai loose, and tell me this theme isn't the embodiment of action. There's the more reflective and emotional side too, though. Take the Rain theme from Halo 3: ODST's Deference for Darkness, or Halo 3's Tribute, or Halo Reach's New Alexandria. The Halo soundtracks serve all of the moments in the games really, really well.

While I'm on the sci-fi train, how about Jack Wall and Sam Hulick's Mass Effect soundtracks? Those synth sounds defined the atmosphere of the games. Can you even imagine exploring the galaxy and scanning distant planets without Uncharted Worlds playing in the background?

I'll mention just one more because this post is getting super long. Bo En's Snipper Clips soundtrack! If we're talking about music that fits seamlessly into a game, this is a great example. It's reactive and weaves the same playful themes through a variety of styles and instrumentations based on the level you are playing.
 

McStabStab

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Inspireless Llama

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For River - To the Moon.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QfPDmzpC2Q


I was playing this game at a time when my Grandad was slowly (couple of years) dying from quite a rare brain condition. (I know, what a terrible game to play in an already sad situation), This song just gets to me every time.
I always find it interesting to feel how big of an impact a song can have when you're in an emotional situation. I have some songs too that always will remember me of a period in my life and I will relive that mood somewhat. So I totally understand how a song can get to you every time!


I've been trying to think about the topic of this thread. It's an interesting question. There's lots of video game music that I like, but if we're evaluating how well music fits into a given game then we have to consider how well it serves the game's setting, tone, story, and action.
Yeah, this. For me, there's also alot of game music I enjoy, but it doesn't always feel like it's in place. That's what I like about the Rise of the Tomb Raider song I posted. In my opinion (and I think it's also an opinion on how perfect music fits) it fits very well with the story of the game. Also, the song was made specially for the game I believe :p.

For me most of the time it are specific songs though. I found the intro song for Borderlands 2 really fitting, but the rest of the music in the game mostly annoyed me so I turned it off.

Edit: I should add that it was the non-vocal music during gameplay that got on my nerves

On an off-topic note which I felt like sharing, one of the weirdest experiences I've had so far was with Borderlands 2 and listening to my own music. It happened that I was in the main menu of the game and the main theme of Dishonored 2 played. I didn't see that coming, it was so weird!
 
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Zoid

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OK, wow. I like lots of different music outside of games, but 80% of the time I don't fully register the music outside of the moment in game.

Thanks for the insight, great to see someone really enthusiastic about it.
Video game music is one of my favorite subjects to be enthusiastic about!
Yeah, this. For me, there's also alot of game music I enjoy, but it doesn't always feel like it's in place. That's what I like about the Rise of the Tomb Raider song I posted. In my opinion (and I think it's also an opinion on how perfect music fits) it fits very well with the story of the game. Also, the song was made specially for the game I believe :p.

For me most of the time it are specific songs though. I found the intro song for Borderlands 2 really fitting, but the rest of the music in the game mostly annoyed me so I turned it off.
The Borderlands stylized intro credits jam started with Cage the Elephant's Ain't no Rest for the Wicked in Borderlands 1 and I think it's a great way to set the tone for the games. If we're looking at vocal tracks written for specific games then Still Alive and Want You Gone forever have my heart.
 
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Vindictus has some pretty epic soundtracks on it that fit the game like a glove. Most of them are pretty spot-on for whatever activity you're doing or the environment you're in, but there are a few standouts for me.

One is during the raid God of Death, where after you and your party have traveled through what is essentially Hell to save the soul of your friend you finally get to Cromm Cruaich, the god of death. A hectic battle with the final boss of the second season on a platform floating down a river of lava ensues, and the music during the battle always gets me. Nothing says "I'm the final boss" like this theme:



Another one that stands out is during a raid where you end up fighting one of your oldest (NPC) friends in the game, and the soundtrack for it captures both the tragedy and the action really well:



Then there's a fight against Brigit, the blacksmith of the gods. The battle takes place in an arena high in the sky, surrounded by large sculptures with a giant winged lady trying to kill you, and comes at you very hard and fast. At first you think she isn't playing around, then she stops playing around. To me this track always makes me really feel like I'm doing battle atop Mount Olympus (it's not, but it kinda looks like it could be) and just fits the fight perfectly:



I could really go on but three from just a single game is probably enough.
 
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Jan 19, 2020
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Jeremy Soule's work on the original "Guild Wars Trilogy + Nightfall".

Chance Thomas' work in "The Lord of the Rings Online".

"To The Moon" which Dan already mentioned. This game means a lot to me.

"No Man's Sky" ambient background music created by 65daysofstatic and the music team at Hello Games. 65days has an album on Spotify. It doesn't capture the dynamic nature of the "in game" music, which is partially programmatically generated, but it does create the atmosphere.
View: https://open.spotify.com/album/5nvkeEgntNSvMJn5V1Mgkp?si=WRZa32aRQ5i1YkHB1pS3dg
 
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