Video games have always had excellent music. No matter how far back you go in the timeline, you’ll probably find a game that had memorably catchy tunes. We all have at least one video game song or score in our music library.
The video games that came out last year had some great music. It doesn’t matter if you need music for studying, driving, or conquering the world; 2014 had a video game soundtrack perfect for it. So get ready to create a new playlist!
Frankly, Destiny‘s score is more of a fun adventure than the game itself was upon release. 2014’s FPSMMORPG had none other than Paul McCartney working on it, though he was one of four people who are credited. All four of them have my gratitude, because this beautiful music sets the stage for the sort of grand-scale science fiction story the game promised to be. I could drive to this music all day.
Favorite track: “End of the Line”
I’m a sucker for games that tell most of their story through music and action, rather than dialogue. Child of Light is characterized by its ethereality, in art and music. Like its fellow Ubisoft release Valiant Hearts (which gets an honorable mention), Child of Light‘s sound is very melancholy and wistful, even on the triumphant tracks. It makes good background music for reading or relaxation.
Favorite track: “Hymn of Light”
This one is technically a 2013 release for non-American gamers. I’m putting it in because I listened to it in 2014, and I think any year is a good time to listen to this game’s overstuffed soundtrack. Brimming with energy, the score of Bravely Default does nothing by halves. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pretty tune befitting a music box or a soprano saxophone leitmotif for special attacks; it is over the top and great fun.
Favorite track: “Love’s Vagrant”
Available on Amazon.
Pleasant soundtracks are part and parcel of the long-running Nancy Drew series, and October’s Labyrinth of Lies might have the breeziest and most relaxing of them all. The plucky string tunes sound as though they were played on the lyre, which fits the Greek setting. The occasional vocals give it a little more weight than the usual adventure game soundtrack. This is music to stroll to, both in the game and out of it.
Favorite track: “Resigned”
Available on HerInteractive.com
Like any lady, Bayonetta brings only the best music when she’s out for a brawl. Bayonetta 2 is a spectacle and it has the sound to go with it. Much like its lead character, this game’s score has attitude. Big choir chants are punctuated by chipper battle music, and that piano makes me want to get up and dance. How can you beat a game that calls its remix of a classic song the “Climax Edit?”
Favorite track: “Tomorrow is Mine”
Operatic or cinematic soundtracks are all well and good, but the tracks I remember from my childhood as an SNES gamer are the cheery or epic chiptunes that played during major battles. Shovel Knight is retro in all things, and the soundtrack is no exception. It’s perfect workout music, strange as that might sound. It was composed by Jake “virt” Kaufman, a chiptune master.
Favorite track: “Fighting with All of Our Might”
Available on Bandcamp.
This game’s soundtrack took me by surprise. I almost paid more attention to it than I did to the game. You want glory? You want bombast? Original Sin has it, and in spades. Choirs are the sound of choice, and they make everything sound timelessly beautiful. It’s a meditative soundtrack, though playing it while working will make your work feel like an epic quest.
Favorite track: “Divine Transcendence”
Available on composer Kirill Pokrovsky’s website.
Hum it with me, Red! When a game has a button for humming, it’s taking its soundtrack seriously. There are at least two versions of every song that I could find, one orchestral and one with humming. It’s a techno sound with a hint of jazz, and I find it to be good driving music. Supergiant put the entire soundtrack on Youtube, though they recommend playing the game first to really understand how the music and story are connected.
Favorite track: “We All Become”
Available on Bandcamp.
This soundtrack may have been composed by an orchestra, but it still sounds like a group of musicians playing in a tavern. I might be crazy, but the music of Hearthstone reminds me of the kinds of themes I hear in casual games all the time. It exists more to give you a good feeling than to pump you up, and it certainly succeeded at that! There are hints here and there of a more epic sound, but for the most part the songs are fun and cheerful.
Favorite track: “Two Rogues, One Mark”
Available on Battle.net
Dragon Age: Inquisition [No Longer Available]
The Dragon Age series has always had what I consider to be fairly serviceable music. Not as good as the Mass Effect soundtracks, but not bad. Inquisition is a cut above its predecessors in many ways, including in its music. Everything from grandiose cutscene music to tavern songs is here. This is what it sounds like when Bioware pulls out what few stops were left in the organ.
Favorite track: “Journey to Skyhold”
Which video game soundtracks from 2014 are you listening to in 2015? Think I left any out? Let me know in the comments!
Image Credits: Gamepad and headphones Via Shutterstock