November is here, and that means all the 10-ton AAA’s have already shown up to snag your holiday money. Fortunately, they’re all sporting some quality music which makes writing this article a lot easier. Surprisingly, the number of indie games with great music is also super high this month. Check out our picks of the best game music of November 2016:
Watch Dogs 2
While one of the main keys to being cool is not trying too hard, Watch Dogs 2 proves to be the exception to that rule. Cool hackers with cool haircuts, cool outfits, and cool graphic design skills are accompanied by a very cool soundtrack from Warp/GOOD Music artist Hudson Mohawk. HudMo’s skittery beats and start stop style set him apart from the average dubstep-influenced DJ, and the militant snare drums and skittery rhythms contrast nicely with the digital piano and strings. Check out his 2009 release Butter if you like what you hear.
Pokémon Sun & Moon
“Team Skull Leader Guzma Battle Music”
Minako Adachi, Go Ichinose, Junichi Masuda, Hitomi Sato, Tomoaki Oga, Hideaki Kuroda
Pokémon is such an institution with such recognizable themes that it’s easy to forget there’s a lot of great new tunes tucked away in each game. The fuzzy, foreboding sound of the Team Skull songs in Sun and Moon are great, while the vocal adlibs remind us of Jet Set Radio. Their anime hip hop costumes and weirdo leader only make them better.
Owlboy is the product of almost 10 years of development, which shows in its stunning spritework and polished Metroidvania style gameplay. The soundtrack is equally excellent, a beautiful mix of strings, keys, and ambient soundscapes that really separates itself from the average classical instrumentation soundtrack. Check out the composer’s Bandcamp for more.
“With Friendship & Peace”
Jim Guthrie, JJ Ipsen
The much-beloved coaster simulator Planet Coaster officially launched after a long pre-release and it’s got an extremely pleasant soundtrack to go with it. If I was feeling snarkier I’d accuse it of sounding like something from a Kickstarter pitch video, but it’s tough to resist to unrelenting happiness on display. Jim Guthrie, of Human Highway fame, has this kind of super upbeat guitar work down to a total science and it shows. Perfect for those mornings when you’re surrounded by cartoon birds and flowers on your jaunt to the candy factory.
Final Fantasy XV
“Stand Your Ground (Battle Theme)”
I won’t lie, I’m not super taken with the FFXV soundtrack yet, but I’m sure a series fan would throw a rock at me if I didn’t include it, so here’s a track. There’s no faulting the OST’s quality. It’s fully orchestrated, masterfully produced and engineered. But none of the tracks have really grabbed me yet. Hopefully, I’ll warm up to it over time, but I’m clearly in the minority here given the massive number of plays on YouTube.
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization
Ihara Shu, Usami Hiroshi
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Bandai Namco games have consistently good soundtracks. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization’s OST nails the classic JRPG sound with a clean blend of digital sounds mixed with the more traditional strings, choruses, and horns. “Battle #5” is a nice high tempo combat song, perfect for adding some pressure for when you’re browsing your inventory wondering whether or not you really want to use that healing potion.
Mega Man 2 (NES Classic Edition)
“Dr. Wily’s Castle”
We’re cheating here, but the super popular NES Classic Edition/NES Mini is chock full of classic games and tunes. We could have gone with Metroid, or Ninja Gaiden, or Super Mario Bros. 3, but we had to settle for “Dr. Wily’s Castle” from Mega Man 2. It’s nice being spoiled for choice.
Did we miss any of your favorites from this month’s releases? Let us know @getfandom on Twitter by using #NotoriousBGM! (And a special thanks to VGMDB for help identifying some of the Japanese composers!)