Welcome to Fandom’s totally subjective list of the best video game music of the month of October 2016! Let’s face it, there are a lot of games out there with great soundtracks that slip through the cracks. That’s still gonna happen, but we’re here to make sure it happens a little less!
To quote Seneca the Younger, 1st-century philosopher “Verily, there are too many games.” The holiday onslaught has officially begun, and between an influx of AAAs and deeply discounted sales, there’s wayyy too much to take in all at once. We can’t help you with that, but we can help you ferret out some of the better music from recently released games. Check out our picks below!
“The Flight of the Pigeon”
Johan Söderqvist and Patrik Andrén
After years of mediocre single player campaigns in Call of Duty and Battlefield, we were all pleasantly surprised to find BF1’s globe-hopping War Stories far exceeded expectations. From Lawrence of Arabia to a tank campaign straight out of the movie Fury, the War Stories felt epic and captured the global nature of WWI. This track is from the game’s best moments, where the player briefly takes control of a pigeon overlooking the carnage of the battlefield.
“Boy Becomes a Man”
Jim Bonney, Jesse Harlin
Mafia III may have stumbled out of the gate with a buggy release, but the game’s story is strong and makes an earnest attempt to tackle some real issues. It also does a nice job nailing the look and feel of a New Orleans-esque city in the late ’60s. The music helps, with some good ol’ fashioned swampy, 4-bar Blues Rock.
Paper Mario: Color Splash
“Rumble with Wendy”
Takeru Kanazaki, Shigemitsu Goto, Fumihiro Isobe
If Nintendo releases a game, you can bet there’s a good song on it somewhere. Color Splash is no exception. While it’s packed with remixes of the classic Mario themes, we’re going a different direction, with this bombastic boss music for Wendy Koopa. Raw acoustic guitar, thundering drums and some weird synth effect that sounds like a cross between a shehnai and bagpipes mix with fun, bassy chorus vocals creating a weird international cowboy feel you’d only find in Japanese game music.
Thumper is a self-described “Rhythm Violence” game, which makes more sense when you play it. As a metal beetle zooming down a tube towards a huge monster face, you’ll put your reactions to the test slamming into walls and jumping over stuff to the rhythm of oppressive, martial drums and scary sounding synths, all in time measures you’d need a mathematician to decipher. In other words, it’s awesome. Best played with VR for maximum sensory overload.
“Fear (Rez Edit)”
As a guy that loves music, games, and especially music games, it’s one of my great shames that I’ve never played Rez. This month’s Rez Infinite will hopefully remedy that. Bask in the early aughts breakbeat-ness of it all. *Cracks open a can of Surge and Heelys down to the mall*
“Scythia – The Atomic Era”
Geoff Knorr, Phil Boucher
Civ VI takes an interesting approach with its soundtrack, giving each civilization a base theme that gradually evolves over time along with the culture. Starting with the Ancient Era, the game establishes a tone, in this case, somber strings for the nomadic Sycthians. The song gets more layered as the civilization evolves, until reaching the Atomic Age endgame, at which point the song introduces synthesizers for that modern touch. Very cool stuff.
Stellaris is a complicated 4x space game from the super popular studio Paradox Interactive. I’m too dumb to understand how to play their games, but I can sure enjoy the synthalicious soundtrack!
Did we miss any of your favorites from this month’s releases? Let us know @getfandom on Twitter by using #NotoriousBGM!
Special thanks to [http://vgmdb.net/db/main.php] VGMDB for help identifying some of the Japanese composers!