It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these and with April almost behind us at this point, why not take a look back at a number of titles that have already released this year featuring really memorable tracks. It’s been a really great year for game music so far and I’ve selected some strong candidates from the past few months. Crank the volume, lets dive in.
DmC: Devil May Cry
The first major game to hit in 2013, DmC saw a reboot of sorts to this fan favorite franchise. Along with that, Ninja Theory tapped two different artists to compose the soundtrack. Noisia, an electronic trio, and Combichrist, an “aggrotech” (yes, I had to look that up) band specializing in aggressively heavy rock/electronic style music. Surprisingly it fits extremely well with the game and the combat scenarios that Dante and Vergil find themselves in. The music actually lifts the combat and gameplay up providing that extra amount of energy to go hand in hand with chaining attacks together. Interestingly enough, the Noisia tracks are more “club” sounding pulsing with energy, beats, and bass. Devil’s Dalliance really drives this home. On the other end of the spectrum you have Combichrist featuring dark tones, aggressive lyrics, and hard hitting guitars heard best in No Redemption. It’s an interesting mix of sounds and one that works surprisingly well to the game’s benefit.
The most impressive thing about the BioShock Infinite score is that Garry Schyman managed to create a memorable and dynamic score that feels familiar to his work with BioShock without completely reusing the same sound. I have no idea how he pulled it off, but it’s a wonderful treat for gamers and their ears. The sound manages to carry the feeling of early 20th century American patriotism and frankly, I have no idea how he pulled that off either. The soundtrack works hand and hand with the gameplay, diving home the time period you’re in and ultimately creates a better game because of it. Familiar elements remain such as the screeching violins and layered sound of the various instruments as it draws upon the unknown and fear of the original BioShock. A good example can be heard by the track “The Songbird”. Schyman then takes the familiar and updates it for Infinite by adding other elements like the piano as heard through Welcome to Columbia. Overall, the soundtrack is stellar and highly recommended, but to start, check out the four below.
This one came out of no where for me, but the game and it’s memorable soundtrack blew me out of the water. The game centers around a Luchador superhero battling the undead to rescue “El Presidente’s Daughter”. The music feels inspired by a Mariachi Band mixed with electronic elements and comes courtesy of Rom Di Prisco and Peter Chapman. Better yet, the music shifts dynamically when switching between the living and dead worlds. It’s a very cool effect. The best example of the Mariachi tone comes from Santa Luchita with it’s layered trumpets, the song will please your ears greatly. Desierto Caliente is another standout, weaving trumpets and an acoustic guitar over a sort of upbeat track making for one memorable song that won’t soon leave your brain. Forest del Chivo is another favorite of mine mixing a sort of an electronica sound with traditional Latin sounds. For a mix, check out the undead version of the song which alters the sound a bit, keeping the base feel but adding additional effects to change it a bit. Each song features this, which is very cool.