I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’s been too long since we’ve listened to more awesome soundtracks to some of our favorite games. Below I’ve grabbed a trio of recently released games that I feel should be examined in greater detail. Crank the volume as we’re going to dive into an all new Soundtrack Central.
This is a franchise that’s near and dear to me. I can remember growing up with it in those now mythical places called arcades. Perhaps it was the goofy characters, wild combos or overly excited announcer which drew me in, but it was the memorable music that really kept me playing. It’s that aspect of the new game which was most eager to see play out. Thankfully, composer Mick Gordon was more than up to the challenge and as it turns out, already a fan of the franchise only helped craft the score.
Drawing inspiration from the past games in the franchise, Mick was not only able to create diverse, interesting, and memorable music, he did so in a way that fully embraces the past while still managing to tread new ground. Killer Instinct’s soundtrack is fully dynamic, as the action defines how complex or simple the song is, Ultra combos are timed with the background music, and samples from the previous games are woven into each theme. Glacius’s theme is the best example of this, providing an interesting sound of electronic beats and bass, but it manages to weave in his themes from the past two games around the 1:27 mark. Sadira is the new character of the group so he was unable to tap into a previous sound for her. Featuring a more heavy and aggressive guitar sound, it fits well with her underground cavern level. In the end, I find the entire soundtrack to be a feast for the ears and like the previous games, it’s hugely memorable.
Batman: Arkham Origins
A game I didn’t expect to see on here, but honestly, it’s well deserved. WB Montreal and Christopher Drake played off of the “Christmas Eve” aspect of the story to add a creepy edge to familiar Christmas music. Want an example of what I’m talking about? There’s no better song than the Joker’s theme as it’s a dark sounding song punctuated by a familiar Christmas song and sleigh bells. For those of you that have played the game, you may recognize the Arkham Origins Suite as the music you hear in the menus. It manages to seamlessly blend multiple tracks together in a truly wonderful way. Hallucinations mixes up the formula a bit and presents something that could fit really well into a horror game. It’s downright terrifying. The soundtrack overall feels like it’s ripped right from the Nolan Batman movies and injected with holiday vibes. It’s wonderful, dark, and completely Batman.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
It should not be a surprise to any of you to see another Assassin’s Creed game listed here as the franchise carries a tradition of having strong music. The same is true for Black Flag. Many of the songs sound like they belong in a Pirates of a Caribbean movie, but since this is a game about pirates, ships, and the ocean, it’s a perfect fit. The best example of this can be heard in ‘Lay Aboard Lads’ with a sweeping orchestra, booming percussion, and a blazing tempo straight out of a Hans Zimmer epic. In many of the songs (especially The High Seas and In This World or the One Below), the violin seems to be the featured instrument and really pushes home the “pirate jig” action sort of sound you’d expect Many of the songs feature a pace more focused on the action side of things, but all of them will make you feel that you really are sailing on a pirate vessel.