What, you didn’t really think I’d let the year end without the Gamer Crash Awards, did you? I know I’ve been gone for nearly half a year, but I’m certainly not one to break tradition.
So with that said, welcome to the 2021 edition of the Gamer Crash Awards! This is the annual event where we celebrate the latest and the greatest over the past year.
As always, I’d like to remind you that I’m just one person with a limited budget and time. I can’t play everything there is out there, so you’ll notice that I may have left some games, even obvious ones, off certain categories. Some games I just haven’t played or gotten around to yet so I can’t rightfully give them an award. It wouldn’t make sense and would be a little fraudulent on my part.
As I’ve said in the past, music is such an integral component of any game. The soundtrack can have a huge impact on the player’s experience. In fact, a really good soundtrack can even enhance the gameplay further, really tying everything together. Thankfully, 2021 had plenty to pick from in the pleasing sounds department.
So, let’s get to it. Here are the nominees:
Deathloop – Tom Salta and Ross Tregenza
Another year, another Bethesda game makes the list. This year it’s Deathloop, a game that prior to launch was one of the most confusing and unknown titles I can remember. However, thanks to the stellar reviews and strong word of mouth, I decided to jump in and I am super glad I did.
Tom Salta, who some of you may know by his alternate name Atlus Plug, was largely in charge of this selection of music. Rightfully so, the music takes the shape of a spy thriller mixed with 60s rock. Not only does this fit the world of Deathloop so well, but it also shifts and evolves dynamically depending on the current world state. It’s a wonderful listen and really helps to further sell the gameplay and world.
Guilty Gear Strive – Daisuke Ishiwatari
Let’s be honest, Guilty Gear is a series with deep ties to rock music and has always had a strong soundtrack. The same rings true for Guilty Gear Strive, the latest entry in Arc System Work’s gorgeous fighting series. Unsurprisingly, the game’s designer, Daisuke Ishiwatari, also serves as the composer once again pairing with singer Naoki Hashimoto.
I’m not going to lie to you, there are some absolute bangers on this soundtrack, though just about all of them are worth a listen. Each character has their own theme, with over 40 additional background music tracks. As expected, the tunes are rock focused, but you’ll more than likely find yourself playing the air guitar along with each one.
Persona 5 Strikers – Atsushi Kitajoh, Gota Masuoka, and Ayana Hira
While it would be super easy to claim that Persona 5 Strikers simply reuses a lot of the already amazing music from Persona 5, you’d be underselling the soundtrack entirely. While yes, it does include standout tracks like Last Surprise, it also adds a remixed version of many of them to fit better with the more frantic pacing.
However, since Strikers serves as a direct sequel to the base version of Persona 5, the game also includes plenty of new tracks as well. The new tracks fit extremely well, being reminiscent of Shoji Meguro’s outstanding work, while also keeping the series long tradition of “stuck in your head themes” alive.
Loop Hero – Aleksandr “Blinch” Goreslavets
The deceptively intricate Loop Hero came out of no where for me in 2021. While looking simplistic on the surface, Loop Hero certainly has a lot of layers and addictive gameplay. On top of that, it features a fantastic retro soundtrack by its composer Blinch.
In what would feel right at home during the peak NES era, Loop Hero’s music is addictively good and will likely worm its way into your head. At the very least, you’ll be humming along as your hero attempts to break the loop.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Richard Jacques and Various Artists
I can already hear you screaming that Guardians of the Galaxy featuring a soundtrack composed of 80s rock bands like Blue Oyster Cult, Billy Idol, Def Leppard, and more. Yes, you’d be right and boy does it fit the game so incredibly well. Honestly, it’s a little bit like a Tony Hawk game in this regard. Great music that pairs well with the game itself.
However, did you know that Eidos-Montreal also formed their own original band called Star-Lord that would influence the eventual “Star-Lord” Peter Quill at a young age. Led by senior audio director Steve Szczepkowski on vocals along with his friend Yohann Boudreault, the duo would record a complete album of songs called Space Rider under the fictional band Star-Lord. Honestly, the tracks completely rock and I had no idea they were original music at the time. Even though it’s a fake band, Szczepkowski knocked it out of the park.
And my favorite 2021 game soundtrack is….
Persona 5 Strikers!
I’ll be honest, this was MASSIVELY difficult this year as each of the games above has something to love. I was stuck for quite a while debating and going back and forth. At the end of the day, I ultimately went with Persona 5 Strikers.
The game had a 1-2 punch of awesomeness, not only giving you some great remixed versions of songs from the original Persona 5 (such as Blooming Villain and Last Surprise), but the original tunes also managed to worm their way into my head as well. With both Strikers and Persona 5 Royal soundtracks finally being officially released in February 2022, I’ll be able to blast the songs once more.