Five Epic Games with Five Epic Soundtracks
Games and the audio that comes with them have come a long way since the Atari 2600, a system that could only manage audio effects. The industry has progressed from never considering the value of soundtracks, to separately releasing a soundtrack, and now, the soundtracks to some of the most epic games have won awards. It is with this evolution in mind that we have written this article.
While this list is far from exhaustive, we feel it highlights some of the best auditory offerings in gaming history. Some games out there are widely spread just for the mere fact of using songs everybody knows, they are games inspired from music that have gone viral, but we’ll take this to the next level and talk about the games that keep you engaged, hooked, tensed particularly because of their epic soundtracks.
So here is our list of five epic games with five epic soundtracks. Each of these games possesses an exhilarating musical direction, directly incorporates audio into its video offerings or otherwise blasts players with a symphonic level of immersion.
On the surface, Rez is a rail shooter where everything is rendered with polygons. While that may not sound like much to write home about, the resulting gameplay is a mixture of sight and sound that some have likened to a synesthetic experience. The core of the gameplay involves holding your fire button over groups of enemies, missiles and upgrade vessels, then releasing the button to launch a cluster of blasts that produces a chord of sequential beats as each target is struck. This means that high-end play resembles something akin to a jam session with Daft Punk. Rez was released on the Dreamcast and PS2 with an HD version later released on Xbox Live Arcade and “Rez Infinite” released on the PSN with support for the PS VR peripheral.
2. DOOM (2016)
Whether you wish to call it “DOOM,” “DOOM 4” or “DOOM ’16,” the fact remains that this game not only offers its players an awesome soundtrack to listen to while brutalizing wave after wave of demons, that same gameplay is bolstered by the soundtrack. This game mostly only has two different settings for its music: slow and atmospheric, when the enemies are gone, and fast, high-impact rock, revving up when the enemies show up. The game’s producers took all of the mistakes made with DOOM 3 and corrected them with this release, as well as reviving John Carmack’s involvement with the franchise. This version of DOOM was released onto the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.
3. Red Dead Redemption
Where the first two games on this list focused on the aggressive genres of electronica and heavy metal, Red Dead Redemption gets included for how well it handles the other end of the musical spectrum. This is a game set during the final days of the Wild West and it plies that appropriate level of subtlety and ambiance to its aesthetic. One of the most moving experiences in playing this game has to be when the protagonist rides into Mexico for the first time and “Far Away” starts playing. It’s a somber moment that really drives home the lead’s desire for a reckoning, even if such actions will have irreversible consequences. When you have a game this polished, almost a given with any facet of Rockstar Games, it only makes sense that a sequel will eventually make its way to the fans.
4. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
“MGR:R” is a bombastic, over-the-top title in every way imaginable. The game’s premise has you controlling “Metal Gear Solid’s” Raiden after his cybernetic upgrade and tackling nanomachine-augmented threats with a robotic dog beside him. While Metal Gear has always been Hideo Kojima’s baby, Platinum Games married Kojima’s craziness with their understanding of the spectacle-action brawler to create a visceral gaming experience whose sights and sounds get your blood pumping. Rather than continue to dwell on how good this game is, just give a listen to this track that plays during the first boss fight against Metal Gear Ray. You would have to have ice-cold veins not to get pumped as “Laws of Nature’s” vocal flare up with Raiden’s sword.
5. BioShock Infinite
In a world that presents multiple, slightly-different realities, protagonist Booker DeWitt is assaulted by “what-ifs” that bleed into the city’s culture. As Booker navigates Columbia in search of Elizabeth, he encounters a barber shop quartet singing “God Only Knows” and a Vox Populi child singing “Fortunate Son” as a hymnal, among other cross-genre performances. By the game’s conclusion, Booker (and the player) is left dumb-founded by how their actions’ consequences ripple across realities. Like most games on this list, BioShock Infinite is also rated M for “Mature.” BioShock Infinite was released on PC, Sony and Microsoft consoles.
While this world is loaded with choices on what to play, not all choices are objective. Even among the titles that consider themselves epic games, their “epic-ness” may be arguable. With that precaution mentioned, hopefully, this list has piqued your interest enough to considering picking one title up. So plug in and tune out!