I love listening to video game music and in the interest of sharing some of these lesser known songs I have put together a list of eleven songs in no particular order that I love. All these songs are from games that are not known for their soundtracks, are a different version of the song, were a bonus release, or have been overshadowed by other songs on the soundtrack. I have no musical training so all of this is based off of what sounds pleasing to my ear.
Drakengard 3: This Silence is Mine
Keiichi Okabe is a godlike composer. His work on Nier, Nier Automata, and Drakengard 3 all have a distinct orchestral style to them that while epic feels different and darker, infusing a certain sadness or desperation into them. I love this song. I am a huge fan of the Nier Automata ost and he brings that skill to Drakengard 3. Drakengard 3 is a somewhat unknown release with myself not even realizing it had come out about two years ago. While the reviews for the game are mediocre the musical score is top tier. There were about three other songs off the ost that I considered before going with This Silence is Mine.
The vocals sung by Chihiro Onitsuka are wonderful. Her voice gives a sense of desperation, sadness, a eulogy for a character that has suffered so greatly and seeks to save the world not out of a sense of duty but so she can finally die. The song starts off slow with just a piano backing before adding more instruments and speeding up the vocals. My only complaint with the song is a little bit of broken English. I have listened to this a lot in the past couple weeks.
Final Fantasy 9: A Place to Call Home – Melodies of Life
Originally from the Final Fantasy IX soundtrack, this version comes from Distant Worlds II. I love the vocal tracks from Final Fantasy as they are some of the best pieces of video game music. The vocals are beautiful; Susan Calloway does an excellent job with the vocals, creating a real feeling of a journey coming to an end, and everyone finding their place in the world.
The Distant Worlds versions of Final Fantasy songs are some of the best video game music ever made. It is incredible the beauty and emotions evoked by these songs. There were many to choose from but I went with one I thought was less popular. If you want more like this look up Suteki Da Ne, FF14 Revolutions, or FF14 Dragonsong.
Ace Combat 4: Megalith
The Ace Combat series is one of the last series I would think to have an incredible soundtrack, but they are pretty consistently good. Megalith in particular stands out because it is just so mighty sounding, a perfect song for the final mission of the game as you destroy a superweapon that launches ICBMs at asteroids to shower locations with asteroid fragments. It is a massive facility that threatens the lives of millions. As you fight enemy jets you hear the radio chatter of the special forces team fighting their way through the structure to give you a chance to destroy the facility. This song plays all through the mission. Then at the end you destroy an ICBM that causes a chain reaction destroying the facility. The whole mission was well done and the music was a perfect way to finish the game.
Final Fantasy 13-2 Caius’s Theme
Final Fantasy 13 has a really bad reputation, some of that for good reasons other times it is just the hate bandwagon. One positive thing about all three games is the soundtrack maintains the Final Fantasy quality. Caius’s theme is a great villain theme, menacing, dark, chanting voices, the drumming in the background giving a feel of a march, pausing into violin and strings before launching right back into the march with a greater intensity.
Transistor: She Shines
I can’t gush enough about how good the Transistor soundtrack is. This song was a bonus track not heard in the game. It is one of my favourites so I love to spread it around so more people get to listen to it. Ashley Barrett and Darren Korb show that they are a power duo. Korb brings incredible track arrangement while Ashley brings the voice of an angel. She Shines has everything that is good about the Transistor soundtrack in one song. Just listen to it.
Final Fantasy 6: Draco and Maria
This 12 minute epic opera was originally from Final Fantasy 6 on the SNES. Yes they put a 16 bit opera musical score on the SNES and it is amazing. In Distant Worlds Square out does themselves by turning it into an actual opera and the results are amazing. The voices, the orchestra, the simple story, I love listening to this rendition of the song. 9:10 is my favourite part so if you don’t feel like listening to the whole thing at least check that out.
Final Fantasy 13: Lightning’s Theme
Once again Final Fantasy 13 makes an appearance on this list. I am a sucker for simple but beautiful piano pieces with a few light strings mixed in, and Lighting’s is one of my favourites. Mixing in the main theme it is just a joy to listen to from start to finish. It is shame the game it is attached to isn’t actually good.
Valdis Story: In the Beginning
Valdis Story is my favourite Metroidvania game. The soundtrack is incredible. The boss music is incredible but my favourite is this one, sad, somber, and fitting song for the crumbling city under the sea. As you explore this song plays and it is a joy to listen to as you see more of this forlorn city invaded by demons and angels with dark secrets waiting to be revealed. The strings accentuate the sadness and sense of age while the heavy piano gives a darker more sinister vibe. All in all a great song.
Ori and the Blind Forest: Restoring the Light Facing the Dark
Ori and the Blind Forest has a great ost but this song I feel gets overshadowed by most of the other tracks. I love this track because it feels so adventurous and it is from one of my favourite sequences from the game where you are trying to stay ahead of rushing water. The song adds to the adrenaline as you move up the great tree finally ending with Ori being flung high into the air and the great black bird coming to try to kill him, a confrontation at the edge of the tree before falling into the forest. It is a great song and really makes the sequence so much more powerful.
Nier Automata: Kaine Salvation
Another bonus track, Kaine Salvation was performed at a live concert for the Nier: Automata soundtrack. It is such a beautiful track and if you know Kaine’s story it is really sad. Although I cannot understand the Japanese the lyrics are pleasing to the ear as the piano plays. It has a very thoughtful feel to it. The song gains more energy as it goes on. I maintain that the composer for Nier is genius and deserves so much more recognition.
Bloodborne: Bloodborne Suite
The Swedish Radio Symphony is amazing and I am so sad I did not get the chance to see them when I was in Sweden. The Bloodborne Suite is incredible because it is a perfect compilation of the sounds of Bloodborne. All of the musical motifs are present in this one performance; the sinister horn, the screeching violin, the sad voice, the dark red lights, the feeling of impending death, of approaching doom. All they would need is to all be dressed in white robes and it would be perfection.
Anyway I hope you all enjoy this. Please let me know if you want to see more articles like this.