A frequently ignored aspect of many games is the sound design. There are some fantastic games out there with stunning audio tracks and ambient sounds but they are very rarely acknowledged. Today we will share our thoughts on the best sounding games of the year.
Have a look at our other recommendations in our other 2015 Christmas Cracker articles. Keep an eye on the top of the page to see all the categories.
ZAC – Hotline Miami 2 and Fallout 4
I decided to pick 2 games for this category, as I think an original soundtrack shouldn’t have to compete with a fully licensed soundtrack, they’re two separate types of soundtrack that I think should be judged accordingly.
As far as licensed soundtracks go, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number was a clear winner for me. Building and improving upon its 2012 predecessor, Hotline Miami, it was the perfect worthy follow-up to one of the best licesnsed game soundtracks of recent years. From the intense upbeat tunes like Carpenter Brut’s ‘Roller Mobster’ to the more mellow and sentimental (and also my personal favourite track) songs like Modulogeek’s ‘Around’, Hotline Miami 2 always had the right sound for the right moment.
For game that had an exceptional original score as well as a pretty damn great selection of licensed songs, my vote has to go to Fallout 4. Inon Zur’s work on Fallout 3 was enjoyable but wasn’t especially memorable for me, so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from Fallout 4. But when I heard that first theme debut in the announcement trailer I had goosebumps. Fallout 4‘s score is just so incredibly vast and mood-fitting. It’s bone chilling when it needs to be such as when trudging through Ghoul-infested pre-war ruins but also optimistic and uplifting when exploring the games more inhabitable settlements. I think I’ve heard every instrument under the sun from acoustic guitars and pianos to bagpipes and flutes, the soundtrack just has so many elements and flavours to it. I still don’t think I’ve heard every track. Plus who doesn’t love Diamond City Radio?
JAMES – Star Wars Battlefront
I’ve decided to include Star Wars Battlefront again for best audio of the year. Dice have done an amazing job at capturing the heart of the Star Wars universe with the audio in this game.
Everything from the Blasters, Tie Fighters, AT-ATs and infantry is identical to the movies. Dice have always been amazing when it comes to creating life-like soundscapes for their games, and Star Wars Battlefront is no exception.
JOHN – Metal Gear Solid V
MGSV has an amazing soundtrack, not just because Hideo Kojima made the decision to put a lot of legit 80’s hits in the soundtrack for you to find out in the world but the score is also just amazing.
It’s fitting and there’s a lot of heart in the audio choices, not just “oh this sounds good” there is a reason behind every choice and it’s great.
I honestly couldn’t think of another game that did its soundtrack better, The Man Who Sold the World is such a fitting and amazing theme song for this game not to mention the many other great songs Kojima made Konami fork out the cash for.
JOSH – Ori and the Blind Forest
That’s right, chaps. Taking out both Audio and Visual award from me this year is Ori and the Blind Forest.
The music of a game will go completely unnoticed to a lot of people, but I defy anyone who plays Ori that does not at one point or another, have a smile on their face as the orchestral sounds of the forest kick in to perfectly accommodate what is happening on screen.
The music of Ori is beautiful, it is exciting, it has momentum, it is bae! (sorry)
I’ve included a video of my personal favorite track from the OST (don’t worry, there’s no major spoilers). You don’t have to listen to the whole thing, you can merely skip to my personal favourite part (01:26) but it’s well worth it.
LAUREN – Spectra
This small time, retro arcade-style game has my pick for best audio of 2015 simply because you play tracks with actual music on them by the artist Chipzel… and she makes the music from GameBoy Colors! It’s awesome!
The songs are super catchy and found on Apple music which means I can listen on the go… which I kinda do when I’m driving fast.
Makes me feel like I’m in space, okay?
JULIAN – Guild of Dungeoneering
In the last 10 years or so there have only been a few games that have really managed to knock the theme tune out of the park. Mirror’s Edge did it with Still Alive, Portal did it with a song also called Still Alive and I think that it is fair to say that Guild of Dungeoneering did the same with their menu music.
It is not just the menu music that is so well done. The ambient music and sounds within the dungeons are second to none. They effectively sets the mood while wandering and while fighting it conjures the image of a more simplistic game. The audio in Guild of Dungeoneering draws you in like no other I have seen in recent years.