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Best Video Game Scores Of 2015

posted Jan 8, 2016, 2:26 PM by Leo Mayr   [ updated Apr 23, 2016, 7:39 AM ]
Another year has ended, so it's that time of year again, where everyone is making lots of lists listing off the things worth making lists for. To give you a general idea of these lists, here is my list of favourite food consumed last year: Pizza. You may think "But I don't like pizza that much...". Well, I do. These lists contain a lot of personal opinions, but that's just the side effect of having it written by a person.

Also these lists are made according to how effective the score is at giving the player the right mood while playing, not keeping in mind how great the music is on its own.

Again, lets start off by mentioning a few things that did not make the top 10.

Honorable Mention: Bloodborne
(by Ryan Amon, Tsukasa Saitoh, Cris Velasco, Yuka Kitamura and Michael Wandmacher)
A stunning atmospheric score with incredible burtst of intense action.


Honorable Mention: Rainbow Six Siege
(by Paul Haslinger and Ben Frost)
Sometimes having no music at all is the right decision for a game. Such is the case in the intense multiplayer tactics of Rainbow Six Siege. The music compososed for the game only plays in the menu and cinematics, the gameplay is silent.


Honorable Mention: Star Wars Battlefront
(by Gordy Haab and John Williams)
While the game lacks in terms of content, it sure feels like Star Wars. Besides stunning graphics, the inclusion of some of John Williams's themes from the Star Wars movies as well as new music composed by Gordy Haab really make playing the game worthwhile. The music is a varied mix of old and new, with the listener unable to tell which is which.


Honorable Mention: Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3
(by Jack Wall)
I really loved Wall's work on Black Ops 2, but was disappointed a great deal since his music for the sequel just did not feel right for me. There are some nice moments but the electronic action just feels repetetive and after a while I got bored and moved on. "Leviathan" is great though!


Most Honorable Of All Mentions: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
(by Austin Wintory)
I could not write about the best videogame scores of the year and not mention Austin Wintory's musical masterpiece. The music is absolutely fantastic, but it hardly affects gameplay for me. Instead of dominating intense fights, it just accompanies the gameplay in the background.


10. Batman: Arkham Knight
(by Nick Arundel and David Buckley)
As much as I hate the release of two seperate volumes of scores, I have to admit the music does a great job of creating a suspenseful atmosphere for the dark and rainy setting of Gotham. The fighting music lacks intensity in some places but generally feels well made.


9. Dying Light
(by Pawel Blaszczak)
A nice blend of electronic and orchestral suspense and action with a large amount of emotional moments dominate Dying Light's city of Harran. Venturing out in the dark is only made worse by Blaszczak's tense music as you try to avoid detection by the terrors of the night.


8. Fallout 4
(by Inon Zur)
Fallout 4 is the game I spent the most time with in 2015. The game's music fits perfectly into the rusty wasteland with percussion heavy action and beautiful themes to accompany the player while exploring the desolate game world.


7. Destiny: The Taken King
(by Michael Salvatori, C Paul Johnson and Skye Levin)
The music for Destiny was already featured in last year's article, still the team of composers managed to exceed my expectations once again. The music in the first mission of the new Taken King expansion is among my most memorable gaming experiences, as the mission starts out as a routine exploration and quickly turns into a tense fight for survival and your escape from an unstoppable force. The expansion of the main game's universe comes with some of the greatest boss fight tracks I have had the pleasure of hearing.


6. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
(by Ludvig Forssell, Justin Burnett and Harry Gregson-Williams)
As much as I wanted to hear a full Gregson-Williams score for this game, I really enjoyed what Ludvig Forssell and Justin Burnett accomplished. While it is true the music ignored the franchise's roots and went into a completely new direction, the suspenseful moments (of which there are many) and intense action moments really made playing the game a lot of fun. I have yet to finish the main story though...


5. Rise Of The Tomb Raider
(by Bobby Tahouri)
I absolutely loved Jason Graves's music for the Tomb Raider reboot two years ago, so to hear a new composer expand on existing themes instead of ignoring them is good news for me. The action writing is superb, suspenseful moments feel tense enough to keep me going and the ambient music never feels out of place.


4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(by MaMarcin Przybylowicz, Mikolai Stroinski and Percival Schuttenbach)
The Witcher 3 is one of those games that overwhelmed me with content anytime I attempt to get back into playing it. "Why not do this side quest? Or discover some new locations? Here's a notice board full of side quests!" The music holds a perfect balance between beautiful exploration and intense brutal combat, enhancing the gameplay quite a lot.


3. Mad Max
(by Mats Lundgren)
Mad Max is one of these games that refine the word "fun" and make it the core of the entire game. While the music is not in any way similar to Tom Holkenborg's outstanding score for Mad Max Fury Road, it feels just right for violent car chases and brutal hand ti hand combat in the dry desert. Just a shame the music was never released for the public...


2. Halo 5: Guardians
(by Kazuma Jinnouchi)
As stated in my review of this score, I believe it to be as close as perfect as it could be. The combination of orchestra and electronics is balanced just right, the action is really intense and exciting and the ambient tracks are simply fun to listen to. The music really defines the tone of the game and feels just right for sci fi shootouts in stunning settings.


1. Jus
t Cause 3
(by Henry Jackman and Zach Abramson)
Another sandbox game by Avalanche studios, and again it basically just refined "fun" and makes it the entire game. Arguably my favourite game of the year (if not of all time).
The music for a game this amazing can be quite hard to get right... Just Cause 2 did not do too well, but the music for the third installment in the series is just outstanding. The ambient music is quite nice, though you won't be hearing too much of that wingsuiting around the islands of Medici blowing everything you see into tiny bits, then strapping rockets to the tiny bity and watching them explode again. If you need any more reasons to love this music, turn down the volume of everything but the music to abour 80% and fly above a combat zone... The music dynamically changes depending on what you do and every now and then a subtle heroic theme emerges from the fast paced action as you grapple away from a huge chain of explosions. Please, please someone release this music on an album!