As video games start to rival (and even outperform) the biggest films, so too do their soundtracks. Now an original soundtrack is composed for almost every game, by some of the best composers and musicians in the world. In this article I’m going to explore my five favourite PS4 soundtracks; the music that stayed with me for hours after I’d finished the corresponding game.
It wouldn’t be an article from me if there wasn’t at least some mention of Bloodborne. FromSoftware’s masterpiece isn’t only alluring to the eyes, the subtle soundtrack which accompanies the hunter though Yharnam is almost hypnotic. Utilising orchestral instruments, each movement switches effortlessly from beautiful to haunting. Tracks such as ‘The Hunter’ and ‘Darkbeast’ stand out thanks to the violins which commands the tracks, the music follows the beat of a heavy drum, one which mirrors the impeding doom you’ll feel facing up against both Father Gascoigne and Darkbeast Paarl. These two tracks race along mirroring the fast-paced action of the fighting. Then, lilts of the violin hint at a victory just as you’re about to deliver your final blow. Other standout soundtracks include ‘Cleric Beast’. With choral crescendo’s and the scream of the beast in the background the track perfectly captures the essence of a Soulsborne game. Unfortunately, the original soundtrack for Bloodborne only has a few remarkable tracks with the rest simply being good. This means that, although its a great addition to any Bloodborne fan’s CD collection, there are PS4 soundtracks which hold an atmosphere better than Bloodborne’s.
Tequila Works long anticipated indie adventure game RiME was a hit right off the bat. Just like the calming nature of the game the soundtrack is a peaceful symphony. Playing on childlike curiosities, tracks such as ‘A New Friend’ and ‘Orichalcum’ employ soft flowing melodies and quietly ebbing wood wind instruments. The theme of the game is carried beautifully over the forty tracks on the original soundtrack, each being unique enough to catch your attention and transport you back to the world of RiME. ‘Alone in the Light’ is the standout track, one which has all the splendor of a great classical piece. RiME’s composer, David García Díaz, has created a splendid array of sounds which replicate the peacefulness of the game, the pull of the open sea, the wanderlust that this tropical island stirs up, and, near the conclusion of the game, the hesitation and the loneliness felt by the lost boy.
3- Little Nightmares
Little Nightmares is easily my favourite game of 2017. The score composed by Tobias Lilja is filled with clanging instruments and eerie vocals that reflect the tense atmosphere of the game. With Little Nightmares being a game devoid of dialogue, each individual track has the power to take you back to a section of the game and force you to relive the stylish horror. ‘Death Waltz’ for example is clunky clanging arrangement of woodwind instruments and a distorted electric bass. A fitting mash up of industrial and mechanical noises which slowly develops into a beautifully flowing tune. Later in the game pieces such as ‘Hunger II’, ‘The Lady Circles’ and ‘Six’s Theme Part II’ set a foreboding feeling which matches the spiraling desperation of Six during the story. The soundtrack concludes with ‘Prison Toys’. Unlike any other track on the list this one is pleasant; the highs of the song accompanied by the cheery whistling makes it so different from the twenty-three which proceeded it.
2- The Last of Us
The Last of us is a standout game for many, many reasons. The Last of Us not only has an incredible storyline, amazing graphics and characters, the original soundtrack is something that’s well known in the gaming world as one of true power. Gustavo Santaolla has created a guitar-led marvel which is both hauntingly beautiful and incredibly impactful. Track ‘The Last of Us’ with it’s minimalist style building to an eventual crescendo remains one of the most memorable scores in the video game world. For such a dark and eerie game, the soundtrack is, at times, deliberately mellow and soft with emotion being the driving force. It’s the perfect accompaniment to Joel and Ellie’s story.
Journey’s original soundtrack (lovingly crafted by Austin Wintory) flows along with the natural progression of the game. Pleasant chirps and soft melodies follow you as you float effortlessly down sand slopes and deeper looming tones signal danger in the later parts of the game. These core sounds, which change and adapt effortlessly, allow Journey’s soundtrack to rise and fall with the natural narrative of the game. ‘Temptations’ provides an incredible elation which amplifies the feeling of pure joy that’s showcased as your traveler surfs through the golden sand dunes alongside companions and the feeling of freedom and limitlessness is only increased by the sharp harp strings and flutes which dominate this piece. And then, the track ‘Descent’ manages to crush our spirits from nowhere. The conclusion of Journey a few hours later is paired with ‘Apotheosis’ which is a fitting symphony to conclude such an emotional and ethereal game. I’ve played Journey many times since its release in 2012 and the musical score has always managed to bring a tear to my eyes. To me, it is musical perfection.
Obviously, this list is completely subjective so comment with your favourite PS4 soundtracks below and we can compare! I’m looking forward to reading your responses!