Sound Byte: Best of 2012 In Game Music

We take you to an audio-filled ride on the game soundtracks that made this year great.

by

With GameSpot's Best of 2012 Awards and People's Choice still running, we figured it was appropriate to celebrate the music of 2012's games. Truth be told, we were blessed with a lot of genres of music this year: we had orchestras aplenty, electronica and house, ambiance and leit motifs, and dozens more that can work outside the context of the experiences they're tailored for.

Without further ado, here's 2012's finest in video game music.

Done with the video and have the sudden urge to buy the albums for your personal enjoyment and help give due to the talented folks who crafted them? Here are the album titles and the links to various online stores:

Diablo III Collector's Edition Soundtrack – iTunes
Gravity Daze Original Soundtrack (Gravity Rush)- Play Asia
The Last Story Original Soundtrack – Amazon
Journey Original Soundtrack – iTunes, Amazon
Skullgirls Original Soundtrack – Official Site
Ys: Foliage Ocean in Celceta Original Soundtrack - iTunes
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Original Sound Track - Play-Asia
Max Payne 3 The Official Soundtrack - Rockstar
Fez Original Soundtrack - Disasterpeace website
The Secret World Original Soundtrack - iTunes, Amazon
Darksiders II Original Soundtrack - Sumthing Distribution
Hotline Miami - BandCamp , SoundCloud
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Square Enix store
Double Dragon Neon - Jake Kaufman's BandCamp page
Dust: An Elysian Tail Original Soundtrack – Hyperduck Soundworks' BandCamp page
Endless Space Original Soundtrack – Comes free with the game via Steam
Mass Effect 3 Original Soundtrack - iTunes, Amazon
Hitman: Absolution – Not available at the moment
Max Anarchy Original Soundtrack (Anarchy Reigns) - Amazon
Hikari Shinwa: Palutena no Kagami Soundtrack (Kid Icarus: Uprising) - Wayo Shop
Dragon's Dogma Original Soundtrack - Sumthing Distribution

If you like what you hear, or wish to highlight other game soundtracks we missed out, do let us know on the comments box below.

Discussion

2 comments
Michformer
Michformer

Darksiders II blows everything out of the water!

Minishdriveby
Minishdriveby

The entire Botanicula Soundtrack should be on this list.

SuperB56
SuperB56

I "absolutely" agree with the track from Hitman Absolution, that was my favorite track in the game by far, and "Tears" from Max Payne 3, all of them seem to work quite well with their respective games which is always a plus. Awesome video.

Coren_Larken
Coren_Larken

Awesome presentation. Thanks guys! I listen to Game music at work when I really need to get stuff done. Somehow it makes me concentrate.

 

 

haederbazooka
haederbazooka

the only ok/good tracks were from max payne 3, hotline miami, hitman absolution and Max Anarchy. most of the rest are just fantasy crap -.-"

 

sorry it is just my opinion.....

smoothyplum26
smoothyplum26

$34.99 for the FF XIII-2 sound track, Ouch. Could have got with the CE which was just $20 extra at release and can be found online for around $40 now.

wagnagdag223
wagnagdag223

pfft..different strokes for different folks

patten029
patten029

How is Halo 4 not included? I was most concerned about the soundtrack to Halo 4 and it turned out to be the best part of the game! "Arrival" is absolutely amazing. The other tracks are great too. There is no reason the Halo 4 soundtrack shouldn't be on this. 

composingkeys
composingkeys

Don't forget about the soundtrack for Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller. The music has been receiving rave review from critics.This game is awesome and is nominated for best adventure game of the year from incgamers.com.

MaxSwagger
MaxSwagger

That was some pretty nice music. I find that lately though fan music has been getting extremely better.

This is one of my favs: http://youtu.be/2kHg29hQn7w

 

I think Gamespot should do a little segment on fan music as well.

logicalfrank
logicalfrank

I think the best soundtrack of any game I played this year was for Assassin's Creed III: Liberation on PS Vita. Not a great game, honestly, but the score was fantastic.

rosen22
rosen22

no To the moon? really?

Bubbagum_Bish
Bubbagum_Bish

No Xenoblade Chronicles? Easily the best soundtrack I've heard this entire generation. Although, technically, I guess that came out in japan a while ago and just got in America this year.

Vitex2003
Vitex2003

Really good soundtracks presented.

pccraine343
pccraine343

Where the hell is Assassin's Creed 3? I'm serious, that soundtrack is awesome and should definitely be on this list.

Also, Kid Icarus sounds too innocent, too gentle.

chaosbrigade
chaosbrigade

Journey really has an amazing soundtrack. 

mateyman
mateyman

Still failed to beat my two favorites from last year though: Deus Ex: HR and Frozen Synapse.

mateyman
mateyman

Mostly amazing compilation! Had a few duds (in my mind) and it's really missing Halo 4 (again, in my mind)

ag_04
ag_04

Awesome compilation!

PSYCO-CRY-
PSYCO-CRY-

Max Payne 3, Mass Effect 3 and Hotline Miami are among the best this year.

lannyboy334
lannyboy334

No Halo 4?  That soundtrack is fantastic, even compared against the likes of my favorite last year, Bastion.  Also on the Deluxe has some really great remixes on it.  A glaring omission compared to a lot of the other run of the mill stuff here.

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

No Shoot Many Robots? My favorite ST this year, alongside Hotline Miami and Max Payne 3.

Rippletonz
Rippletonz

That Max Payne song is terrible WTF.  So ashamed. 

whackyq
whackyq

I think the soundtrack overall were okay, but I can pick one track from almost all of them that is really good, such as the Cassardis theme from Dogma, Tali's theme from ME2 (recycled into ME3 haha), the airport music from Payne 3, etc. Some truly outstanding tracks this year.

StammBladecastr
StammBladecastr

Awesome.  Dragon's Dogma's music was really good.  What's missing is Sound Shapes.  Particularly Beck's first song.

willzihang
willzihang

Why is FTL on this list? Instead of some of those pathetic fighting games squawks?

Kanethedragon
Kanethedragon

 @patten029 I believe that while H4s soundtrack is good, it's reason for not being on here isn't because of it being good, but rather, the fact that it isn't music that stands out and fits the game compared to the music made for previous games by Marty O'Donell.

mr_toffee
mr_toffee moderator

 @Bubbagum_Bish Yep, Xenoblade Chronicles' OST is awesome. It was already featured on last year's Sound Byte 2011 Year in Review vid. That's why it's not on this year's vid. 

mateyman
mateyman

 @CivilizedPsycho Yeah, I felt like it really pointed to the fact that this was a new studio and a new trilogy, but it still had a very "Halo" feel to it.

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

 @mr_toffee  @Bubbagum_Bish 

Yeah, for a while I was really miffed that Xenoblade Chronicles wasn't up for anything this year.  Then other Gamespot users pointed out that it won Wii game of the year in 2011 even though it wasn't yet out in the US, but only in Japan, Europe, and Oz.  So it did get the attention it deserved, it's just that a lot of us didn't get to play the game ourselves until this year.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

 @willzihang Being a musician means nothing. A musician can come up with something they think is great, but if people don't enjoy it then it isn't that great. Everyone enjoys different types of music. There are many people in HipHop that are musicians that I find it hard to believe anyone enjoys what they put out, I value their opinion litt.e

 

About FTL itself I hold nothing against.

 

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, don't try to make yours worth more than everyone else.

mateyman
mateyman

 @willzihang I'm a musician too. Doesn't change the fact that people have preferences. Not that I disagree at all though, FTL should have been on here.

Duke_51
Duke_51

 @Rippletonz  @mateyman I didn't take it personally... I was just wondering why you're so disappointed that it made the list when it's a really popular soundtrack. And yeah it's repetitive, but not offbeat.

 

But hey, that's just me.

Rippletonz
Rippletonz

 @mateyman  @Duke_51 It's repetitive and offbeat, what's to like?  Anyway music is the most subjective thing in the world, no need to take my opinion personally. 

willzihang
willzihang

 @Toysoldier34 Lash out? Talk down to? I don't recall directly insulting anyone. Maybe I defend musicians: oh no. I say that a musician can make a superior judgement over a non-musician in regards to the artistic quality (technical skill, maturity of writing) of a selected work. This is in no way the same as saying "You shouldn't like this because I say so".

I like to be very specific when I express, in order to keep tight context within this very specific matter, and not to generally offend people.  Indeed, you haven't made this effort by informing me I generally 'lash out' and 'talk down to everyone', implying that I consider myself generally superior. I think I've stated enough times that I'm defending a collective of people; moreover, defending the pure entity that is music.

 

In order to make your comparison between games and music relative, you need to break down each individual element of the game - very much like a film- as it is an amalgamation of arts.

 

My goal isn't to have everyone agree with me. My goal is simply to make what I feel is a relevant point, and for the sake of intellectual discourse. I'm glad you've joined in, please continue debating me (this is genuine, not a condescending remark).

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

 @willzihang You adding on after the fact that you are a musician shows that you value it as a trait that makes your comment stand out and hold more merit than any others.

 

You also lash out at everyone here and talk down to everyone.

 

Not many of us here work in the game design industry yet we can all appreciate and judge the quality of games just fine.

 

I can assure you that each comment you leave with the tone you have been doesn't bring anyone any closer to seeing your point of view or agreeing with you. It only confirms everyone's thoughts.

Rippletonz
Rippletonz

 @willzihang How does it feel to get trolled?  Hard.  (I type 5 words, you assume you know everything about me and type a novel = troll)  Grats. 

willzihang
willzihang

 @Toysoldier34 Will you stop your feeble attempts to single me out, in order that you might villanise me.

I never advocate that I ALONE am the superior voice of musical opinion. I consider myself an average musician, for starters.

I say that ALL trained musicians have a more informed critical view on music, it is after all, their chosen subject. Is that so difficult to accept? Obviously yes.

You say it all with your opening statement: "Being a musician means nothing" Indeed, that is clearly the common consensus; and, is indeed quite evident with the commercial crap we see in the mainstream.

How dare musicians (ALL of them. I speak not of myself alone, remember this time if you would) devote so much blood and sweat to music, and as a result appreciate it deeper? How dare they indeed. How dare you, or anyone on here - certainly - know more about another subject than me? I imagine one of you is possibly an excellent pencil artist. Because you put more effort in that subject than myself, and as a result you have a much stronger critical vision of it.

Music is the artistry of sound, end-- that is what it is. It isn't a stage for popularity, financial or social gain. It isn't a means to make one a superior person; or a platform to have greater emotional expression. These are deviations from music itself-- as a result of its commercialisation.

Music is the artistry of sound. Everyone can like, or indeed dislike it as much as they please-- yes: but perhaps consider that music is a learnt entity.

willzihang
willzihang

 @Rippletonz No-- again. You aren't making a valid argument. You need to say "I think I am in a position to say: I, and other musicians, know better than non-musicians that Eminem (for example) is somewhat musically immature when compared with more advanced works" 

There is no way you can tell me I think I am generally superior, as there is no evidence for that.

I would say twenty years of experience places me in a position higher than the three examples stated - I will say there will be a number of emo guitarists who are better than me, technically - however, I would also say there are literally millions of far - enormously - superior musicians to me out there, any advanced classical or jazz musician, session musicians and those with well utilised many-decades of experience. For my part I have ignored the commercial side of music and focus purely on the playing element.

I will also say that "..and his fans" is also an assumption on your part. I didn't say that someone can't like them, I also never stated that one can understand that these examples are musically less advanced than say, Bach; realise that, yet like them both.

I have been explaining my viewpoint, but it seems you have skimmed through it. I can't explain this opinion concisely: but it is very much in context (what else have I been discussing?).

 

It went off tangent from specifically FTL, as all discussions do.

 

I thought FTL's score was far more creative, and better written, than a number of the choices in this video. I suspected many were chosen purely by popularity and because they fit a trend. I feel strongly about it because music is very dear to me. It is a fact that people who play music and those that just listen to it have a different outlook in its regard-- this is a forum, different outlooks are important.

It is also a video specifically about music.

Rippletonz
Rippletonz

 @willzihang You typed a lot of crap and I skimmed through it, but you never answered the question.  What are your credentials as a musician?  Due to your [education, experience?] you've positioned yourself as musically superior to Eminem, all of his fans, Justin Bieber, all of his fans, everything remotely emo/punk rock and everybody who enjoys it...  Yeah, I'd say "superior to basically everybody" was in context.  You're still forcing the same fallacious argument that you're educated in music, so FTL should be on this list and that's final.  Actually you've contradicted it so many times and gone on so many tangents, nothing matters anymore.  Maybe you should put your argument in context, and explain to me what experience or education it is you have that makes you such an authority.  Please, avoid going off on another pedantic rant. 

willzihang
willzihang

 @Rippletonz I can't teach you how to like music better: you can do that by learning about music. I'm not saying people can't have opinions, nor am I saying people shouldn't have the freedom to have these opinions, regardless of their musical skill.

I cast this terrible judgement: IF ONE WANTS TO APPRECIATE MUSIC BETTER, WELL....UM, LEARN MUSIC.

Apologies for the cryptic remark there.

Your reaction though is extremely typical, and carries a level of contempt completely unwarranted. Superior to everybody, a legend? Perhaps you might target your criticism a little more accurately, and in context.Oh, and a little less assumption if you don't mind.

Let us take an example. One person, person A, devotes most of their life to music, neglects much sociality and friendships for the sake of this passion; they spend years in this undertaking to understand the depths of musicality (Let us destroy any assumptions here: I am not speaking of myself). Person B, never takes any interest in music in depth, only appreciates listening to it. Is person A a superior person? NO! does it make one a more worthy human being to have simply a better understanding of one particular subject? Well, um, no. Does it mean person A very well might appreciate the finer points of music? Well, yes; but that is all. Get some bloody perspective.

Now, if we were speaking of ANY other subject, there would be no discussion. "Look, it's a trained sculpturer; Ooo, I expect they know more about the subject than me because they spend a great deal of their life devoted to it" I doubt anyone would question this. But no-one should imagine they would comment "...Ooo, they know more about this ONE PARTICULAR subject than me. Your are my God, praise you in high regard for all eternity!"

I will go this far sir: musicians know more about music than non musicians (the clue is in the word). That is all.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

Just because you're a musician dosen't mean other's have to like what you like. They have different tastes and opinions. It may look bad in the eyes of a professional but that means nothing if some people enjoy it. People's enjoyment is what matters in music. It's not some scientific facts That's why your opinions have no higher ground than anyone else'.

 

(That goes to Justin Bieber songs as well. I hate them. You hate them. But some like them. Thus it has a equal place in this world.)

Rippletonz
Rippletonz

 @willzihang So I'm dying to know, what is it that makes you so qualified to determine the validity of other people's tastes?  Judging by the way you've aligned yourself as superior to basically everybody, you must be some sort of legend.  Can I have your autograph?  Please teach me how to like music better! 

willzihang
willzihang

 @Rippletonz I suppose this is true, in a sense. An educated opinion is quite meaningless to the uneducated. It explains why Justin Bieber-like pop, emo-punk rock (whatever they call it now) and Eminem sell so many CDs. Everyone is entitled to AN opinion, in everything. But, every non-painter would accept they have juvenile taste in paintings; yet, in music, people won't accept this-- because of the commonality of cretins who pick up a guitar and learn how to play a couple of chords, then proceed to call themselves musicians. Technical ability is also an important part of art; you know-- if Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel with a series of stick-men I shouldn't imagine it'd be so treasured.

Rippletonz
Rippletonz

 @willzihang You probably know a lot about music.  Doesn't mean your opinion is worth shit.  o_O

leviathanwing
leviathanwing

 @willzihang  @Rippletonz because elitism makes your opinion indefinitely superior to everyone elses?  and being technically proficient in something doesnt make you subjectively good at it.

willzihang
willzihang

 @Rippletonz Does a painter have a better understanding of painting? Does a sculpture have a better understanding of sculpting?

Rippletonz
Rippletonz

 @willzihang Thanks for letting me know you're a musician.  I value your opinion on the matter 0% more now.