Soundtrack Saturdays: Metal Gear Solid V – Love Deterrence (Acoustic)

I haven’t had much free time to play video games lately, but I’m finally starting to dig into the backlog I’ve accumulated. The first title on my list was Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. You might recall that I’m a huge Metal Gear fan, and for good reason; the series has some of the best cinematic storytelling and cleverly designed gameplay mechanics in the industry. Ground Zeroes wasn’t a full game; it was essentially an early-release prologue for The Phantom Pain, which came out months later. It’s set in 1975, and you’re tasked with infiltrating an American black site in Cuba – a not-so-subtle commentary on Guantanamo Bay – and rescuing two of your allies imprisoned inside. Despite being a playable preview for the bigger game, Ground Zeroes more than proves its concept; you’re allowed to freely explore this massive map, discover its layout, and evade dozens of guards the entire time. The interactivity with objects and vehicles, the use of lighting and perspective, and the acoustics of the rain and voices are amazing.

What I enjoyed most, however, was the music. The series has always been known for its killer soundtracks, but only a handful of the games let you change the background music during gameplay. This time, you can listen to different cassette tapes – again, this is 1975 – thus giving your spy mission a little more flavor. One of the unlockable songs is this acoustic version of Paz’s character theme, “Love Deterrence.” She’s one of the prisoners you have to save, and the somber, romantic guitar melody sums up her relationship with Big Boss perfectly. Explaining the details would spoil the story of Peace Walker, but let’s just say there’s a good reason why a young woman like Paz would be locked up in a military prison…

If you want something a little more lighthearted, you can hear the original J-Pop version of “Love Deterrence” from Peace Walker here. If you want more Metal Gear Solid V, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

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Soundtrack Saturdays: Guilty Gear Xrd – Icarus

Last week, I chose Guilty Gear Xrd’s ending arcade theme. Since then, I’ve been looking through the rest of the game’s excellent soundtrack. Daisuke Ishiwatari is a huge Queen fan (the main character is even named after Freddie Mercury!), so a power ballad like “Icarus” is practically expected. However, there are plenty of other songs that worth a listen. “Heavy Day” has some great vocals and riffs, “Jack-a-Dandy” has a nice jazzy sound, and even the “Menu Theme” is a fine acoustic guitar mix. Pretty sure I know what my first playlist of 2015 is going to be…

If you want more Guilty Gear Xrd, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Guilty Gear Xrd – Lily

Fun fact: Street Fighter II Turbo was the only fighting game I played as a kid. No, seriously. I didn’t know about King of Fighters, Tekken, Virtua Fighter, or any of the other iconic brawlers of the old school gaming generation. So imagine my shock when I first played Guilty Gear X2, one of the greatest fighting games on the PS2. It had incredibly detailed sprites, edgy and stylish characters, fantastic settings, stunning special effects, and an absolutely killer soundtrack. My world was rocked; for that time onward, I made a point of playing every Guilty Gear game I could get my hands on.

I wasn’t the only one, either. After years of re-releases, the fans finally got the next-gen sequel they’d demanded. Guilty Gear Xrd was recently released for the PS3 and PS4, just in time for the holiday season. And from what I’ve played so far, it’s exactly what everyone wanted: several badass characters, stellar voice acting, blisteringly fast-paced combat, incredibly technical gameplay, and graphics that utterly trounce any 2D fighter before it. Of course, it has a ridiculously awesome OST. There’s the usual blends of rock and metal, though there are a few more lighthearted tracks scattered throughout. Daisuke Ishiwatari, the legendary director, artist, writer, and composer behind the Guilty Gear series, happens to be a huge Queen fan. Tracks like “Lily” are fine examples of the work he does.

If you want more Guilty Gear Xrd, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Tekken 6 – Yodeling In Meadow Hill (Hidden Retreat)

Continuing my Tekken fix from the last two weeks, I delved deeper into Tekken 6’s OST and found this gem buried deep in the playlist. This is a song exclusive to to the Bloodline Rebellion, which was a re-release of the previous game, but with more characters and rebalanced combat mechanics. “Yodeling In Meadow Hill” continues in the series’ tradition of trying out different genres and blending them together. It’s hard to say if it’s a parody – yodeling, sheep, and the Matterhorn don’t really work with the game’s dark and demonic theming – but it’s undeniably catchy. And if you think it’s silly, you should check out this hilariously cheesy High School Musical parody track in the Wii U version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Not so bad now, huh?

If you want more Bloodline Rebellion, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Tekken 6 – Edge of Spring (Mystical Forest)

Last week, I posted one of my favorite tracks from Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. In doing so, I realized there were several more awesome songs spread throughout the Tekken series. I decided to check out Tekken 6 first; I’d played it a few years ago, but had mostly forgotten about it. Its soundtrack is an eclectic blend of heavy metal, techno, and instrumentals. Some songs, like the “High Rollers Club,” fit their stage’s tone perfectly. Others, like the “Anger of the Earth,” go for something a little more epic. “Edge Of Spring’s” guitars and piano won me over, though. In a game about demons and martial arts, you need a track like this to mellow things out.

If you want more Tekken 6, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection – Snow Castle

At first glance, it’s easy to overlook Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. It was an update of the Tekken 5, arguably one of the finest 3D fighters ever made and an impossibly tough act to follow. Rather than giving players a wholly new experience, DR retold the story of the previous game and added two more competitors to the already 30+ character roster. Despite its shortcomings, however, the game was one of the biggest successes in 2006, thanks in part to its release on the PSP. Gamers with the handheld console were clamoring for a high-quality exclusive title, and DR pulled it off spectacularly. Years later, it’s still regarded by some as the pinnacle of the Tekken series.

This is thanks in part to the game’s superb soundtrack. Most of the music features remixes of Tekken 5’s playlist, though “Snow Castle” is entirely new track. The combination of chanting, instrumentals, and rock blend perfectly, giving the fights a decidedly epic tone. It was so popular, it received an orchestrated remix in Tekken Tag Tournament 2. The jury is still out on which one is better, though…

If you want more Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, you can find the full OST here or here.

Good gaming, good music.

Space Oddity

I can’t believe I hadn’t heard this amazing cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity until now! This was performed by Chris Hadfield during his time as commander of the International Space Station. It’s another in a long list of reasons why the ISS and astronautics are so awesome.