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.
When it was first released, Bayonetta was arguably the finest action game of its generation. It had great characters, insanely fast pacing, intricate combat mechnics, and pushed the consoles to their limits. The titular Bayonetta was smart, dangerous, and could utterly crush her opponents with style. What other video game character could summon demons with her hair, walk on walls, slow down time, or equip shotguns on her stilettos?! In the years following its release, the game garnered a huge following and a demand for a sequel. And it finally happened in 2014…on the Wii U. There were a lot of misgivings about it being exclusive title for such a poorly-performing system, but it was eventually revealed that Nintendo were the ones who stepped in to ensure the game’s development. It’s thanks to them that Bayonetta 2 made it to store shelves and has been rocking the gaming world ever since.
It’s worth noting that this song isn’t actually on Bayonetta 2’s official soundtrack. Miracle Of Sound is a well-known and highly respected composer of tribute music for video games and film. “Messing With The Best” perfectly captures the game’s upbeat tone, flashy style, and undeniable fun. It’s also a must for any jogging playlist.
If you want more Miracle Of Sound, you can find his work on YouTube, Bandcamp, and iTunes. If you want to listen to Bayonetta 2’s regular-but-equally awesome soundtrack, you can find it here.
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.
D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die was recently released an XBox One exclusive. It’s about a private investigator who can travel through time, and must recollect the memories surrounding his wife’s murder. It sounds kind of sketchy at first glance – the episodic releases and fact that it uses the oft-maligned Kinect are deal-breakers for some gamers – but it absolutely thrives under the direction of Hidetaka Suehiro, aka SWERY. David Young could’ve just been a generic protagonist, but his penchant for sarcasm and hilarious mannerisms are entertaining. As are the other characters, including a cat-girl roommate, a flamboyant fashion designer, a hammy drug courier, a balding US marshal, a paranoid flight passenger, and a detective capable of Joey Chestnut-levels of food consumption. Also, Young and his cohorts are the most Bostonian characters since The Departed. Seriously, CLAM CHOWDER.
This bizarre investigation is made even better with its soundtrack. The work done by Yuji Takenouchi and Tomomi Teratani is an impressive blend of rock, jazz and funk. Consider the awesome saxophone of “Nu Movement,” the upbeat instrumentals of “Tiptoe,” the haunting vocals of “Arousal,” or the soothing melody of “A String.” Few games these days have OSTs of such high quality, and it’s a travesty that D4 is being overlooked so much. If you have a XBox One, please give it a look. Hopefully the game will get enough support for more episodes.
If you want more D4, you can find previews here and here. Edit: Looks like nearly all the leaked tracks have been taken off of YouTube. The OST has been officially released since the this was posted. More details can be found on the game’s site.
When Katamari Damacy became a sleeper hit in 2004, Namco decided to take the popularity and run with it. A year after the original game, We Love Katamari was released on the PS2. It’s one of the rare examples of a sequel improving on every aspect of its predecessor. The already bizarre narrative was made even more meta, stages were scaled up, there were hundreds of more interactive objects, challenges were more difficult to complete, and there was far more variety in terms of settings and visuals. You want to build a snowman? Try making one with a head the size of a house. On the game’s final stage, your katamari gradually grew from the size of a small animal to rolling up entire countries in the span of a few minutes. Seriously, check it out.
The soundtrack was greatly expanded as well. While the first game utilized mostly rock and jazz, We Love Katamari delved more into instrumentals, beatboxing, and techno tracks. “Heaven’s Rain” is one of the more relaxing songs in the game. The soothing vocals, accordion, and strings always made me want to just kick back and finish the stage at a slow pace…then the beats kicked in.
If you want more We Love Katamari, you can find the full OST here.
If there’s any musical genre that was unexpected for the Katamari Damacy series, it was probably Mambo. But when the trailer for Katamari Forever debuted, this remix of the original Katamari On The Funk stole the show. It rounds out an already eclectic soundtrack with some powerful brass instrumentals and one of the most upbeat rhythms in the entire series. In a game that involves rolling the entire universe up into a gigantic sticky ball, you need a track like this to cheer you on.
If you want more Katamari Forever, you can find part of the OST here.
Pretty sure I’ve mentioned how the LittleBigPlanet series has one of the most eclectic music libraries in gaming. This is especially evident in the first game, which introduces this awesome little number in one of the earliest levels. Newcomers might think the playlist would be nothing but upbeat rock music, only to discover that vocals and guitars go surprisingly well with platforming gameplay. The song only shows up in a couple of areas, but somehow manages to get you humming along hours after you’ve stopped playing.
If you want more LittleBigPlanet, you can find the full OST here.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentionedKatamari Damacy’seclectic soundtrack before. In a game series where you roll up everything into a giant sticky ball, you’d think the music would be overshadowed the bizarreness. But with each successive title, the remixes and sampling became longer and more complex. This is especially evident in this song; in the original game, it was a mellow electronic tune called Lonely Rolling Star. In Beautiful Katamari, it was revamped as a pop song called Sayonara Rolling Star. In Katamari Forever, it was finally remixed from pop into disco. And it sounds awesome. Fun fact: the song is about lovers parting ways. Seriously.
If you want more Katamari Forever, you can find part of the OST here.