This year - 2015 - has been one of the finest years for games ever. The new console really hit their strides, and we saw some superb games really start to leverage the power that they offered. At the same time, the independent developers really started to break out and produce games that are creative and artistic, but every bit as refined as the finest of the AAA-titles.
Every year we run a series of awards, celebrating the finest games that we've seen across each platform, and a number of key categories (art, narrative, sound, and so forth). Each day we'll unveil the winner, as well as the key runner's up, one category per day.
What were your favourite games of the year in each category? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
Another one of our pet favourite categories, we love a game that has a great soundtrack. Music enhances a game, giving it its emotional power and highlighting the aesthetics to help build its atmosphere. Without music, our favourite games would be soulless, or even unplayable (after all, how could someone play a rhythm game without music?).
In fact, in a very subtle way, music is almost the most important part of a game. Without a good soundtrack we wouldn't find ourselves nearly as immersed in the experience, and without that immersion we probably wouldn't enjoy the game nearly as much. So, really, it is the soundtrack that takes a game we enjoy, and turns it into a game we love.
And we love all the winners this year.
Ar Nosurge Plus
If Ar Nosurge is an example of what happens when a sound designer works his way through the ranks to director, I’m hoping a lot of other music artists follow his lead. Ar Nosurge is a deeply rhythmic game, with everything, right down to the combat system itself, expertly paced to follow the same rises and falls that you might expect to experience over the course of a symphony. Because of that, if the soundtrack itself wasn’t powerful, the game wouldn’t be effective.
Oh boy is the soundtrack powerful. No other game is able to shift between melancholia to uplifting ballads and on to comedic little ditties quite as effectively as this one.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night
Persona 4 has one of the finest pop-style soundtracks that we’ve seen through the history of videogames, so the idea of remixing them to stick into the context of a rhythm game could have gone either way. As its presence in these awards probably suggests, Persona 4: DAN went the right way. There’s perhaps fewer tracks than we would have liked (and considering that this game is about Risette, not to have her dungeon song, Theater, from Persona 4, as one of the remixes is a bit odd), but what is there is great stuff, giving the game the verve of an old-school disco, which the rest of the game pulls off with all kinds of kitsch cool.
Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX
Like any other game stood a chance. Hatsune Miku absolutely dominates the hearts and souls of just about everyone that hears her music, and to build a game entirely around that is to build a game that, from end-to-end, resounds with charm and panache. There will always be a track or two in there that you’ll find to be a dud, but with one of the largest tracklists in Miku franchise history, Project Mirai plays a little like Miku’s greatest hits, and if you’re even slightly interested in her, that’s all you’ll need to know.
The only difference is that “greastest hits” albums only tend to land as the artist’s star starts to fade. You all don’t know the half of it – Miku is only just getting started.