It’s that time of year again, where we roll out the red carpet and celebrate the best that 2020 has offered us. In a year that has otherwise been so terrible, the fact that we’ve had a steady stream of such excellent games to play has been nothing but a relief.
It really has been a great year for games, from the big blockbusters right down to the most humble of projects. We’ve had surprises that have come out of nowhere, and long-anticipated games that have managed to meet and exceed our expectations when we’ve finally got our hands on them.
This year, for the DDNet awards, we have 16 different categories to recognise, and as we always do. Music is an often-overlooked quality in video games. Often the best soundtracks are the ones that you almost don’t notice, because they’re there to support the action, but if you then play the game without the sound on you do feel like something important is missing. At other times the soundtrack is a highlight all by itself. Either way, most of our favourite games just wouldn’t be the same without their soundtracks, and the three winners this year all have music that is simply unforgettable.
The thing about big strategy games is that the ambient music needs to be really, really good. Why? Because when you’re 50 hours into a campaign you’ve got to still be enjoying the music, and that’s a heavy burden for any soundtrack to bear. Koei Tecmo nailed it with Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV, and that’s because it covers a wide gamut. Not only because it has excellent music to capture the intensity of battle, but those times where you’re at peace the game does a brilliant job of conveying the lighter and more elegant notes of ancient China. Close your eyes and you could almost imagine that you’re watching a classical Chinese ballet, and that’s a lot of range and nuance for an ambient score to so successfully capture.
Of course, we very much welcome your own picks for each category, so be sure to let us know your thoughts, and we’ll see you tomorrow for the next category!