Last week, we covered some of the most heart-wrenching soundtracks in video game history. And yet, with thousands of choirs backing the industry, it would feel like an insult to the talented souls behind the art if we only made one list. That's why we're back again for the encore edition of our breathtaking musical performances series. With another five instantly-recognisable video game anthems, here's hoping we can bring just a little piece of nostalgia to your speakers.
As I said before, it takes a great deal to compile an extraordinary video game. While having a captivating hook of a plotline and an intriguing volley of characters can work wonders for the development of a video game — it can potentially flatline without a powerful sound design. Every perfect game needs one in order to be branded as an icon in the industry. Every developer needs to take note of those who have acquired such talent and implemented it into their works. And, above all — every player needs to pay respects to the beauty that many successfully capture. Here are five more breathtaking tracks from video game history.
5. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim — “The Song of the Dragonborn“
As if strolling through a battlefield with that overwhelming sense of feeling invincible wasn't enough. Now, with the addition of this absolute monster of a track, you're shaping up to be almost godlike on the playground. You don't even have to understand a single word here, because the orchestra speaks sensational volumes for itself. Every note, every break and every beat strikes an almighty drum in our hearts — and we're living for it.
The Elder Scrolls has always done a superb job at filling its enormous adventures with groundbreaking scores. We're always left to feel a strong series of emotions — whether it be in the middle of a raging battle or in the pits of a forbidden spire. Skyrim captures some truly outstanding feelings from beginning to end, though “The Song of the Dragonborn” definitely stands at the forefront of the soundtrack.
4. God of War (2018) — “God of War“
Seeing as we're on the topic of godlike sensations — it would only be right that we include the man himself. Again, with God of War homing quite a few major scores that range from powerful to melancholic, it's not the easiest task in trying to pinpoint a single piece. And yet, I'm incredibly drawn to one track in particular. “God of War“, which, of course, stems from the 2018 chapter, has achieved something that other works have not. Though, I can't quite put my finger on what that special ingredient is.
Perhaps it was the five-year hiatus that God of War took before swinging out of retirement. Maybe it was the combined feelings of nostalgia and excitement that made this opening track one to remember. Like seeing an old friend emerge from a long and sorrowful slumber — we thought only of what the future would bring. Kratos rose from the ashes in a brand new chapter, and we were left to tackle the sudden hairs flinging from the back of our necks. Now that's how you set the tone for a game, people.
3. Uncharted 4 — “Nate's Theme 4.0“
We've had our fair share of renditions of the iconic “Nate's Theme“, but nothing quite captures the heroic feel like the one featured in Uncharted 4. Like reuniting with our oldest companion, we took to Drake with open arms as we glanced back at years worth of heartfelt memories. That is, of course, until the 1:43 mark, where emotions suddenly begin to dwindle into darker territories. That's where we know things are about to take a turn for the worse. The happy times are booted from the slate and the sudden sense of dread is thrown onto the table. Uncharted 4 makes its introduction.
Naughty Dog has been able to assemble a beautiful cast to represent Nathan Drake and the many action-packed tales over the years — but the crowning achievement here lies with this instantly-recognisable track. “Nate's Theme 4.0” is both beautifully constructed as well as masterfully portrayed. Everything screams adventure and eternal glory from beginning to end, and it all rounds off as one of the most famous scores in gaming history.
2. Mass Effect 3 — “Leaving Earth“
While Mass Effect 3 suffered from a mixed response over the ending portion of the game, the heart-wrenching opening was praised for all the right reasons. Not only did the third chapter set the table to the concluding events of the series, but also bring millions of players to their knees over a genuinely heartbreaking prologue. That's not something every developer can do with the first few minutes of a game. And yet, “Leaving Earth” had its listeners tearing up before the title card even opped up. That's how well BioWare packaged the final segment.
Mass Effect ran through a whole bundle of stories over its five-year narrative — each homing an ideal score. And, while the temptation to pull “The Fleets Arrive” from the bag is definitely there, I can't quite come to terms with removing “Leaving Earth” from the slate. This track was the bittersweet beginning to an unfortunate ending, and will forever be imprinted in the memories of any Mass Effect fan.
1. Halo 3 — “Never Forget“
As far as powerful title menu music goes — Halo 3 has it in the bag. In fact, it's something we could probably sit back and listen to for hundreds of hours on a loop without so much as a care in the world. Both memories of the original trilogy and our younger years as a whole come to life through “Never Forget” — and it truly is an enchanting experience. It's emotionally invigorating and tranquil, and every split-second speaks volumes over its renowned history as a franchise.
Bungee strung together one of the most respected platforms of all time on Xbox. Even after almost 15 years since the book was closed on Halo 3, fans are still throwing themselves back to rediscover the oldest jewel in the chest. “Never Forget” encapsulates raw emotion and nostalgia in one celebrated track, and we will forever be looking back on those golden days of 360 gaming because of it.