With 2015 winding down, it's only natural that 'Best Of' lists are beginning to pop up everywhere you look. While games themselves get a lot of attention when it comes to these sorts of lists, the accompanying soundtracks get a little less love. We're here to change that and deliver our list of the ten best soundtracks to grace PlayStation this year.
The Chinese Room's third release – and first to land on a Sony platform – delivered more of the exceptional storytelling people have come to expect from the studio. Alongside this absolutely gorgeous game was a phenomenal score from Jessica Curry. Having composed the music for the studio's previous two releases, Curry very well may have delivered her best score yet. The game has phenomenal instrumentation, but the highlight just might lie with the choral music.
#9 - White Night
French developer Osome Studio were the masterminds behind the monochromatic – with occasional bits of colour – noir horror game. Having emulated noir storytelling, this essentially guaranteed a moody, jazz soundtrack – and that's exactly what we got. While the game may have had its share of problems, these didn't stem from the music. The music was stupendous, be it the ambient tracks, the jazz music, or even the slightly reworked version of Claire de Lune that was used.
#8 - Life Is Strange
Life is Strange was a very interesting release from developer DONTNOD. For starters it was rather polarizing – even among our staff. But one thing that would be pretty hard to disagree on is that the game had an excellent selection of licensed music throughout its five episodes. The bands featured in the game were quite eclectic, including the likes of Mogwai, Bright Eyes, and more. Not to be forgotten though is the beautiful ambient original score that can easily be found throughout the menus, composed by Jonathan Morali, the front man of another band featured in the game – Syd Matters.
Life is Strange wasn't the only game this year to have an excellent licensed soundtrack. Dennaton Games followed up the massive success of the first Hotline Miami – which also had an incredible soundtrack – with another hyper violent, but nonetheless addictively fun release. And that's without mentioning the great meta-narrative. But one of the main draws of this series has always been its slew of fantastic synthwave artists – a genre this particular writer happens to love – including the likes of Perturbator, El Tigre, Carpenter Brut, Mitch Murder, Jasper Byrne, and dozens more.
It's probably of little surprise to anyone that CD Projekt Red's sprawling masterpiece of an RPG found its way onto this list. Just about every single facet of the release was phenomenal, and the soundtrack was no different. The combined efforts of Marcin Pryzbylowicz, Mikolai Stroinski, and Percival saw to it that the music featured in the game matched just about any scenario, be it fighting, chatting with an old flame, or playing Gwent to your heart's content. And thanks to CD Projekt Red's incredible generosity, the soundtrack was included with all retail copies of the game.
#5 - Bloodborne
From Software's spiritual successor and noticeably faster-paced follow-up to the Souls series of games shared another thing in common with them – an amazing soundtrack. Composed by Ryan Amon, Bloodborne had a soundtrack that perfectly encapsulated the haunting Victorian architecture of Old Yharnam and beyond. The series has always had a variety of music that varied between beautiful, haunting, and downright disturbing, and Bloodborne is every bit up to the task of continuing this trend.
#4 - Until Dawn
While Bloodborne garnered much of the attention and conversation when it came to talking about the best exclusive to find itself on a PlayStation platform this generation, we can't help but feel that Until Dawn is every bit as deserving of at least being a part of the conversation. Visually impressive, full of satisfying plot-twists, and an absolute blast to work your way through, Supermassive Games delivered a stellar title. And something that helped make this horror game even more impactful was bringing on Jason Graves to compose the score. Horror fans will probably recognize his name as the composer of the Dead Space games, a horror series with some of the best audio work in the history of the medium. As such, it should surprise no one that the score for this game delivers in spades.
#3 - SOMA
Frictional Games' long awaited follow-up game to Amnesia: The Dark Descent was exceptional. While it wasn't as scary as some may have hoped – us here at Push Square included – it did so many other things well that it's hardly a problem. The narrative's tackling of artificial intelligence and the lines between life and by extension consciousness were nothing short of astounding. The blending of synthetic and organic didn't stop at the narrative, though. The stellar work of composer Mikko Tarmia also did a helluva job blending the two, helping the game's narrative to punch even harder than it might otherwise have done.
#2 - Apotheon
At the beginning of the year, Alientrap's Apotheon was not a game that we would have expected to have been on this list. Not because we didn't think that it would be good, but simply because we just didn't hear a whole lot about it. That all changed when it released, though, as the release delivered fun gameplay, a knockout art direction styled after ancient Greek pottery, and possibly one of the greatest soundtracks that we've ever heard. Marios Aristopoulos definitely deserves some attention for his work on this game.
Now, how does the soundtrack for Apotheon, a game with a score that we've we just described as one of the best that we've ever heard, end up in second on our countdown this year? Well, the answer to that is going up against a score composed by Austin Wintory. For those unfamiliar with the name, Wintory is the composer for thatgamecompany's Journey. That soundtrack was also the first game score to be nominated for a Grammy, after all. One of the strengths of Wintory's catalogue is that he's able to deliver at an incredible level of quality across an extreme range of styles of music, and Assassin's Creed Syndicate brings something new to his portfolio yet again: chamber style music. One of the best things about the score is that it brings an exciting and uncharacteristic sound to a AAA title. While we may have had mixed feelings about the game itself, Austin Wintory easily delivered the best game soundtrack of the year.
So, that's it. We had to leave a slew of great music off our list as we had another strong year for game soundtracks, but we think that we rather successfully whittled the list down to the ten best releases of the year. But the question is, what do you, our readers, think? Did we get it right? Or did we muck it up and get everything wrong? Leave thoughts in the comments.
What was your favourite PlayStation soundtrack of 2015? (44 votes)
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Life Is Strange
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
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