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Take 5: Epic Soundtracks – Video Games

More than a score to settle.

Firstly, welcome to my new weekly segment, “Take 5 Tuesdays”. These types of post will be more audio/video based with some brief descriptions. Each week I’ll pick five of my favourite and/or interesting things about various topics and list them here. These entries are intended to pique interest and engagement with my audience as well as be light-hearted and a bit of fun. I thought about calling it Top 5 Tuesdays, but I found that to be too constricting for what I wanted, plus this will be a Take 5 checklist you’ll actually want to complete. So, if your heartline plateaus at the thought of Plato then this is the place for you! I hope you enjoy this new section and I look forward to reading your comments.

Music has a great way of making (or breaking) a scene and the perfect score can really add to and enrich the feelings and emotions of what is happening in front of you. So, without further ado, here are five epic soundtracks from video games.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

One of the few games where you don’t mind leaving it on the main title screen to hear the theme play over and over again. The heroic main theme (which they invented a new language just for the lyrics) is so heroic that I genuinely feel like I can go out and tame the wild lands and slay dragons, it is magnificent. Some of my favourite tracks include, “From Past to Present”, “Secunda”, “Far Horizons”, “Tundra” and “Wind Guide You” (the build-up in Wind Guide You is particularly amazing). There is a YouTube channel called “Geytkeypur” which does many extensions/loops of the music from The Elder Scrolls series (including earlier games such as Oblivion and Morrowind) which may be worth checking out if you’re interested.

The Witcher 3 (2015)

Arguably one of the most epic games ever created deserves an equally epic soundtrack, and that The Witcher 3 delivers in spades. There is no moment in the game for which there is not a fitting piece of music backdropping the experience. Such was the success of game (and soundtrack) there was even an “in concert” version performed live which was fantastic and you can easily find on YouTube. There’s so many good tracks (too many to list), but a few of the more notable ones for me include, “Kaer Morhen”, “The Tree When We Sat Once”, “The Wolf and the Swallow”, “Fields of Ard Skellig” (possibly my favourite), “The Slopes of The Blessure” and “Wolven Storm” (because I’m a bit of a romantic sop – oh, Yennefer!).

God of War (2018)

Boy! This game blew my socks off in 2018 and is arguably one my greatest experiences in video games. Needless to say, it has a pretty God-like soundtrack. Just listening to Kratos’ theme, you know you’re not to be fucked with. In a game of epic proportions, there is a good balance of amazing fight sequences and touching moments, matched perfectly by the score. I’ve never played a game that has made my testosterone levels rage like God of War did (hell, there's even a "Rage" action you can press once you've built up your special meter). I had to make sure I didn’t play it too late at night or for too long as it would take me ages to calm down haha!

Assassin’s Creed II (2009)

Ubisoft sequel to its original flawed genius left a profound mark on me and I still return to the soundtrack regularly. I could write an entire thesis on Ezio’s epic adventure (which spawned two more successive games), but I’ll spare you my obsessive love affair. Deep in the heart of Renaissance Italy, the Florentine and Venetian vibes are strong in this one. The iconic “Ezio’s Family” theme which has become a stalwart in the series, is a beautiful piece of music. When I was in Italy a few years back I went to the places that I had been to in the game and played the soundtrack for a truly magical experience. Outside of the theme, some of my favourite tracks include, “Earth”, “Venice Rooftops”, “Home in Florence”, “Tour of Venice” (being on the rooftops or in a gondola at night with this playing is true bliss), “Dreams of Venice”, “Leonardo’s Inventions Part I”, “Sanctuary” and “Salvation of Forli”.

Red Dead Redemption I (2010) & II (2018)

Yes, I going to cheat on this one and use both games as one entry as this is a dictatorship and not a democracy. I really haven’t stuck by the brevity of words so I thank you for making it this far. Red Dead Redemption I & II are everything you could possibly want from a wild west gunslingin’ outlaw video game. The first game was a massive hit and an iconic video game legend was born in John Marston. Fast forward to 2018 and a new legend emerged in Arthur Morgan, for some superseding Marston. The pacing of RDR II was impeccable and deliberately slower which I think improved the delivery of the story and exploration of the world. The campfire songs were incredible and hard not to singalong with and naturally the heartstrings were pulled a few times throughout. My favourite song from the first one is “Compass”, which is a truly beautiful song and it comes at the moment where Marston is allowed to go back to his family on his ranch…and believe me after everything that he had gone through up until this point, I rode that horse like the wind with tears streaming down my face. In RDR II, two songs stuck out for me, “That’s The Way It Is” and “May I, Stand Unshaken”, both used at incredibly emotional parts of the game. In the epilogue, where you play as Marston, the part where “American Venom” comes on in the final mission of the game, man you feel like a boss.

So, there you have it, five epic video gaming soundtracks. I know I said I’d be brief, but hey, you love me…and I’ll see you again next week!

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