The Power of a GOOD Video Game OST
Last night, I caught myself on youtube listening to select tracks from the Baten Kaitos OST. While the game is hardly popular, and not to mention about five years old, the game(and its sequel) hold up for a few reasons but one of those has always been its fantastic OST. Baten Kaitos had music in it that completely added to the package of the game. The music sounded calm when necessary, and cool when it wanted to be and it worked. Not only that, but a lot of the songs carry a ton of weight emotionally, which further helped me and even other players connect with the story, world and characters. Listening to some of these songs got me thinking, and one huge factor that is often undermined is the original soundtrack of a game, and how it creates a bond between the gamer and the game itself. The Baten Kaitos series will always be one of my favorite series of all time and the amazing sountrack that Motoi Sakuraba composed is part of my reason for that.
Of course, there are tons of other games that had amazing soundtracks that added to my overall liking of the game. While Baten Kaitos was probably the first game to get me to actually consider a soundtrack in games (I was a novice up until that point in my gaming career), other JRPG's, like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, and games in the Tales Series (specifically Symphonia, Abyss and Vesperia in this case) had soundtracks that contained songs that are some of my favorite today.
The thing is, even the most legendary franchises today have OST's that completely blew me away, and still do today with various arrangements, covers and re-imagining's of past songs. Metroid is one of my favorite examples, providing an almost incomparable sound that resonates with the title series, as well as the specific games they come from. Prime's Phendrana Drifts will remain to many one of the most amazing video game songs in history, and rock arrangements like "Earthroot", a cover of "Brinstar's Red Soil" from Super Metroid are all awesome to listen to, and very reminicent.
The Legend of Zelda's 25th anniversary symphony is no ommition to my point here. The title track, which contains select arrangements from songs within the Zelda series is one of my favorites, especially with their orchestral versions of Dragon Roost Island and the various Twilight Princess themes. Especially with The Legend of Zelda, my point couldn't be any clearer. The series is known for things like its puzzles, iconic characters and gameplay, but the fantastic music might be one of the most important aspects of it.
OST's have the power to completely shape moments and define a setting, character, or even an overall game. This year's Batman: Arkham City holds one of THE most powerful scene's in gaming (to me) and the music was part of that decision. Though, it was completely optional, there is a scene where Batman find's the street where his family was murdered and he pays his respects by taking a knee, and a moment of silence. This silence is broken by a subltle but powerful tune that stirs up some powerful emotions. When I reached this point, I didn't expect to, but I actually took that time to remember what Batman was fighting for as a character, and the importance of that. Sure it's all fictional, but the scene was powerful none-the-less.
Other games like Mass Effect 2 have music that define a moment, like the music that plays in the game's final cutscene. I won't describe it because the scene contains major spoilers, but anyone who has beaten Mass Effect 2 knows just how epic that final scene is, and how the music simply made the wait for Mass Effect 3 unbarable.
I could go on, and on about other series OST's like Halo, Metal Gear Solid, and even games like Pokemon but the point is pretty clear. Whether you notice it or not, a games OST is just as intergral to the experience as the gameplay and story. A good OST defines moments, characters and ultimately the experience a player has when they play the game. Take that into consideration if you havn't already, and you may realize just how much more awesome your favorite game is when you consider it's OST.