Monday, January 22, 2018

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards - Top Five Best Original Soundtracks

Here it is, later than the site usually does its yearly "Best of" awards, but here all the same -- it's the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards! On its ninth year now, the "Best of" awards spotlight the greatest and brightest in gaming through a wide selection of categories in top five and top ten form.

Our first category and list to kick the ceremony festivities off is the Top Five Best Original Soundtracks of 2017. Music is highly subjective in what's the best and what isn't, but I think we can all prefer the soundtrack selections on this list over a rendition of the Super Mario Bros. theme as played by fingernails scratching on a chalkboard or through hippo farts. Actually, the second one is a little promising... With that bit of class for a classy awards show, let's get to the top five soundtracks that I particularly enjoyed this past year. Changing the tradition a little, I've posted my five samples for each game soundtrack in embedded YouTube playlist form this time around.

5) Gravity Rush 2 (PS4)

Let's start the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards with some style, Gravity Rush 2! The game, featuring a gravity-shifting protagonist named Kat, is a sequel to the PlayStation Vita original. That original game would get ported to the PS4, but now you're lucky to find it used for a sane cost. Regardless, one of the greater aspects of Gravity Rush 2 is its tremendous soundtrack, combining an orchestra with jazzy rhythm and melodies to create a sophisticated, memorable sound. If a soundtrack such as Gravity Rush 2 with its amazing score is but number five on this list, we're in for some great game music coming up!

4) Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (PS4, Vita)

And that's exactly what we're getting with Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. The Ys series routinely houses some of the finest music to come out of the land of the rising sun, despite being a niche series worldwide. A Nintendo Switch version is releasing this summer in North America while the PS4 and Vita versions await a patch to fix the wonky localization. All that aside, the tradition of high quality Ys soundtracks continues with Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, coming with a deluge of harmonious, exquisite, and powerful tracks and themes for listeners in and out of the game to enjoy. It's always a pleasure to hear a new Ys soundtrack, and indeed that tradition also continued with Lacrimosa of Dana.

3) Sonic Mania (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

Tee Lopes is the composer behind the soundtrack of a game that delighted both modern and classic fans of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic Mania sports both brand-new compositions that fit right in quite comfortably with all of the improved remixes from past classic Sonic games. You get some completely fresh themes heard in new zones like Studiopolis and Mirage Saloon that mesh nicely to the familiar remixed themes like Green Hill, Chemical Plant, Hydrocity, Lava Reef, and Metallic Madness. Sonic Mania is the only digital-only game on this list of best original soundtracks, and that's because the quality is of insane proportions. A love letter to Sonic the Hedgehog game fans is also a love letter to those who enjoyed the music of the series when they were young.

2) Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (NSW)

We go from a retro-inspired wonder to a completely epic game with a score that shakes listeners to their very core. It's Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and sitting through the sometimes hackneyed acting and scenarios in the game is made worth it by the exceptional music (oh, and I guess that small thing called "gameplay.") Whether you're embroiled in battle with one of the many rocking tunes that plays while fending off creatures both big and small (and every other size in between) or venturing through open plains, vistas, and city streets, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 offers a treat for the ears. Better yet, the original composers from the first Xenoblade Chronicles are back to weave their skillful tunes, and they do so better than ever. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 most definitely does not disappoint in the music department.

1) Super Mario Odyssey (NSW)

Sometimes it's just cheery music with a drop of insanely catchy melodies that wins me over, and that's exactly why Super Mario Odyssey is my number one pick for the best original soundtrack. While Super Mario Galaxy and Galaxy 2 might have more themes that I adore (they are, after all, my personal favorite game soundtracks), Odyssey is by no means a slouch, as it delivers tune after tune I cherish. From its main theme in Fossil Falls to the awesome scene where Jump Up, Super Star plays, the music is incredibly special and fits every kingdom, gameplay scenario, and area it plays in. The quality of music this year has been phenomenal, and the 3D Mario series continues to routinely have some of the best music in video game history. This has not changed at all with Super Mario Odyssey, winner of SuperPhillip Central's Best Original Soundtrack award.

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