Thursday, December 26, 2019

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2019 Awards - Top Five Best Original Soundtracks

The festivities officially begin here with SuperPhillip Central's Best of 2019 Awards! For over a decade now, SPC has awarded the best and boldest of gaming each year. What follows these next 7-9 days is a variety of categories in top five form and one final top ten for SPC's favorite games of 2019.

Let's get things underway with our first category: Best Original Soundtracks. With music being something that is of a highly subjective nature--more so than a lot of other categories lined up for this week of awards--it all comes down to whatever tickled SPC's fancy--or in this case, the ears--the most. These five games sport the best soundtracks that come solely from gaming and no outside source such as heavily licensed music. Without further ado, let's kick SPC's celebration of gaming off with some great music!

5) Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (PS4, XB1, PC)

Starting off this soundtrack countdown, we soar in the skies with Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown's monumentally marvelous and memorable musical score. No doubt the highlight of the soundtrack is the piece of music that caps the entire journey, Daredevil. It's a piece of music that brings with it a tremendous emotional punch and gives just the right amount of energy to deliver some serious feelings. Elsewhere on the soundtrack are themes that bring a great sense of urgency, action, and impact, all perfect for a grandiose aerial adventure.

4) Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

Be forewarned: we may see a lot of this next game in numerous categories of SuperPhillip Central's Best of 2019 Awards. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair made no attempt to hide its clear inspiration from the Donkey Kong Country series, and it helps that several folks who worked on those games worked on this one. That includes one of the composers of the game: David Wise, who was joined by a bounty of talent in the form of Grant Kirkhope and two relatively newcomers, Matt Griffin and Dan Murdoch, who contributed several tracks to the game. Some of these are my favorites on the entire soundtrack, such as the Aquatic Ambiance-esque Factory Fright - Flooded. The Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair soundtrack does not hit the same highs as the best in the Donkey Kong Country series, but it's no slouch in the musical score department either!

3) Team Sonic Racing (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

Our next video game soundtrack of 2019 incorporates several remixes from past Sonic the Hedgehog games in it, including music from Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Unleashed, and past Sonic racing games. It's Team Sonic Racing, and aside from the expertly crafted new remixes by a wide array of musical talent, such as Crush40, Jun Senoue, Tee Lopes, the Hyper Potions, and more, there are several brand-new tracks. Of course, there's the prerequisite of a modern Sonic game to have a vocal main theme, and Green Light Ride rocks and hits all the right notes. That notwithstanding, the all-new music themes heard in the Planet Wisp series of races, for instance, all deliver fantastic high-energy themes.

2) Fire Emblem: Three Houses (NSW)

Fire Emblem never fails to feature a stirring, riveting and sensational soundtrack--especially these past few entries--and Fire Emblem: Three Houses certainly does not buck this trend. Whether it's gallivanting around Garreg Mach Monastery to the peaceful and restful theme that plays, or hearing Fodlan Winds, Tempest of Seasons, or one of many of the stellar battle themes that accompany the action and terrific tactical combat of the game, Fire Emblem: Three Houses devotes itself to a high level of polish. This no doubt seeps deeply into the soundtrack, so hopefully these examples remain available to listen to in order to give you an idea on just how remarkable the music really is.

1) Kingdom Hearts III (PS4, XB1)

The splendid Yoko Shimomura, whose mastery of music making is well known, brought her "A" game once more to the Kingdom Hearts series with the third numbered installment of the series, Kingdom Hearts III. Taking numerous past themes from the series and reworking them with the full majesty of a full orchestra, as well as composing wholly original pieces of music in addition to this, made the Kingdom Hearts III soundtrack resonate greatly with me. That said, I shouldn't give total credit to Ms. Shimomura, regardless of her excellent ability. The soundtrack's breadth and depth was helped by Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito who contributed to the music, too. Kingdom Hearts III was a team effort, and emphasis on the effort, as it truly shows with the magnificent music and sounds one can hear from the game.

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