Composer: Gareth Coker
Ori and the Will of the Wisps carries on the franchise’s tradition of having beautifully orchestrated and moving themes throughout. Each area in the game has a defined motif and instrument set that suits the visuals perfectly. Not every soundtrack holds up outside of the medium it’s designed for either, but Ori’s themes are fantastic even on their own.
Composers: Ilan Eshkeri, Shigeru Umebayashi
Ghost is a superbly designed game overall, and its soundtrack is perhaps the least appreciated component. There’s so much feeling oozing from each note, the tempo and energy perfectly matched to each scene. Traditional Japanese instruments and themes are used beautifully, both during epic battles and while charging through yet another field of flowers. Most of the time, the music fades into the background while the gorgeous art gets the headlines. But at the perfect moment, a string triplet, or drum strike, or gentle flute reminds you of the stakes behind Jin’s journey. It’s a fantastic score, and deserving of more recognition than it received.
Composer: Darren Korb
A roguelite requires a catchy soundtrack that you’ll never get tired of, and Darren Korb’s work on Hades does exactly that. The music always scales perfectly to the situation, rising and falling as Zagreus takes on the various circles of hell. It instills a sense of calm while still generating a white knuckle atmosphere. It’s a bizarre marriage of acoustic, electric, and electronic components, somehow working together in perfect harmony. It’s one of the more listenable soundtracks of the year.
Composers: Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Mitsuto Suzuki
Nobuo Uematsu is a video game legend, having created some of the most beloved scores in history. Arguably, Final Fantasy 7 is the cream of the crop. The challenge of taking those well known melodies and creating something truly new was an epic one. And the team absolutely delivered. There’s an incredible variety of music in Final Fantasy VII Remake, to the point that almost every boss battle has its own version of “Those Who Fight Further”. Series veterans will certainly recognize a lot of what’s going on here – much like the game as a whole – but the Remake is musically its own thing. And when the third phase of the Jenova battle drops the beat? Chef’s Kiss.
Composer: Mick Gordon
What can we really say here? Never has a score more perfectly suited the material. Mick Gordon’s driving metal guitars fuel the tension of the game’s encounters brilliantly, pushing further and further into the realm of ‘absurdly metal’. Sure, it follows the same formula as the 2016 game, but the lineage to classic Doom games remains obvious. If anything, Doom Eternal’s soundtrack fits the content even better than Doom 2016.
Which 2020 game had your favorite music? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or the Comments section below. Be sure to check out the other awards for COGconnected’s Game of the Year such as Best Character, Best Surprise, and Best Performance.
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