2022 TechRaptor Awards Best Soundtrack

2022 TechRaptor Awards - Best Soundtrack

Published: January 10, 2023 11:00 AM

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When thinking about what makes any one game or series iconic, the first thing people might think of are the characters. A close second, and maybe first for quite a few, is a game's music. Just how different would Mario feel without the iconic music to accompany the series? Who can't immediately conjure up the chanting from Halo's theme song? We think 2022's soundtracks may add to the list of iconic tunes.

Here are the nominees for TechRaptor's Best Soundtrack Award for outstanding overall score.

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Check out here for our other award categories and nominees.


Readers' Choice Winner - Elden Ring

Developer: FromSoftware | Release Date: February 25th, 2022

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Video game music is at its best when it can put you in a specific moment. For many it goes somewhat unnoticed because of just how integrated into the experience it is but the nostalgic recall upon hearing it outside of the game can be extremely powerful. Elden Ring is full of tracks that achieve that in spades, from enhancing the atmosphere in the many places in the Lands Between to the epic boss encounters littered throughout. 

Third Place - Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - Reunion

final fantasy 7 crisis core reunion soundtrack

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Developer: Square Enix, Tose | Release Date: December 13th, 2022

Written by Erren Van Duine

When Square Enix claimed that Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - Reunion was “more than a remaster,” they weren’t kidding. While the core (pun intended) of the story remains intact, it’s everything else that saw a massive overhaul, such as the visuals, the battle system, the voice cast -- and even the soundtrack. That isn’t to say the original version was bad -- it’s far from it actually, as it remains one of the more iconic sounds of the PSP generation -- but Reunion took composer Takeharu Ishimoto’s score and dialed it up to new heights with a full treatment that includes new arrangements while still maintaining its overall aesthetic.

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This is important because, for better or worse, fans tend to hold onto all that makes Final Fantasy VII so appealing, and a huge part of that has always been its music. Crisis Core Reunion is no different, as the enhanced score brings those familiar sounds back to life in the modern age. The updated arrangements speak volumes to their intention – it’s clear Square Enix is trying to create a more consistent tone between the games of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and the on-going Final Fantasy VII Remake project. It’s working, too, because the updated score is a delight to hear in-game and will definitely be worth checking out on a standalone release.

Second Place - Elden Ring

elden ring soundtrack

Developer: FromSoftware | Release Date: February 25th, 2022

Written by Robert Scarpinito

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FromSoftware’s tough-as-nails games aren’t for everyone, but luckily, you don’t need to fight a boss 50 times to appreciate the grandiose, epic scale of the Elden Ring original soundtrack. With soaring strings, powerful percussion, and a harrowing choir, your journey through the Lands Between are accompanied by quiet majesty, bombastic thunder, and everything in between. 

Starscourge Radahn,” composed by Shoi Miyazawa, has an imposing, one-two bassline, mirroring the eponymous giant warrior. “Mohg, Lord of Blood,” also by Miyazawa, transforms from a waltz with death to a mad shuffle for survival, mimicking the fight itself. The solemnity in “Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon,” by Yuka Kitamura, perfectly captures the grief and haunting beauty of the fight. 

Perhaps most iconic of all, however, is the motif in the title song, “Elden Ring,” by Tsukasa Saitoh. It plays on the title screen, in the opening cutscene, and in the final fight with Radagon. It’s this triumphant march toward glory, bookending the game’s exciting start and magnificent finish. 

The best game music always takes you back to a moment, and the Elden Ring soundtrack absolutely does. For those who have played it, one quick listen of “Limgrave” will do exactly that. 

Winner - Metal: Hellsinger

metal hellsinger soundtrack

 

Developer: The Outsiders | Release Date: September 15th, 2022

Written by Robert Grosso

Metal: Hellsinger is the type of game I am shocked it took this long to create. A unique take on the rhythm genre that mashes up the bullet hell aesthetic with the fast-paced, boomer shooter gameplay this side of Doom seems like a mashup that shouldn't work, but it does in spades. But what makes Metal: Hellsinger shine so brightly is the rhythm that underlines the entire experience -- the game's soundtrack.

Creating in-house music was the major factor in why. I'm sure most metalheads would love to blow heads off while headbanging to Master of Puppets, but to keep costs down and to make sure the game's layered gameplay can keep up with the mechanics, songs had to be carefully measured and constructed for the gameplay. The result is over fourteen high-octane metal tunes performed by the band Two Feathers, which make for great listening even outside of the game world.

Throw the extra cherry on top with some of the more recognized vocalists in the metal community out there, such as Serj Tankia, Alissa White-Gluz, and Mikael Stanne, and you have a stound track that delivers on being powerful, dynamic, and appealing to diehard metal fans without being too alienating to outsiders at the same time.

Metal: Hellsinger, in short, delivers the goods in a way that compliments both the gameplay and the listener, making it some of the best sounds of the year.