Game soundtracks should not be underestimated. Not only do they make games more pleasurable for the ears, but a quality musical score can elevate the entire game experience to something extra special with goosebumps. The following 10 games are all nominated in the Soundtrack of the Year category for this year's Golden Joystick Awards. Only one of them can win.
Now you're here, have a listen to a sample from each of the soundtracks that are up for a GJ. When you're done, if you feel inspired, uplifted or aurally aroused, do the right thing and vote with your heart (and your fingers) at the conveniently located Golden Joystick Awards voting page.
Assassin's Creed II
Suitably epic and stirring, the Assassin's Creed II soundtrack was recorded using a 35-piece string ensemble and a 13-person choir. It's composed by Jesper Kyd, who is renowned for his work with developer IO Interactive - namely on the Hitman series. His Freedom Fighters soundtrack was described by Film Score Monthly magazine as "Vangelis on steroids".
An absolute monster of a soundtrack in every sense of the word. 107 noisy-shouty songs from 75 different bands spanning such delightful sub-genres of the 'metal' classification as 'heavy', 'industrial' and 'doom'. In addition to the licensed music, a 70-minute original score was composed by Peter McConnell, whose previous work includes Psychonauts, Escape from Monkey Island and Grim Fandango.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Modern Warfare 2's soundtrack was co-produced by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe, with Zimmer creating the game's main themes and Balfe composing the rest of Modern Warfare 2's music. The two talents make a habit of joining forces in Hollywood - their film credits include Inception, The Dark Knight and Sherlock Holmes.
Final Fantasy XIII
This was the first time a Final Fantasy soundtrack didn't feature music by composer Nobuo Uematsu, who famously worked on the series since the original game in 1987. Instead, composing duties fell to Masashi Hamauzu and, while some fans lamented the absence of Uematsu's trademark themes, the soundtrack was undeniably beautiful and entirely fitting for FFXIII's new direction.
Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City
If anyone knows how to pick perfect tunes for a game, it's Rockstar. And the Episodes from Liberty City soundtrack is no exception. A shit-load of new tracks picked for both episodes - Lost & Damned and Ballad of Gay Tony - with most musical tastes expertly catered for, from hardcore rock to Jamaican dancehall. The 'Here in Liberty City' track by Termanology in the video above is one of several original songs produced exclusively for the soundtrack.
Next: Halo 3: ODST, Heavy Rain, Mass Effect 2, Metro 2033 and Uncharted 2
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