It’s that time of year where we celebrate the memorable games from the last year. The best, the best-looking, the one’s that kept us on the edge of our seat, and the ones that nearly had us tossing the controller in frustration. Be sure to check out the other MTV Multiplayer Best of 2012 lists!
In 2012, we taken a closer look at some of the soundtracks gracing the games we liked throughout the year–from the orchestral, Hollywood-style scores by award-winning composers to curated collections featuring indie and underground hits.
So what sounded good in games in 2012?
This presented a welcome challenge: a lot of games sounded pretty good, and it took some time to whittle the choices down to just a top three. That’s not going to stop us from pointing your earholes towards some worthy runners-up.
Composer Daniel Licht, for instance, provided a haunting, lonely score for Arkane’s “Dishonored,” while Massive Attack’s Neil Davidge did the good work of finding a new sound for the “Halo” universe. If we’re talking AAA games, Jesper Kyd did some excellent work on the “Darksiders II” soundtrack, as his replacement(s) on the “Hitman” franchise, Thomas Bärtschi, Peter Kyed, Peter Peter and Dynamedion. And if you played either “Adventure Time” for the 3DS or “FTL,” both of those game’s looping soundtracks might have gotten stuck in your head, but you really didn’t mind all that much in the long run, the former’s high-octane chiptunes getting us pumped up and ready to go on a quest just thinking about it.
Finally, if only there was a special award for “Take Us Back” by Alela Diane, which played at the end of Telltales’s “The Walking Dead.” Just thinking about it now… look away, we’ve got something in our eye.
But there can be only one… or three. Here are the games with the tracks at the top of the stacks. Or something like that.
3. “Army Corps of Hell” (Various artists)
This game was pretty under the radar during the Vita launch, and unfortunately, we never got around to our review. But if we did, we would have mentioned that this metal-heavy infernal “Pikmin”-like, whose soundtrack features Japanese acts like Volcano (“Hell In the Paradise”) and Fastkill helped this Square Enix-published game make your ears bleed like no other title this year.
2. Hotline Miami (Various artists)
Conjuring up a strung-out version of late-80’s Miami filtered through slow-rolling beats and massive distortion, the “Hotline Miami” soundtrack kept our heads nodding even as we were trying to avoid getting our brains splattered all over the place. Jasper Byrne, Huervo, M|O|O|N, and others gave it the sound of a Michael Mann movie as filtered through the paranoid fantasies of a twitchy junkie.
But the best soundtrack of the year ended up being the work of one man:
“Krater,” Christian Gabel
It’s not common to have a video game soundtrack with a legend behind it, but these sounds created for a movie that didn’t exist ended up energizing developer Fatshark’s game. From our review:
The most remarkable thing about the soundtrack though, is that even knowing that it was made for a game and knowing what that game looks like, when I close my eyes, I can’t see it. It evokes more than the RPG it accompanies, and it feels bigger and more expansive than the the pixel action it’s currently tethered to (no offense meant to Krater the game, Gabel’s work here just seems to fiddle around with so many elements that would be hard to imagine pegged to a specific chapter/level/cutscene in a game).
Special Award: Whose Terrible Idea Was This Anyway Award For Terrible Music Placement
That “Black Ops II” ending (Spoilers): First off, let’s give a shoutout to “Make It Bun Dem,” the Skrillez/Damian Marley dubstep/reggae collaboration in the “Far Cry 3″ pot fields mission, which starts out well enough before it crinkles and crunches up into ridiculousness. But the award has to go to this utterly embarrassing post-credits sequence featuring Avenged Sevenfold which retroactively blunts the intensity of the game’s villain.
Most damning of all, it sounds like this:
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