Here's a topic I've been meaning to post for awhile; anyone still feel like actually discussing video game soundtracks?
Since about 2010, my soundtrack collecting really tapered off, around the same time my gaming tapered off for awhile.
I think the only soundtracks I've acquired since then have been:
-The Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy (FFXIII, FFXIII-2, FFXIII-3 a.k.a. "Lightning Returns")
-NieR, and each of its arrange albums (Fifteen Nightmares, Piano Collection, Tribute Album "Echo")
-A few other PS3 JRPG soundtracks (Ends of Eternity, Drakengard 3, Tokitowa, The Witch & The Hundred Knight)
-Wii RPG soundtracks (Arc Rise Fantasia, Xenoblade, Fragile Dreams, Muramasa, Opoona)
-Some Indie Game Soundtracks here-and-there (Closure, Dustforce, Fez, Flower, Guacamelee, Limbo, Lone Survivor, Machinarium, rain, Thomas Was Alone, The Unfinished Swan, VVVVVV)
And fact is, while I still own each of these in some capacity, many of them, I don't even really listen to all that much.
The question I'd like to pose is, what else have I been missing for the past 6 years, that's been really good, if anything?
Indie game soundtracks have been really easy to get, when sometimes they're included with the download of the game, otherwise, you can find them for download on sites like Bandcamp and Loudr, or even Amazon MP3, for $10 or less.
Final Fantasy XIII-2's soundtrack is probably my favorite out of the FFXIII trilogy; "New Bodhum" is a really great theme, has a real warm, bright, optimistic sound to it, evocative of new beginnings; perfect for both the beach environment that it backs, as well as, more or less, the beginning of the game. I actually really liked the vocals in a lot of the game's tracks.
For whatever reason, I never really gave the FFXIII soundtrack as much play time as FFXIII-2; FFXIII-2 just makes me feel happier. However, "Archylte Steppe" (how do you even pronounce "Archylte?") and "Dust to Dust" are my 2 most favorite tracks off the FFXIII OST - "Archylte Steppe" is evocative of an unbound, unrestricted, wide open natural place, while the vocals on "Dust to Dust" are haunting and chilling - in a good way! Well, okay, the battle themes were pretty good, too. "Blinded by the Light" was pretty much the reason I bought the soundtrack! "Vile Peaks" also had a pretty good beat, and the radio transmissions and gothic chanting in it were pretty cool, too. "Sunleth Waterscape" was also pretty good.
FFXIII-3, I tore out 7 tracks; the 3 tracks for Yusnaan, the festival city ("Awaiting the Celebration," "Glittering City of Yusnaan," and "City of Revelry") as well as 4 other tracks, I don't quite remember what they were used for ("Eternal Midnight," "Sunset Path," "Snow's Final Words," "The Savior's Words").
I also rather liked FFXIII-3 from a gameplay standpoint - I actually liked what they did with the battle system; the plot presented an interesting premise - the world's end is inevitable, and you have to save souls for them to be reincarnated - but for the most part, they went nowhere with it, and ended up as every bit contrived and convoluted as the past 2 games.
NieR, I think they kind of botched the soundtrack release with. The track lengths are really too short for my liking (Some of the tracks could've stood to have been twice as long), and many of the tracks, whereas they slowly built-up to the vocals in-game, they simply explode from the start with the vocals from the beginning of the track on the CDs (examples: "Song of the Ancients," "The Incomplete Stone," "Cold Steel Coffin").
Some of the songs were also dynamic, in which they picked up in intensity when you were fighting enemies, and the only parts that are on the soundtrack, are those more intense parts (again, see" The Incomplete Stone" and "Cold Steel Coffin" as examples). I would've recorded these tracks straight from the game, if I knew I wasn't going to be happy with how they presented them on the official soundtrack, but alas, I no longer own the game - and it's actually increasing in value because of its rarity, so that's prospect is only becoming that much more expensive, when I really only want to record about 7-9 tracks.
The Nier Tribute Album "Echo" was probably my most favorite out of the NieR arrange albums, as it presented the widest variety of styles, from electronica, to more subdued orchestral.
Fifteen Nightmares didn't strike me as anything great; the first half was a mix of heavy metal and techno, while the second half, orchestral arrangements.
The NieR Piano Collection was a pretty derivative piano arrangement album, and didn't really do anything special with the original pieces, improvisation, or otherwise.
The Witch & The Hundred Knight is probably my most favorite Tenpei Sato soundtrack ever, some of those instruments here sound live, and the melodies are actually REALLY good. A lot of his work really grates on my nerves, the synth he uses. The violin/viola/fiddle he likes to use in so much of his stuff, while it has annoyed me in the past, I don't find it so grating on this soundtrack. For that matter, this soundtrack is rather dramatic in tone, while most of his previous works have been rather comedic in tone.