When it comes to quality video game music, one of the standouts in RPGs these days is the Falcom Sound Team jdk. This is proven once again with the release of Ys: Memories of Celceta on the PlayStation Vita. There are many fantastic soundtracks from 2013 games, but this one stands above the rest to win this award. The Memories of Celceta score offers a wide variety of emotionally charged music from intense action tracks to calm, flowing pieces.
One standout track is "Ancient Land," a track that plays later in the game and blends rocking guitar segments perfectly with violin and piano sections. The piece builds to a fantastic violin solo about halfway through and continues right back into high tempo action. This track alone is not only fantastic outside of the game, but fits perfectly in the area of the game in which it's played.The same is true of so many of the game's pieces. "Theme of Adol" offers a calm feeling with its lovely chimes. Other tracks like "Prelude to Truth" bring about a sense of foreboding, which matches the mystery of Celceta's story. The game's end boss theme is also fantastic, bringing an extra level of tension to the chaotic final battle. Everything about this soundtrack is fantastic, so it was an easy victory for Best Music of 2013.
This year's runner-ups in Best Music were no joke, as there was a lot of great RPG music in 2013. A close second is the magnificent soundtrack to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. From its action-paced battle themes to its lovely area pieces, this game offers a great deal of variety and proves right from the start this is not a lazy soundtrack. This is especially true when watching the opening cinematic and hearing the haunting song "Answers" sung by the lovely Susan Calloway. While offering many great background tracks, Masayoshi Soken (the reboot's primary composer) really shows off his abilities in his music for the primal battles. The intense Titan battle is accompanied by a rocking metal track, but even more awesome than that is the haunting "Fallen Angel" song that the Garuda fight is set against. A Realm Reborn's masterful OST shows once again that Square Enix knows how to do MMO music.
While it might be hard to believe that a dungeon crawler could be ranked among the top for the best music of the year, one listen to the tracks from Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan shows that it deserves to be on this list. The soundtrack contains some very intense battle themes, which is a good fit with the stress some of these fights can put you under. The real highlight of Etrian Odyssey IV's soundtrack, though, is from its area pieces. The music from "Area II - The Red Stone Forest" is as ominous as the dungeon itself. Then you have eerily beautiful tracks like "Labyrinth III - Grotto of the Adamantine Beast" that continue to give off a vibe that is a perfect fit for a game about exploration and adventure. While this game might not seem like best music material from the outside, it truly is one of the best of the year on the inside.
by Michael A. Cunningham