Falcom's JDK Sound Team has been producing quality music tracks for years. The soundtrack for The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter is just another example, standing at the top of this year's western releases despite being created ten years ago, when the game was first released in Japan. Second Chapter's soundtrack builds on the already well-loved score from the first game and, much like the game's story, ramps up the emotion and intensity as the two-game story reaches its apex.
The score makes great use of its main theme, "The Whereabouts of Light," with variations and riffs on its eminently catchy tune greatly used to help convey emotional bonding and familiarity in scenes and locations. In combat the music is no less excellent, with an assortment of exciting boss and combat themes that are great at getting players roused up for the occasion. The way it remains incredibly catch throughout and how it uses both familiar and new tracks to create an experience full of the whole range of emotions earns Trails in the Sky Second Chapter a well-deserved win for Best Music.
With The Witcher 3, the music is less concerned with creating immediately recognizable ear worms and more with setting a proper tone, which it succeeds at with aplomb. The often understated score works to become another voice in the crowd in Novigrad or to accompany another breathtaking vista just around the corner. And most can agree that hearing any one of the Gwent themes can trigger a Pavlovian response. Priscilla's performance lets series fans finally hear a famed song about Geralt in one of 2015's most touching musical moments. The Witcher 3's score provides a memorable and strong capstone to the series.
Final Fantasy Type-0 was initially feared to be trapped forever in Japan, which would have been a shame if only because of all the people who would have missed out on the game's fantastic soundtrack. Thanks to Final Fantasy Type-0 HD becoming a reality, music lovers are able to enjoy Takeharu Ishimoto's updated offering for this new release. His recurring motifs work together throughout the entire soundtrack to craft a masterful set of songs. Tracks such as "Rem Tokimiya," "Machina Kunagiri," "War: The Quiet Bloodbath," and "War: The White Weapon" are just a few standout examples from this diverse offering that provides haunting melodies and rocking battle themes. We can't help but imagine this one would have ranked higher had its soundtrack been used to a greater extent in-game, but despite that, Ishimoto's reworked music for this HD version is still amazing.
by Alex Fuller, Zack Webster, Michael Cunningham