Rec's Video Game Song of the Year 2013 (Yes, 2013)

This is a weird one, I know. Since 2010 I've kept track of my favorite video game songs each year, and ranked the top 10. I used to write a blog with it, the last one being 2012. I didn't write one in 2013, I think by that time I had burnt out on writing or realized that writing for myself was pointless. I don't know, two years ago was a long time ago. I still ranked the songs though. I remember starting to write this blog two years ago actually, that's strange. The main reason I'm writing this is that looking at my GOTY blogs was fun as a record of what I liked five years ago (Heavy Rain is still the best my favorite game of last generation. Anyway, here are the top ten songs of 2013. I'll be doing 2014 next week, and that will lead naturally into 2015 the week after that. The list is from 2013 but I'm writing this in 2015, so while the list is the same, the opinions are current. (Note: I think it would be dumb to talk about the songs without actually linking, so I have youtube videos for each song. Which is what I used three years ago, but looks like a pain now. Sorry, I'll work on a more elegant solution to that when I do 2014 next week)

10. Phantom~ UNKNOWN by Noriyuki Iwadare. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney- Dual Destinies

Phoenix Wright games always do a great job of revealing their main villain, but I think this is the first time in the series that they actually gave the villain their own main theme as a villain. Ace Attorney 3 did but not to the same extent because it was someone you already knew. Phantom starts slow and dramatic then picks up and becomes pretty tense. Great music for the final showdown in that game. That showdown was one of my favorite things in 2013, and the music made that. Those stupid masks.

9. Beyond by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe. Beyond: Two Souls

As mentioned above, Heavy Rain is my favorite game of the last generation, so I was bummed out when Beyond: Two Souls was a mess. Lousy story, characters that didn't work, it was just bad. However, one bright thing about that game was the amazing theme for it by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe (finishing the work started by Normand Cobeil who passed away). I remember the trailer from the demo and this theme playing at the end, and I was so excited! What a shame.

8. Soul Melody ~Main Theme~ by Yasunori Mitsuda. Soul Sacrifice

We were still in the middle of the Monster Hunter drought in 2013, so I played a lot of terrible games in that genre trying to fill the void. Soul Sacrifice was a pretty good game, and one of my favorite things about it was Mitsuda's soundtrack. The main theme starts out heavy, and then just stops midway through. Then it builds up with triumphant horns and the chorus near the end. Was great during battles.

7. Boss by Harrison Pretat. Divekick

I played fighting games for years, but Divekick was the one that pushed me into getting an arcade stick for the first time and taking it seriously. Divekick was a huge hit during this year's Thanksgiving, so the fondness is still there. What can I say, I'm a sucker for final boss songs in fighting games. Those guitars are great.

6. Lorule Theme by Ryo Nagamatsu and Koji Kondo. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

I've never played Link to the Past, so the nostalgia this song may bring to some was lost on me. I really like the overworld theme of Lorule though, and that intro just makes it better.

5. Battle Flavour by Yosuke Kurokawa. Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God

This game by Compile Heart (Japanese name Sei Madou Monogatari) is a retelling of the original Madou Monogatari, except it doesn't use the characters from the original (aka the cast of Puyo Puyo) because Sega owns the rights to them. It is a very odd game. This game was a roguelike, but was actually a dungeon crawler with items, so more roguelike than games like Spelunky, FTL, etc. I don't exactly remember. The game had a pretty typical soundtrack for those Compile Heart games, a lot of vocal themes. The boss battle theme in this game is great, even if the lyrics are about cooking. It's really catchy!

4. Battle! (Lysandre) by Minako Adachi. Pokemon X/Y

Team Flare's theme was all right, sounded a lot like the rest of the battle music in X/Y. But when you actually fight the leader of Team Flare to this remixed version, it's amazing what adding a bassline can do. Really though, X/Y had an amazing soundtrack, a lot of the major battles were made better by the music. They delivered on every front, but I have to give the nod to Lysandre's theme because remixes are awesome.

3. It's Not Ero! by Isaac Shankler feat Senah Kim. Hate Plus

Another song that was made by the trailer it played over. Hate Plus is the sequel to Analogue: A Hate Story, and even though I liked the soundtrack from the first one, I did not expect a pop song for the sequel, not at all. It's a really fun and catchy song with really smart lyrics. And even though I got hooked on the song from the trailer, the game itself does a fantastic job using this song. I was grinning when it played.

2. Capricious Wind by MASA. Dynasty Warriors 8

As far as music goes, Dynasty Warriors is one of my favorite series of all time. Since 4, I've loved each soundtrack and couldn't wait to see what they did with the next game. Dynasty Warriors 7 did something new by creating a theme for each kingdom (Wu, Shu, Wei, Jin), that it used as a leitmotif. Each kingdom's main battles will have a variant of the theme. Dynasty Warriors 8 did the same thing to an extent, but with one exception. They mixed the themes of the Three Kingdoms together in one song. This one. If you've ever played Dynasty Warriors, you know that the battle of Chi Bi is one of the most significant battles because of the involvement of all Three Kingdoms. The way this song mixed all three themes together would make this song great on it's own, but there is one other thing. In the game, if you are playing as Wei, the game is set up so the iconic fire attack happens at the same time the song picks up. It absolutely floored me the first time I heard it. Stuff like this is what made Dynasty Warriors 8 my GOTY of 2013.

1. A Stranger I Remain (Maniac Agenda Mix) by Jamie Christopherson and Free Dominguez. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

When I was playing through Metal Gear Rising, the game hadn't hooked me after an hour or two. Yeah the part with the Metal Gear Ray was neat and all (RULES OF NATURE) but it looked like that was it. Then the battle with Mistral happened. That was a hell of a turning point for me, the game finally felt deserving of the Metal Gear name. That boss battle was crazy enough, but the boss music definitely pushed it to another level. Rising had dynamic music, so it was just the instrumental version for the most part. Once you hit the final section, the lyrics kick in, and holy shit. It's so damn good. Just add on the fact that the song comes to an end as your doing the Zandatsu to finish off the boss, and I knew, that game was something special. The way it used music in the boss battle would continue throughout the game. That soundtrack is easily the best of the year, and if I didn't have a one song per game rule most of this list would be taken by Metal Gear Rising. Great songs on their own elevated to an even higher level by their use. A fun note, when Bioshock Infinite came out I bought it, then ignored it to make an edit of this song.

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