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Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

The winner of Japantor's best game soundtrack of 2013

9:00 AM on 01.03.2014 // Ben Huber

Which soundtrack music'd the hardest?

Perhaps the most important and nail-biting category this year, the Best Game Soundtrack category has us editors viciously engaged in mortal combat over who would win! I'm definitely not lying! Elliot almost died! Seriously -- I didn't know it was possible to stab someone in the kidneys via TCP/IP, but it happened. Do not get between Tim and Dynasty Warriors. Now you might think that that was the deciding blow in our OST of the year arguments, but you'd be wrong: I may have poisoned Tim's coffee and instead we've found ourselves a different winner!

In case you're like my cat and don't care about, have forgotten, or eaten the paper listing the nominees, here's our picks for best video game soundtrack:

  • Ace Attorney 5: Dual Destinies
  • Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
  • Super Mario 3D World
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
  • Dynasty Warriors 8

And our winner is...

Ni no Kuni

Wow! A Joe Hisaishi-composed game winning best soundtrack!? Pinch me, I must be dreaming! Yet, for all my wretched sarcasm, Ni no Kuni's OST really was stunning. Vivid vistas reimagined as notes on a page and colors characters and creatures broadcast as joyous musical themes -- it had all the hallmarks of Hisaishi's work. You might've been concerned that this was just a side-project or something he wouldn't work as hard on, but instead it's just as rich and full as any Ghibli soundtrack.

I thoroughly liked Ni no Kuni's main theme, with it's quick and dramatic opening throwing the typical trumpets and strings at you, then immediately dropping down quietly and letting a flute take over until it eventually builds back up into a swirl of adventure. That's actually a great word to describe the whole soundtrack: adventure. Each note oozes it and backs the game up. Is the game itself a bit grindy? Yeah, but at least you've got some amazing music soothing your pain.

In the end, the staff found that we ended up liking Hisaishi's work the most. Gorgeous, adventurous, and lavish, it's a joy to listen to even if you haven't touched the game. That's why we chose it as the best game soundtrack for 2013.


Ben Huber, Contributor
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I'm the managing editor of Japanator by day, and a roving freelance graphic designer by night! / /  more   |   staff directory

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Japanator's previous coverage:
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

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