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Nominees for Japanator's best game soundtrack of 2013

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Far beyond the bleeps and bloops

The roll of nominees keeps on scrolling for this years Japanator Awards, and just as we tallied up our nominees for Best Anime Soundtrack of 2013, we aren't about to ignore the many Japanese games that tickled our ears with their awesome soundtracks this year!

Japan's once-dominant presence in the gaming industry may be a thing of the past, but there's no denying the huge amounts of talent and creativity that still pour out of Glorious Nippon year after year, and that includes game music! Scroll on through to check out the top contenders for our game soundtrack of the year!

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was the kind of JRPG that reminded people just why JRPGs were virtually synonymous with top-tier gaming experiences for so long. And a big part of that is its music, which uses the talent of legendary composer Joe Hisaishi to create a score that's utterly "Ghibli"-feeling (no surprise, considering that he's composed for many of Studio Ghibli's most iconic films) while also seeming to channel the sense of epic adventure and nostalgic fantasy that many people associate with the greatest RPG outings. Like the game itself, Ni no Kuni's score reflects the best memories of gaming's past while remaining comfortably in its spectacle-filled present.

 

Ace Attorney 5: Dual Destinies (3DS)

You wouldn't expect it out of a game Capcom wasn't confident enough in to even give a full retail release, or for that matter, out of a series that lives on mobile/handheld platforms that many people don't even turn on the sound for most of the time, but Ace Attorney 5: Dual Destinies has a surprisingly good score. Or, then again, maybe you would expect it out of Ace Attorney at least, because Noriyuki Iwadare's jazzy, upbeat compositions have always done a great job of ratcheting up the game's tension, drama, fun, or whatever other mood is on Ace Attorney's always-wide range. 

 

Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

Why is the best Nintendo-published platformer in the so-called "Year of Luigi" a Super Mario game? That's a question for a different "Best of 2013" list, but there's certainly no debating that Nintendo's stable of veteran composers (led by Koji Kondo and featuring Toru Minegishi, Mahito Yokota, and Yasuaki Iwata) have hit it again with Super Mario 3D World. Their varied, lively score continues to capture the essence of Mario while putting a whimsical face on the barely-controlled anarchy that is the game's multiplayer mode.

 

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)


Given that A Link Between Worlds is ostensibly a remake of 1991's The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, nominating this could almost be considered cheating...if Ryo Nagamatsu's rearrangements of Koji Kondo's original score weren't so great.

But they are, thank goodness for that. Brilliantly, A Link Between Worlds' score "feels" just as you imagined the original Link to the Past sounded like, freed of the warbling and machine-sythesized noises that the Super NES had to make do with. 

 

Dynasty Warriors 8 (PS3/Xbox 360)


No, seriously! We're being totally serious about this, because outside of your usual "rock/metal radio station" in your average crime game, it's frankly rare to have a game that has a soundtrack with so much awesome butt rock in it.

The composers at Tecmo Koei, including Haruki Yamada, Yosuke Kinoshita, Yojiro Yoshimatsu, Masato Koike, and MASA continue to outdo themselves, which is a tough task considering just how many Warriors games there are out there, all with fairly similar requirements in the "music that gets your frickin' blood pumping to kill like a billion effing dudes" department.


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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures


 



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