Music of the Year 2014 Categories

Stephen Meyerink's Music of the Year
Editors' Favorites

Stephen runs RPGFan Music, and as such, has his hand in everything that happens in the site-within-a-site, along with running Rhythm Encounter. Many of Stephen's fellow RPGFan editors lovingly poke fun at him for being an overly intense fan of all things Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy IX. And while it's all in good fun, it's not completely fair to the man.

He also really likes Xenoblade.

Have you heard...

Piano Opera Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX

Nakayama's arrangements of these Final Fantasy classics are very worthy to be heard.

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
Composed by Atsushi Kitajoh, Toshiki Konishi, Shoji Meguro, Yuzo Koshiro

Far from the "mash-up of P3 and P4 tunes" I was expecting, Persona Q's soundtrack manages the lofty goal of fitting into the existing canon of Persona music and touching on the same vibes as the Etrian Odyssey series while being almost entirely new music. They're original songs, and they sound fresh and new, but they still have an undeniable musical connection to the P3 and P4 soundtracks we love so much. The fact that at least half of our Music of the Year podcast guests chose songs from this one is no fluke: this is great stuff.

Favorite Tracks:
We're Here Now
School Memories -in the labyrinth-
Light the Fire Up in the Night ~Midnight~

Also See Our Review: Persona Q Shadow of the Labyrinth OST

Composed by Andrew "zircon" Aversa

Andrew "zircon" Aversa has been a fixture of the game audio scene for a while, with a great start producing some of my absolute favorite remixes on OC ReMix back in the day and a busy career as an original composer in recent times. His work on the Dungeonmans soundtrack is part evocation of the halycon days of PS1-era adventures, and part Hitoshi Sakimoto on Final Fantasy XII and Tactics, while still managing a fresh, exciting feel. The melodies are great, and they feel as though they're ripped straight from those olden glory days. This one comes highly recommended.

Favorite Tracks:
Growl Atop the Triger
Flash of Tinsteel
Grand Finale

Project Destati: LIGHT
Composed by Yoko Shimomura; Arranged by Kristin Naigus, David Russell, Sebastian Wolff, Braxton Burks

I wrote an awful lot about Project Destati's first major release in my review. I said a lot of really positive things about it, and they all still apply. In my mind, it sets a standard for arrangements of game audio that many other projects should be living up to. It's passionate, narratively-infused music that adeptly weaves original material and seemingly disparate themes from the games together in an utterly compelling way. I'd advise anyone with an ear for good music to give it a listen.

Favorite Tracks:
Introduction: It Began with a Letter
Waltz of the Damned

Also See Our Review: Project Destati: LIGHT Review

Have you heard...

Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies

With gentle love and sweet melodies comes relaxation and peace in this soothing album.

Runners-up & Compilations

Super Smash Bros for 3DS & Wii U
Composed by Everyone

Smash games have never disappointed in the soundtrack area, and the latest and greatest in the series is no exception. There's a ton of great original and arranged RPG music in it, too; hell, there's a Baten Kaitos tune! That's saying nothing of the huge amount of Xenoblade, Earthbound, Golden Sun, and Fire Emblem music, or of the fact that Shimomura's fantastic final boss theme from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story appears as well. If you're a lover of RPGs, this massive soundtrack has plenty for you to love.

Favorite Tracks:
Route 10 (Pokémon Black and White)
The Valedictory Elegy (Baten Kaitos)
PAC MAN (Club Mix)

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Yoko Shimomura, Yasunori Mitsuda, et al

Curtain Call has a ton of music; a lot of it is simply the original tunes, as they appeared in their games. But the menus are packed full of great arrangements, along with a few made specifically to be played in the game (mmm, that Chaos Shrine!) — enough that I'd love for this one to receive its own soundtrack release. Perhaps even a way to make the original Curtain Call music playable IN Curtain Call? *Inception Button*

Favorite Tracks:
Choose Your Combatants
Series Prelude
Locke's Theme

Kingdom Hearts -HD 2.5 ReMIX- OST
Composed by Yoko Shimomura, Hikaru Utada; Arranged by Video Game Orchestra, Kaoru Wada

This one would be number one on my list, were it not for the huge amount of other great new stuff I want to draw attention to. The VGO did an amazing job taking the relatively poor synths of the original PS2 release and turning them into utter, pure glory. That mangled Pirates of the Caribbean battle theme? It's now as glorious as the film's take on it. And as you'll hear in my podcast picks, the new version of the final boss suite, Darkness of the Unknown, borders on a religious listening experience for me. To top it off, there's even a pair of Birth by Sleep reworkings (although it's a shame that whole soundtrack couldn't get a similar treatment, as it was already using live instruments rather than pure synth).

The box set containing the 1.5 remixes is a great deal, and includes seven discs of the best versions of two of the strongest Kingdom Hearts soundtracks. Buy it.

Favorite Tracks:
Fields of Honor
Deep Anxiety
Darkness of the Unknown

Also See Our Review: Kingdom Hearts -HD 2.5 ReMIX- OST Review

Twitch Schedule & Status

Sunday, December 16th
Rogue Galaxy w/Maxx • 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Darksiders w/Maxx • 12pm PDT/3pm EDT
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory w/Kat • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance w/Kyle • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Dragon Quest XI w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Dragon Quest XI w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance w/Kyle • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Dragon Quest XI w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance w/Kat • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Friday Super Variety Night w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Dragon Quest XI w/Scott • 5pm PDT/8pm EDT

Games of the Year 2018: Readers' Choice

Games of the Year 2018: Readers' Choice

Vote now!
Retro Encounter Final Thoughts ~ Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Retro Encounter Final Thoughts ~ Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Podcast Feature
RPGFan Founders Roundtable ~ An RPGFan 20th Anniversary Feature

RPGFan Founders Roundtable

An RPGFan 20th Anniversary Feature
Crowdfunding Chronicles Volume 3

Crowdfunding Chronicles Volume 3

NieR: Automata Orchestral Arrangement Album Review

NieR: Automata Orchestral Arrangement Album

RPGFan Launches Daily 'This Day in Gaming' Video Series

RPGFan Launches Daily "This Day in Gaming" Video Series

Video Series