Few games achieve such a masterstroke of sound design as From Software's latest gore-soaked offering. Bloodborne's detailed and expertly-directed ambient sounds serve to bring the horrors of Yharnam to life in a stunning way, serving not only to immerse you in its nightmarish world but also to provide you with a viable strategy against its denizens. Take careful note of the whisperer in the darkness or the gurgling around the corner, lest you fall prey to an unspeakable fate.
And that is to say nothing of Bloodborne's rich soundtrack: Most of your journey will see you creep through the quiet darkness while keeping an ear out for threats, but encounters with Yharnam's deadliest fiends are heralded by orchestral swells and harrowed choral arrangements. The moment when the gigantic Cleric Beast ambushes you and the music kicks in, dissonant choir punctuated by the monstrous screams of the creature in front of you, is one that will surely give you goosebumps. Hear the old blood, fear the old blood.
Writeup by Robert Fenner
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn featured a massive soundtrack when it debuted in 2013, and somehow, composer Masayoshi Soken managed to one-up himself with the score for the game's first expansion. Heavensward features all new music, and like the game itself, the soundtrack benefits from increased focus and cohesiveness. Several key themes make their way into multiple songs, and a distinctly different vibe emanates from the background of these new areas. Soken's work makes tense moments even more dramatic, and heartbreaking moments sting even more. It's some of his finest work, as Heavensward's score stands toe-to-toe with some of Uematsu's best Final Fantasy soundtracks.
Writeup by Mike Salbato
A mere ten votes separated your two winners, with Xenoblade Chronicles X narrowly beating FFXIV's first expansion.
And the winner is...