Top Score: Best Video Game Soundtracks of 2013, Numbers 5 & 4

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
December 12, 2013
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — It was more difficult than ever to come up with only five great scores from 2013, and even more difficult to put them into an order.

Number 5: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Composer Joe Hisaishi is best known for scores he wrote for anime films liked Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and Ponyo. He has six Japanese Academy Awards.

Hisaishi's score for Ni No Kuni is wonderfully traditional and symphonic. You can hear how he creates many different colors with the orchestra. Compare "One Fine Morning":

To the much darker "Shadar, the Dark Djinn":

I wasn't a huge fan of the game, although Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch got quite positive reviews, however the score is delightful.

Coming in at number 4: The Last of Us, scored beautifully by Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla.

There is an immense depth and sensitivity to Santaolalla's music. He's written film scores too, winning back-to-back Academy Awards for Brokeback Mountain and Babel.

Santaolalla used an orchestra without violins, which created a warm, low sound. He also experimented with de-tuned guitars, and highlights what's become his signature instrument, the ronroco.

You can hear the low orchestra combined with a solo cellist in All Gone (No Escape):

If you're curious about what a ronroco sounds like, you can hear it right away, playing the theme to The Last of Us:

Next week, Number 3 on Top Score's countdown to the best video game soundtracks of 2013.

You can subscribe to episodes of Top Score on iTunes.


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