Hey, guys. This article was originally posted on NowLoading.co, which is sort of in the process of closing down. This is the only “exclusive” article I wrote for them, so I wanted to get it up here before it (might) disappear forever.
We all know that a good soundtrack can add layers of depth to a video game. When used correctly, music can give us the feels in ways that words simply cannot. Sometimes it’s obvious, and sometimes the developers sneak in little musical hints to see if their fans are paying attention. Here are six times that video game music unexpectedly dropped hints and dropped mics.
- Dragon Age: Origins — ‘In Uthenera’
A beautifully haunting melody by composer Inon Zur with a wonderful vocal performance by Aubrey Ashburn, “In Uthenera” is an old Dalish song sung by Leliana to the Grey Warden after completing the quest to recruit the Dalish elves. While at first blush it’s a poignant reminder of what the elves had lost, the translation from Dalish to English reveals a song about a dying culture that holds on to its humanity and its heart to the very end. And how fitting that Ferelden faces destruction from the Blight as it rallies for one last stand.
Credit to phantomdernachtt
- Dragon Age: Inquisition— ‘The Dawn Will Come’
Credit to DragonFire Studio
Easily a song that could be sung at a religious service in real life, “The Dawn Will Come” is a fabulous and unforgettable tune that the survivors of Haven spontaneously begin singing at the end of the first act of Inquisition. But the feels unexpectedly attack during the second verse:
The Shepherd’s lost, and his home is far.
Keep to the stars. The dawn will come.
I wonder if there is another Shepard that BioWare might be nodding to — one who walked among the stars and who, depending on your choices at the end of the game, can no longer return home? Clever, clever BioWare.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess— Midna Hums Her Own Theme
A little Zelda Easter Egg more than anything else, but to taunt Link, Midna leans back and hums a short phrase of her own song. It’s all the more poignant when it comes up later in the game for much more dire reasons.
Credit to sagesaria
- Metal Gear Solid— Before Meeting Psycho Mantis
Another small moment, but this one is so profound that even Solid Snake comments on it (it’s at the very end of the video):
Credit to A0den
Why does this matter? Well, chances are that up to this point you had barely noticed the ever-present music in the background, and now it was gone for no reason. Sure, it was a great moment of breaking the fourth wall, but it also suggested something strange was coming next.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition— The Bard’s Songs
These ditties are right up there with the sea shanties from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but the reason Dragon Age gets the spot over Assassin’s Creed is because if you listen closely, the bard’s songs evolve over the course of the game. Her music stays current, commenting on the state of the world and your actions in it. Listening to the bard’s songs in order paints an intricate picture of world events, even if you haven’t ever been on the frontline with the Inquisitor and her/his friends. It’s a nice, often unnoticed detail that makes immersion in this world of Thedas that much richer.
Credit to Hikaru Kuma
Bonus points for some of the melodies coming from other Dragon Age games, particularly the Leliana’s Song DLC. The original song, titled “Suledin,” comments on experiencing and moving on from heartache (for those of you not up on your Elvish), and the bard’s song in Inquisition talks about longing for someone to come and save them. Of course, “I Am the One,” the ending theme from Dragon Age: Origins, also makes an appearance (in English this time).
- Mass Effect 2— Meeting Ashley/Kaiden (And Other Original Mass Effect Companions)
Did you notice how in Mass Effect 2, any time you interacted with a character you originally met in the original Mass Effect game, the music subtly changed to the original game’s theme song? This continued into Mass Effect 3, but the reunion with the Virmire survivor in Mass Effect 2 seems particularly poignant.
Credit to FluffyNinjaLlama
What music moments in video games have made you experience all the feels? Let me know in the comments!
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