The Greatest Video Game Music 2
The Greatest Video Game Music 2 (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Skeet) X5 Music Group
Let's face it, a videogame soundtrack, much like a movie one, requires a context to be fully appreciated. This second album of game themes is obviously aimed squarely at gamers who have played these titles and have an emotional connection with them - yes readers, videogames have come along way since 8-bit sprites collected coins before finally defeating a maniacal boss.
As a gamer, I've played (and mostly enjoyed) ten of the 17 games from which these songs are taken. But do I feel the warrant to purchase and play this album? Not really. If I was ever inclined to hear the tunes, a quick YouTube search would result in hundreds of similar (if not better) covers - these being by Andrew Skeet, who conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra in his arrangements.
If you have ever spent the four or so hours it takes to complete 'Portal', you'll have been rewarded with a brilliant, award-winning song over the credits called 'Still Alive'. Skeet's orchestal version doesn't improve on it, but rather renders it overblown.
Other tracks fare better - the purely instrumental ones standing out -'Icarus Main Theme' from 'Deus Ex: Human Revolution' and 'A Future for the Krogen/An End Once And For All' from 'Mass Effect 3' (catchy titles, I know). But, again, it comes back to context. If you have played the games and appreciated the music (that for 'Mass Effect 3', in particular, being scored by longtime Darren Aronofsky muse, Clint Mansell), you might enjoy this, but presented in isolation it is unlikely a non-gamer would. Surely, nobody would want to sit through 'Sonic The Hedgehog', 'Luigi's Mansion' or 'Chrono Trigger' themes on more than one occasion (if that), no matter how well they're played.