Slowly, video game publishers are making it easier to not turn to YouTube for your video game soundtrack needs. Thanks to Square Enix, the latest is likely a big deal to any fan of orchestral music and/or JRPGs. Now, you don’t have to pause your Spotify to get the NieR: Automata soundtrack going, because Square Enix and PlatinumGames put most — likely all, even — of the soundtrack on Spotify. They also put up the soundtrack for the original NieR game(s?), which came out ten years ago this year.
Even if you’re not a fan of the NieR soundtracks, both are pretty freaking gorgeous soundtracks. For Automata, Keiichi Okabe and Keigo Hoashi head most of the tracks, bringing haunting and powerful vocals together with a variety of instruments and styles. The incredible music helped solidify Nier: Automata as one of the most influential JRPGs of the 2010s.
Sadly, the music experience isn’t perfect between the soundtrack version and the in-game experience. It’s hard to capture the magic of NieR: Automata’s dynamic music design on Spotify. After all, part of its power is how the soundtrack swells and backs down through your experiences. Even on YouTube, fans uploaded separate versions of popular songs based on intensity and presence of vocals.
However, while Spotify can’t adjust on the fly based on how hard you’re doing your homework, the soundtrack gets you close enough to the emotional ride of NieR: Automata. After all, there’s nothing to catch you in your feels like the credits version of “Weight of the World.”
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Square Enix has been fairly decent about putting a number of its soundtracks on music platforms. Plenty of Final Fantasy tunes were available on the now-defunct iTunes for years. Back in June, Square released every mainline Final Fantasy game’s soundtrack onto Spotify. Yes, Square even uploaded every single track from Final Fantasy 14, the MMORPG with the immensely deep soundtrack. And from every single expansion. (One fan threw them all into one playlist.) Unfortunately, Kingdom Hearts has no such luck, minus the Utada Hikaru themes.
In lieu of official tracks, fans picked up the pace with their own covers. And there are plenty of great ones out there! Thankfully, Square Enix doesn’t seem too hurt about them existing, which is great because video game musician fans are often really goddamn talented. One Spotify playlist compiles the best of the best into one convenient location. There’s everything from piano to metal out there. So if you’re looking for a twist on your favorites, it’s sure to be out there.
But if you were looking for the actual NieR: Automata soundtrack and not one of the “bootlegs,” it’s your lucky day. Jam out to that good-ass depression orchestra music. Or “Pascal.” Whatever floats your android boat.