From the bleeps and bloops of the past to the orchestral medleys, licensed songs, and vaporwave beats of today, video game soundtracks have come a long way. When we talk about how effective a game is at what it’s trying to do, music often plays a key role.
Music is a great way to create a scene, show how you feel, and tell a story. And, as you can see from our list of the best video game soundtracks, they can make you want to tap your feet. The impact of music on our perception and enjoyment of our favorite games is too significant to ignore.
It’s also important to think about how well the music works on its own, without the action on-screen. There is a big difference between a symphony that makes you tap your toes and a cacophony that you don’t remember. Here are our top 3 favorite video game soundtracks, ranked from best to worst:
- Silent Hill 2
We could have chosen any Akira Yamaoka score for this place, but considering Silent Hill 2’s legendary status in the gaming industry, we went with that one. The soundtrack to Silent Hill 2 features classic rock, alternative music, and ambient industrial trip-hop among its many musical and thematic influences, and as a result, it provides an incredible amount of depth. A few open notes develop into a symphony of J rock, while “Theme of Laura’s” tense existentialist undertones strike you over the head like a brick.
The eerie atmosphere that has become synonymous with “Promise(reprise),” combined with the swelling synthesized violins, gives the song an innate sense of melancholy, which is something that Silent Hill 2 is well aware of. This is exactly what gives the soundtrack its incredible quality. It is not produced in a sterile environment. It is one of the most terrifying sensations even to this day because it is aware of when to keep a low profile and when to unleash a wall of sound, all of which contribute to its reputation as such. The soundtrack to Silent Hill 2 is deserving of all of the acclaim that can be bestowed upon it, just as the game itself is.
Toby Fox was able to establish himself simultaneously as a world-class game composer and writer thanks to the success of Undertale. By concentrating on a single primary author, Undertale was able to develop a distinct vision and concept of what the story was all about. The music in Undertale is not merely a catchy addition; rather, it is the driving force behind the entire game. The nostalgic brightness of “Fallen Down” might fit in with any of Nintendo’s iconic soundtracks, and it also has the potential to stand on its own as a straightforward but emotionally wrenching “Bop.” This straightforwardness is completely disregarded in favor of the complexity of the well-known song “Megalovania.”
It is straightforward at first, but as it progresses and builds up with a gritty bass line and heavy percussion, it begins to resemble progressive rock as well as synth rock. Undertale does an excellent job with the transition from one song to the next. They have a very distinct personalities, but at the same time, they have the sense that they are a part of the larger game. This is the exact effect that a good score ought to have.
- Persona 5
Style!! This may be summed up in a single word to describe what Persona 5 and its music are able to do. Persona 5 is the only entry on this list, despite the fact that any other Persona game or Shoji Meguro soundtrack might have easily taken its spot. Persona 5 possesses this elegant and self-contained brilliance from its smashing opening melody “Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There” to its more introspective “beneath the mask.” Not only is this the case, but the day-and-night cycle of the game also allows for a variety of gameplay types and genres, and Shoji makes excellent use of this feature. You don’t need to search any further if you’re looking for a soundtrack that will make your life a little bit more interesting.