Sounds Good: Our Top Picks for the Best Video Game Soundtracks
Ever since games got past its 8-bit chip tune limitations, video game soundtracks have gotten better. Now, they’re arguably just as good as movie soundtracks. Now, the question is which games have the best ear candies? Well, there’s no objective answer to that, but here’s our picks for the Best Video Game Soundtracks.
Picking up a thousand years after the first Nier, Earth is now locked in a proxy war between androids and machines, fighting for humanity and the aliens. In this conflict there are two elite androids, 2B and 9S, who try to make sense of the war-torn world around and within them. The soundtrack of this philosophical tale with a Platinum Games-powered combat system establishes a feeling of beautiful strangeness that weaves with any scenario, thanks to the way the songs’ composition and lyrics that are written in a French-Japanese-esque made-up language.
If you’re hanging around the Resistance Camp, then you won’t be able to help but feel serene thanks to its theme, entitled “Peaceful Sleep.” Meanwhile, the themes in the Amusement Park and Pascal’s Village are mostly playful and a little bit unsettling but never truly unnerving. Plus, the combat themes get the blood pumping, but they preserve the game’s uncanny air. Lastly, for maximum drama that perfectly encapsulates 2B and 9S’s emotional baggage, there’s “Weight of the World,” a song unlike other songs in the OST, it’s in two real languages: Japanese and English.
Square Enix’s flagship RPG franchise has always had a superb soundtrack. What started as chip tune later on moved to 16-bit music, and finally, to the domain of ballads and classical-inspired orchestra music come Final Fantasy VII. It has been composed by the brilliant Nobuo Uematsu, and now, for Final Fantasy XV, Yoko Shimomura of Kingdom Hearts fame.
Over the course of the franchise’s three-decade run, the game has had lots of memorable and beautiful songs.
- Final Fantasy VII: relaxing and adventurous “Cloud’s Theme”
- Final Fantasy IX: the tear-jerking “Memories of Life”
- Final Fantasy X: the melancholic Suteki da Ne (“Isn’t it Wonderful”), and the sobering “Somnus”
Some of Final Fantasy’s songs have managed to infuse non-gaming circles. The romantic ballad “Eyes on Me” by Chinese singer Faye Wong, which perfectly captures Squall and Rinoa’s young, deep love, managed to win a music award and sold a handful of copies. There are also the meme-makers’ favorite: Final Fantasy VII’s “One-Winged Angel,” AKA Sephiroth’s theme as ominous and iconic as the antagonist himself. Lastly, English indie rock band Florence and the Machine made a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.”
Metal Gear Solid
A good movie can never be complete without a good OST. No wonder Hideo Kojima’s over-the-top Hollywood stealth-action franchise has great songs from its playlist.
There have been lots of awesome songs throughout Big Boss, Solid Snake, and Raiden’s missions. First is the iconic Encounter and Duel from the first Metal Gear Solid game, upbeat and dire track that plays whenever you’ve been discovered or when you’re fighting. There’s also Metal Gear Solid 2 and 4’s entire soundtrack, which sounds like a 90s spy movie.
Wait, how can anyone forget about “Snake Eater” from the series’ third installment, which was an obvious shout out to James Bond songs. Also, “The Phantom Pain,” a love story to all things 80s, which includes some of the decade’s chart-topping hits like “True” by Spandau Ballet, “Take on Me by a-ha, Midge Ure’s cover of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World,” along with an 80s song entitled “A Phantom Pain.”
Music plays a big role in setting the atmosphere, as well as in creating and recalling memories. That’s why it’s important for video games fine-tune its soundtrack. These games have kept that to heart, and for that, their songs remain on our playlists long after we’ve finished them.