By Diego Perez
Video gams have always had great soundtracks, with some truly memorable ones making their mark. These are the ones that defined this past generation.
Music is an often overlooked part of the games people play. A great soundtrack can elevate a game to the next level, heightening the impact of emotional story beats or making certain gameplay segments shine even brighter. As games have gotten more and more complex, so have their soundtracks, and composers have been experimenting and trying new strategies to perfect the art of the video game score.
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Whether it's a licensed song or an original composition created specifically for the game, a good song at the right time can do a lot for a video game. These are the best video game soundtracks that defined this generation of gaming.
10 Persona 5
Persona 5is known for a lot of things, but its soundtrack is one of the things people talk about the most. Composed by Shoji Meguro, the massivesoundtrack boasts over 100 songs, and the overwhelming majority of them are fantastic.
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Instant classics like "Life Will Change," "Last Surprise," and "Rivers in the Desert" will forever go down in history as not just some of the best songs from a JRPG, but some of the best songs in all of gaming.Personagames always tend to have excellent music, butPersona 5is a cut above the rest.
9 Nier Automata
Nier Automata is definitely one of the most unique games on this list, and its peculiar personality bleeds into its incredibly varied soundtrack. Each of the game's tracks has several different versions that play depending on which part of an area the player is in or if they're in combat, layering on vocals and percussion as need be.
Also, the majority of the songs you'll hear throughout this bizarre RPG also have an 8-bit version that can fade in anytime 9S, one of the game's protagonists, initiates a hacking attack, making it one of the most adaptive soundtracks of this generation at the very least.
8 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Unlike most otherLegend of Zelda titles,Breath of the Wild's soundtrack is understated, comprised mostly of sparse piano tunes that quietly chime in the background as players explore the ruined landscape. This stark quietness makes the moments that do feature music really stand out, andBreath of the Wild's musical moments are some of the best in the entire game.
Hearing the initial piano chime of a guardian attack still sends a chill down the spines of manyBreath of the Wildplayers even to this day, andthe heroic Hyrule Castle theme marks an epic conclusion to a legendary game.
Furi didn't get as much attention as the other games on this list, but that doesn't make it any less valid. Like many other indie games,Furi boasts an incredible soundtrack, and it's one that elevates the game's combat encounters to the next level.
AllFuriis is a series of boss fights, but the synth-heavy soundtrack makes each adrenaline-pumping battle all the more satisfying.Furi's bosses are tough, and you'll likely stay fighting the same ones for extended periods of time, but the soundtrack will make you forget how long you've been stuck on a particular phase.
6 Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar's open-world western pushed a lot of boundaries when it released in late 2018, and its soundtrack saw just as much praise as its characters and world. Just like most other entries on this list,Red Dead Redemption 2's soundtrack is gigantic, and many of the game's missions have entirely unique combat themes, meaning there are tons of tracks that are rarely reused.
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Red Dead's signature mix of epic strings paired with the twang of guitars makes each shootout feel epic, and paired with the fantastic sound design and period-appropriate weaponry, you'll feel like you were transported right into the old west.
5 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Including aSuper Smash Bros. game on a best soundtrack list could be seen as a cop-out considering it's essentially a greatest hits album of classic Nintendo tunes, butSuper Smash Bros.Ultimate is jam-packed with so many famous songs from all of gaming history, not just Nintendo games this time around, that it feels wrong to exclude it from the list.
Practically every iconic video game song you can think of is inSuper Smash Bros. Ultimate, and odds are it's been remixed to sound even better. There are even songs from franchises that aren't exactly as popular asMario, likePersona, in order to make sure that there's something for everyone.
If there's one thing that has transcended the 2016 reboot ofDoom, it's the soundtrack. Mick Gordon's pulse-pounding heavy metal compositions are recognizable even to those who have never played the game, and he went to extreme lengths to make sureDoom's soundtrack would sound truly unique.
One of the game's songs features sounds from an actual real-life chainsaw,mixed with synthesizer sounds to create a distinct sound.It fits the aggressive, fast-paced gameplay of the game perfectly, and it looks like the trend will continue with the upcomingDoom: Eternal as well.
3 Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV has been up and running for almost a decade at this point, and it's givenFinal Fantasy fans huge amounts of gorgeous original music as well as awesome remixes of classicFinal Fantasythemes. The MMO is practically a theme park forFinal Fantasyfans, offering some form of fan service or nostalgia in every corner.
Battle themes from the greatestFinal Fantasy games have made their way intoFinal Fantasy XIV in several forms over the course of the years, and the game's original compositions stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best tracks in the entirety of the series.
2 God of War
The most recentGod of War took the series in a drastically different direction, and the soundtrack followed suit. The original games saw Kratos battling hordes of enemies, punctuated by violent, epic clashes with Greek gods. Those games had brash, bold soundtracks to accompany the violence, but the 2018 game takes a different approach.
Kratos is calmer and quieter, living in regret of his past mistakes, and the game's quiet strings reflect that. That's not to say there aren't any loud or exciting tracks, because Kratos still gets into his fair share of fights, but there are multiple quiet moments that provide some much-needed balance to the soundtrack.
Undertale took the gaming world by surprise when it released in 2015, and its soundtrack has already earned its place amongst the greatest video game soundtracks of all time in the short period of time it's been available. "Megalovania" has worked its way into popular culture, being present in all sorts of memes and videos, making it recognizable even to those who've never playedUndertale.
What makes this even more impressive is the fact that the entire 101 song soundtrack was created by just one person, Toby Fox, who also did the majority of the work to develop the game. It's an incredibly impressive feat, andUndertale's melodies will continue to be listened to for many years to come.
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