Written by Rick Warren / Gfn2112
I've grown to appreciate video game soundtracks more than ever over the past few years. Initially, during my early years of gaming, I mostly ignored the music that played in the background because I simply didn't understand its importance. Nowadays, video game soundtracks are almost all that I listen to when it comes to music. A great score can add so much to a big moment (or the entirety) of a game, and it can make memories that stick with you for years. This week, I'll be looking at my 5 favorite soundtracks of all time. Since there are so many great ones, though, I'll be sharing a list of honorable mentions in the comments section as well. Feel free to leave your favorites while you're there, and without further ado, let's get started!
5.) The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine
While the main portion of The Witcher 3 had an excellent soundtrack, I've always preferred the second expansion's score. It offered the perfect balance of music to match the blend of cheerful fantasy and terrifying creatures that the DLC offered. Every fight felt intense, and every moment spent traveling the gorgeous world felt peaceful due to this soundtrack. However, if there's one track that makes this soundtrack special to me, it would be the main theme. It played at the main menu once the expansion released, and I always waited until I finished listening to it before jumping back into the actual game. The Witcher 3's expansions are as deserving of the word "masterpiece" as the main game, and the soundtrack for Blood and Wine proves it.
Favorite Track: Blood and Wine
Up next, the soundtrack for a game I can't seem to stop talking about...
4.) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
While this Metal Gear Solid finale may have left me disappointed, the soundtrack certainly met expectations. Filled with tons of great 80's music, like "Maneater" and a solid rendition of "The Man Who Sold the World", there's plenty to love here. With that said, it's the original music that makes this soundtrack special. While licensed music will never be turned down in a Metal Gear game, nothing outdoes the original themes. "Sins of the Father" is the name of the main track from Metal Gear Solid V, and it's one of my absolute favorite Metal Gear tracks ever (right up there with "Snake Eater"). However, even "Sins of the Father" is outdone by the masterpiece that is "Quiet's Theme". Regardless of if the actual track was being played or if it was just Quiet humming it as she took out enemies, this theme is as iconic as any other in the storied franchise.
Favorite Track: Quiet's Theme
In the third spot sits the soundtrack from my favorite indie game of all time...
When I started writing this list, one of the first soundtracks that came to mind was Journey's. While the game's random partner feature is what makes it special, it would likely be far less engaging without its iconic music. Austin Wintory did a tremendous job, so much so that it's nearly impossible to pick out a single track. However, if I had to choose one, I'd have to go with "Apotheosis". It makes the game's important moments stand out, and the track is a perfect example of music helping a game to stick with someone for long periods of time. I can remember every moment from the game's two-hour adventure clearly, partially because of my co-op experience and partially because of the music that guided me to that final white light.
Favorite Track: Apotheosis
In second place sits a soundtrack that helped make me appreciate an entire series...
2.) Final Fantasy XV
When I started listening to gaming soundtracks, it wasn't long before I stumbled upon Final Fantasy. Everyone had always raved about how great the music was, and they were right. While I had (wrongly) decided that the series wasn't for me, I began to appreciate the music from afar. As soon as news started to release about XV finally making progress, I looked for the music, and I loved what I heard. "Somnus" was an excellent theme, and Florence and the Machine's version of "Stand by Me" was perfect for the game. Eventually, I began to become increasingly interested in the rest of Final Fantasy XV. When I started watching trailers, I saw that the gameplay looked as great as the music. The anime and movie were both strong. The game engine was impressive. Finally, Final Fantasy had my attention. Soon enough I ended up playing all the way through FF X, then shortly after that all the way through XV. I plan to play IX and XII soon as well. The music of Final Fantasy XV is what gave me a true appreciation for the series, and a huge part of what made me want to play the games.
Favorite Track: Somnus
Finally, in the top spot, my favorite JRPG of all time (and my game of the year)...
1.) Persona 5
At this point, I've praised this game so much that I'm running out of ways to say how great it is. Still, as it manages to take another #1 spot in one of these Top 5s, I'll have to praise it some more. One of the many, many things that makes Persona 5 so strong is its soundtrack. Music is constantly playing throughout the game, whether you're talking to confidants or refilling your stash of supplies before your next palace entry. The entire soundtrack is outstanding, but it's the music from Lyn that is particularly special to me. Every time one of these songs came on, I was bobbing my head to the music and completely in the moment. They made every bit of action more intense, and with every song I kept saying "this is the best yet". Then, I heard "Rivers in the Desert" for the first time. While I love "Last Surprise" (partially because of the memes) and "Life Will Change", this track is simply the best. It first came up during a boss fight that had been built up for the entire game, and I immediately fell in love with it. Even now, months after playing, I listen to this song and the rest of the soundtrack every day. I don't expect that to change any time soon.
Favorite Track: Rivers in the Desert
That's a wrap! As always, thank you so much for reading. Remember to leave a comment with your favorite video game soundtracks, and check back next week for a new Top 5!