What Games Have the Best Soundtracks?

By Hrvoje Milakovic

What Games Have the Best Soundtracks?

image of game controller
Image Rafael Javier

Videogames are an essential part of modern pop culture. They are much more than just a source of fun. They have become a lucrative business, but a lot of modern video games are, in a certain way, forms of art. The stories are immense, the visual design’s quality is movie-like and if we include the music, some video games truly become memorable artistic experiences. Today, we are going to talk about the latter, as we are going to give you a list of the 10 best video game soundtracks ever. We are going to be diverse in our choices, as our main goal will be to bring you the best soundtracks and not the games themselves. Enjoy!

1. Super Mario Bros.

We start off our list with a timeless classic, the famous Super Mario Bros. video game, which is even today, when the design has evolved to, for that time, incomprehensible levels, a true classic among video games. The 8-bit music is one of the most recognizable scores ever and there’s no older gamer that has not, at least once, heard this brilliant, quirky and fun melody. The legacy of Super Mario is also evident and this soundtrack is undoubtedly a piece of history.

2. Pokémon Red and Green (or Blue)

Nintendo has yet another title (or titles in this case) on our list, and they are the first two Pokémon   games that appeared on the GameBoy handheld console. The legacy of the Pokémon franchise is something that needs no introduction, but along with the whole franchise, the music of the first pair of games is also something that defined a whole generation of gamers and is instantly recognizable by fans around the world. These 8-bit pieces are so memorable that they have been remastered, remixed and reworked several times, including the versions used in the Pokémon Go video game.

3. Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage

Now we move on to the PlayStation and its timeless classic – Spyro the Dragon. Spyro is likewise a franchise that has defined not just a generation of gamers, but also the whole PlayStation console, alongside Crash Bandicoot. As for the soundtrack, we have chosen the soundtrack for the second game, although each of the first three games deserves a spot on our list. Spyro 2 was a great game and it had a very innovative and magical soundtrack that perfectly fit each of its levels, and that is why we have listed it here.

4. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped

We are not sure that there is a gamer that does not know about Crash Bandicoot, the quirky, yet highly entertaining titular character of a whole series of video games that certainly defined the PlayStation as a console. Like with Spyro, Crash’s legacy is undeniable and it is without a doubt one of the best and most memorable franchises in the history of video games. The soundtrack for the third game featured many recognizable and fun compositions that perfectly fit the game’s quirky nature and that is why we have decided to list it here.

5. God of War

It is difficult to find a game that has done so much for the PlayStation as God of War and its sequels. The story of the rise and fall of Kratos and the Olympian gods is one of the best stories ever written for a video game, and with the recent universe shift – as Kratos and his son explore the Norse realms – the future of the franchise is guaranteed. Although the “Greek games” had great music as well, the most recent God of War has such an amazing score that we could not avoid it.

6. Nier: Automata

Now, Yoko Taro’s original Nier game wasn’t a hit initially, but it became a cult classic. In fact, it became such a big cult classic that it received a sequel, Nier: Automata, a game that instantly became one of the best games of its generation. Taro’s deep, melancholic stories intertwined with tragic subplots have captivated fans around the world, and his characters are beloved even today. Still, one of the most important aspects of the series is Keiichi Okabe’s brilliant music, both for Nier and Automata, which has received numerous awards, as well as being credited as one of the best in history.

7. Batman: Arkham City

The Arkham series is certainly going to go down in history as the best superhero video game franchise ever, with Arkham City being, by far, the best superhero video game ever made. This series has done so much for the evolution of Batman’s character that we’d need a whole article to list everything. This is why we have opted for the soundtrack, which was absolutely great and which, we think, deserves a mention on the list.

8. Death Stranding

Another recent hit, Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding doesn’t just eerily echo a darker version of our current, pandemic-stricken society, it also features one of the best stories we’ve seen in years. Along with the great design, Death Stranding is a true modern classic, whose soundtrack brilliantly complemented the game’s story and crucial moments, and that is why we are listing it here.

9. Ico

Thinking about Fumito Ueda’s trilogy – Ico, The Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian – we cannot ignore the fact that these truly magical stories have done a lot for the development of video game narration. All three games are true classics that need to be played, but we have opted for Ico when the music is concerned, as its simple, yet mesmerizing soundtrack is the most special among the three.

10. Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Okay, this last one is a humorous one, but we have decided to congratulate the designers of Sackboy’s most recent, PlayStation 5 adventure by honoring its soundtrack on our list. The original compositions are quite befitting of the game, but the true surprises start pouring in when you see how the levels are beautifully designed to fit the songs of David Bowie, Bruno Mars, Madonna, a-ha, Frank Sinatra and others, which is why we have listed it on here.

And that’s it for today. Although there are many more brilliant soundtracks, we think that our choices are among the best. We have chosen the most memorable and most influential soundtracks, compositions that have had a larger cultural impact, as well as being recognized around the world. We do hope that you have enjoyed our list and that you are going to enjoy listening to these soundtracks. Also, don’t forget to follow us for more of the same and see you next time!

What Games Have the Best Soundtracks?