The Top Five Video Game Soundtracks of This Generation

Music is great companion to any video game. It heightens emotion, brings tension to otherwise less-than-exciting moments, and establishes pace and mood. Great gaming soundtracks are memorable for the feelings they evoke during gameplay, paired perfectly with each scene and section of gameplay. Here I will honor what I believe to be the best soundtracks this console generation.

Number 5: Bastion

Bastion became a cult hit when it released for several reasons, and one of those reasons was the delightful music Darren Korb provided for the title. Featuring unique music not normally heard in video game scores, the soundtrack has an acoustic and homey vibe to it, and for its beautiful rendition, it earns a spot on the list.

Number 4: Mirror’s Edge

Mirror’s Edge was a surprising new IP that released in 2008, and although it didn’t sell as well as the developers had hoped, it became an instant cult classic for its few loyal fans. The futuristic setting and unique premise provided the perfect atmosphere for the ambient soundtrack that graced the gameplay. I oftentimes found myself just standing and listening to the music instead of parkouring or puzzle-solving like I was supposed to be, a testament to the soundtrack’s beauty.

Number 3: Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy XIII was the first main title in the long-running series to not include any work by composer Nobuo Uematsu. Instead, the soundtrack for this game was created by Masashi Hamauzu who had never composed for a main title in the Final Fantasy series. All in all, I think he did an astounding job. The entire soundtrack features an overarching theme that echoes in nearly every song, bringing closure to both the music and the game itself. Hamauzu captured the essence and beauty of the game with his music, giving it the number three place on my list.

Number 2: Fez

Fez surprised the gaming world when it became an instant arcade hit due to its vivid aesthetics, innovative gameplay, and charming music. Every song in this game’s brilliant soundtrack evokes a different emotion, sending players back in their minds to specific parts of the game. This electronic, techno-y soundtrack is for everyone, whether you’re a diehard Fez fan or lover of music in general.

Number 1: Journey

Something magical happened at the Grammies this year: For the first time ever, a video game was nominated for best soundtrack. This is a testament not only to the ability for a video game to feature incredible music, but that society is finally starting to recognize games as the works of art that they are. Although composer Austin Wintory didn’t win the award in the end, being nominated is a great step forward for not only his music but the industry as a whole.

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