Video game soundtracks can easily make or break the game they’re apart of and sometimes they can be even more memorable than the game itself. The last ten years has given us plenty of great games and with them came some pretty fantastic music.
So, as the decade comes to a close, we’ve put together a list of some of the very best in video game soundtracks from 2010 to now for your listening pleasure.
Mass Effect 2
Our first video game soundtrack that makes the list is none other than Mass Effect 2. Arguably the best game in the series, Mass Effect 2’s soundtrack both shapes the player’s immersion in such a complex and lore rich world and adds a level of depth to many of the characters, their actions, and your own.
The music can easily make some of the badass things you do feel even more epic especially when you’re playing the game’s final mission and “Suicide Mission” starts playing. And, when it’s not hyping you up, it does an excellent job of maintaining the game’s sci-fi and otherworldly atmosphere.
Video credit: TchockTchocky
Final Fantasy XV
Some people love Final Fantasy XV. Some people don’t. Regardless, I hope we can all agree that it’s soundtrack is absolutely top tier. The Final Fantasy games have always had some great choices in music but, for this decade, Final Fantasy XV perfectly connects video game music with its emotion and its story.
The soundtrack mixes deep, orchestral, and somber songs with lighthearted, playful, and bright music. It reflects the weight and depth of what Noctis has to do for the world and the fact that he and his best friends are enjoying a fun roadtrip. It really says a lot about the game when it can easily go from happy “Hammerhead” to oh-god-we’re-going-to-die “Apocalypsis Noctis“.
Video Credit: AliGfx
Dark Souls 3
The Dark Souls 3 soundtrack practically can’t contain how epic and badass it is. Every boss has their own special blend of music that makes their entire fight a blast to play and it easily makes the player feel some sense of urgency or weight with each beat.
The soundtrack also easily invokes emotions of nostalgia for longtime fans especially with the music for its final boss. Everything leading up to that point culminates into this final song and those three specific notes it plays in its later half practically kill you with its intensity.
Video Credit: Shirrako
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3‘s soundtrack is just epicness personified. It’s reminiscent of Arthurian legends, high fantasy adventures, and long journeys across vast, gorgeous, and mountainous landscapes.
It sets the tone of the game’s atmosphere beautifully with ethereal strings, bright woodwinds, and stunning vocals. Practically everything about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is amazing and its soundtrack only exemplifies this.
And I’m not just talking about the lelelelelele song.
Video Credit: Video Game Soundtrack Archive
NieR: Automata hurts. But in the best way possible. Nearly everything about this game is fantastic and that includes its soundtrack. It adds more to the setting that 2B and the others traverse, emphasizing the expansive and empty feel of Earth after all of the humans have gone.
It’s somber and heavy. And songs like “Weight of the World” make you think about how much the main characters go through throughout the game. It’s a soundtrack that honestly gets you into your feels just as easily as the game does.
Video Credit: Video Games OST
God of War (2018)
God of War is just art. Its story and characters are phenomenal, deep, complex, and epic and its setting is blindingly beautiful. The music simply adds more to something that is already fantastic.
God of War is a very emotional game and its soundtrack revolves around much of what the characters are feeling especially when it comes to Kratos. When he speaks or thinks of his past, the music shifts to something darkly reminiscent of Ancient Greece in the songs “Echoes of an Old Life” and “God of War“. Even mentions of Faye evoke soft, sorrowful beats.
Special touches like that only make God of War all the more amazing.
Video Credit: Jack Okami
Journey is a gorgeous game with a gorgeous soundtrack. Need I say more?
Nothing is said throughout the game and everything is evoked either in visuals or music. Our mission’s importance and meaning is reflected in the soundtrack’s heavy strings, tranquil sounds, and gentle instruments.
Words aren’t needed to convey the fact that our mission has a purpose, one that centers around our minds, our bodies, and the world around us. This journey is ours and ours alone but, luckily, it comes with music.
To really chill out in the most epic way possible, have a listen to “Apotheosis“.
Video Credit: Selena
Domina shows that indie games can have some absolutely great soundtracks too. Training and fighting with gladiators only feels all the more intense and epic when this game’s music starts playing either “Gladius” or “Boom (Jason)“.
It’s punchy in a way that makes the player get into the mood of watching their gladiators go up against some of the toughest and biggest foes they’ve ever encountered. Sometimes that includes lions and sometimes that includes dozens of angry men armed to the teeth. Just like its soundtrack, Domina loves to surprise you.
Video Credit: Game Groove
Hotline Miami has a soundtrack that fits incredibly well within the game’s bright 80’s inspired aesthetic. It’s honestly a soundtrack that anyone can vibe with especially if you love all of those techno-y and synth-y touches that make 80’s music what it is.
The game itself just works so well with the beats and notes of the soundtrack, pairing beautifully despite what is happening on the screen sometimes. You’ll easily feel like you’re apart of the Hotline Miami world when either “Hydrogen” or “Horse Steppin” bless your ears.
Video Credit: SoundtrackVideoGame
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim’s soundtrack is incredibly atmospheric, intense, and hype AF. You need good background music when you’re fighting big bad dragons and Skyrim’s OST makes everything feel like a crazy Norse tale a bard is regaling to others in a tavern while others sing “Dragonborn” at the top of their lungs. Or, at least, try to.
When it isn’t trying to hype you up, it does a great job of being a nice accessory for when you’re traveling around the titular land especially in the song “Awake“. Long, drawn out strings, a crescendo of percussion, and the gentle singing of woodwinds makes the world of Skyrim feel so much more authentic.
Video Credit: Elmostrito007
Undertale is one of those games that people either really like or really hate. Regardless, even if you don’t like it, its music is one of its best parts. The game itself charms players with its pixelated and retro appearance and its music matches this with songs that feel just as 8-bit as the game looks.
With songs like “Megalovania“, Undertale’s boss music also hypes you up just as well as some of the more instrumental soundtracks on this list. It really shows that video game soundtracks can come in many forms and that anything can be a bop with the right beats.
Video Credit: MoltenFlarez
Saying that Doom’s soundtrack is intense is an understatement. It’s practically the personification of high blood pressure and anger. However, we wouldn’t expect anything else out of the Doom series’ reboot.
The game itself is extremely gory, action packed, and ridiculously violent so it needs a soundtrack that fits snugly and comfortably within that particularly bright and cheery atmosphere. Which the OST does wonderfully with “BFG Division” and “Rip and Tear”
Video Credit: CapitalCorn
The Halo series as a whole has just knocked it out of the park with its video game soundtracks. ODST is my personal favorite but, alas, it came out in 2009. Regardless, Halo: Reach builds upon the previous games’ music with its own special blend of epicness, coolness, and that #Halo feel.
Spartans in and of themselves are already badass but Halo: Reach’s music quite literally makes everything you do feel heroic and courageous. It adds another layer to the game’s already intense and heart pumping story. You are doing the impossible as a Spartan and the game’s music shows that in every single beat with songs like “Tip of the Spear” and “Winter Contingency“.
Video Credit: MK7 Media
The Persona series just has that #aesthetic that they’ve been vibing with for as long as the series has been around. Persona 5 loves bright and eye-catching colors, huge fonts, and practically anything that will grab your attention.
Its soundtrack does exactly the same thing with its jazzy and funky beats in songs like “Life Will Change You” and “Rivers in the Desert“. It’s honestly what you’d expect out of Persona 5 especially with how stylized the game is. Practically every song is a bop that pairs well with the game’s general atmosphere.
Video Credit: Aliahsan
Katana Zero’s soundtrack slaps harder than Tyrion when he hit Joffrey in Game of Thrones. Not only is the game’s aesthetic absolutely gorgeous and beautifully cyberpunk, its music is full of deep, dark synth beats that make you feel like a cool badass.
I mean, you’re a guy with a katana who can control time. You’re already as badass as can be but the game’s music makes it so much better. It wraps everything up with a nice little techno bow and gives you something so aesthetically pleasing.
Video Credit: Arias1101
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Not only does Revengeance have a name only Hideo Kojima could make up, it also has a soundtrack that’s just what you’d expect out of this particular game and the man, the myth, the legend himself, even with all of the conflicts between him and Konami at the time.
Revengeance is more action-packed and a hell of a lot edgier than some of the other Metal Gear games and it shows that pretty blatantly with songs like “Rules of Nature” and “It Has To Be This Way“. Regardless, Revegeance’s loud, powerful, and crazy beats just show that our boy Raiden means business.
Video Credit: Crimson
Devil May Cry V
The Devil May Cry V soundtrack is a something only the Devil May Cry devs could come up with. It has over-the-top songs
that are absolute bops, songs that are distantly cheesy, and songs that can make any mundane situation feel like the most intense thing on the planet. Though, that simply reflects the Devil May Cry series’ charm.
Every song is tailored to the game’s specific characters especially our favorite boys’ battle themes like “Crimson Cloud” and the lovely “Devil Trigger“. It makes the story feel even more fantastical than it already is. So, every swing of Nero’s sword and V’s cane thing is paired with a stellar beat.
Video Credit: Rdcore Hacode
The Last of Us
Another game that hurts so good, The Last of Us has a soundtrack that makes that hurt feel so much worse. It emphasizes the game’s overall somber and depressing tone with eerie cellos and other disturbing, echoing strings.
In songs like “All Gone” and “The Path“, the music invokes stress, fear, anxiety, and plenty of other emotions the game is already squeezing out of you. The world of The Last of Us is not a kind place and the distressing and distantly horrifying music makes everything just feel 2spooky4me.
Video Credit: Samssaboy1
Octopath Traveler has the kind of soundtrack that makes you want to pack up and go on a wild adventure across a vast and beautiful land. Which is kind of what you’re doing in the game. Just eight times.
The game’s soundtrack is bright and calming in a way that makes everything feel like it’s going to be okay. It’s reminiscent of a long voyage across the sea with the sunset at your back or relaxing on a serene breezy day in a meadow with no trees in sight.
Video Credit: Video Game Soundtrack Archive
Fallout: New Vegas
We finish up this list of the very best video game soundtracks with Fallout: New Vegas, one of the best Fallout games in the series. Technically it has two soundtracks if you count the Mojave music radio but either way, both add to the game’s atmosphere by both emphasizing the Mojave’s vast danger and the fact that the world is still weirdly kicking despite nuclear disaster.
You have the option of either listening to the normal, atmospheric soundtrack that brings attention to how large and encompassing the Mojave is in “Rubble of the Forgotten” or the upbeat retro songs that put a spring in your step like “Big Iron“.
We can’t blame you if you pick the latter. We all want to have a big iron on our hip.
Video Credit: VGameOSTs