best soundtrack 2021

Best Video Game Soundtracks of 2021

Best Video Game Soundtracks of 2021

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Honorable Mention: Returnal

Deputy Guides Editor Ethan Anderson: Returnal isn’t exactly one of those games that has you running to Spotify or Apple Music to find the soundtrack. It’s not the catchiest OST ever, but that isn’t its purpose — it absolutely excels at creating a tense atmosphere that greatly enhances the overall experience.

The horror elements become even more unsettling thanks to the swells in the tracks at specific instances. This is especially true when first exploring the Overgrown Ruins at the beginning of the game. Not knowing what to expect, but being thrown into a dense forest with eerie ambient music is nerve-wracking in the best way. And when the grotesque tentacle monsters begin to appear, the sounds in the OST will rise alongside your heart rate.

The very best instance of this happening is during one of Returnal’s tough boss fights. The boss in the Echoing Ruins biome, Hyperion, literally plays a creepy organ made of plants as it tries to kill you. As the battle goes on, the playing speeds up and becomes more intense. At least when you die, you’ll go out to an awesome performance.

Returnal does so many things right. Its visuals and gameplay are what get noticed most often, but hats off to the composers and sound team for nailing a vibe that brings those individual pieces together through the soundtrack.


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Omar Banat
Omar is a UofM Duluth graduate who is obsessed with Smash Bros. Video games are life, but life is not video games. Playing Games Since: 1991, Favorite Genres: Puzzle, Platformer, Action-Adventure (mainly Metroidvanias)