Let’s get one thing straight here: of all the game soundtracks this year, there were none that as awesome as DOOM’s. The death metal thing works in every tune, and it’s the perfect set of songs to listen to while you’re working out, cleaning the house, or just sitting around. You may even be so full of energy listening that you’ll go out and decide to start punching demons! *Don’t do that, they’re not real.
Technically not a game soundtracks in the strictest sense, but it may as well be at this point. Riot always gets some great artist for their yearly Worlds competition, and this year, they grabbed EDM’s golden boy Zedd. Even though the two versions of Ignite are basically the same, it’s the Finals Remix that’s the best to listen to for how pumped it gets you. Game of Thrones and Westworld have proven that getting Ramin Djawadi to do your music is the smart choice, and The Coalition was right to pick him. The adventurous themes of the original three games are replaced with music that belongs more in a freaky horror film to reflect the new tone, and it certainly works in all the right ways.
The product itself is certainly divisive, but it can’t be denied how awesome the game soundtrack is. It perfectly straddles the line between bleak existentialism and hopeful discovery as you make your way across the cosmos, and it’s the kind of soundtrack where it feels much better to listen to it without the shuffle on. Listen here!
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End by Henry Jackman
You can say what you will about the Uncharted games, but they can be relied on for great music, and that doesn't change with the final outing. The composer of the previous three games is swapped out for Henry Jackman, who gives the music more of a swashbuckling and adventurous feel, given that the game's about pirates and treasure. Listen here!
Dishonored 2 by Daniel Licht
The world of Dishonored and its fantasy-steampunk vibe is indeed a weird one, and the soundtrack perfectly reflects that. Soft strings and piano emphasize the feeling of dread and secrecy that comes from the areas you'll be skulking around, while also taking time to accentuate the elegance that's expected from inhabiting the shoes of an Empress. Listen here!
The Witcher III: Blood+Wine by Marcin Przybyłowicz, Mikolai Stroinski, and Piotr Musial
The epic action-RPG franchise concludes with one final venture for Geralt of Rivia. Blood and Wine is triumph from start to finish, right down to its music. The composers give the music a royal and distinguished touch that the land of Toussaint would have, given that it's untouched by war. Listen here!
Thumper by Brian Gibson
Stop the presses, a rhythm game has good music. Thumper's synth and beat-heavy soundtrack sounds like something you'd hear for a rap battle, and it's likely some will try to rap while the music plays. It's just that good, and perfectly services a game that offers a fun VR experience. Listen here!
Rez Infinite by Tetsuya Mizaguchi and Hydelyc
It's not exactly a surprise that one of the best VR games to date that has music that grows with the player's actions has an awesome soundtrack. Just like with the original Rez, the music in Infinite is a huge part of the game, and it shows through how perfect it is to listen to. Listen here!
The Last Guardian by Takeshi Furukawa
An adventure about a young boy and his giant cat/bird friend needs an appropriately adventurous set of music. Fortunately, Last Guardian delivers on that front, while also making sure that the music reflects the beautiful bond growing between boy and beast. Listen here!
Final Fantasy XV by Yoko Shimomura
It's Final Fantasy, and whatever else can be said, they don't skimp on the music. Even though Shimomura has worked with Square Enix before on the Kingdom Hearts games, FFXV is her first Final Fantasy game she's composed for. The battle themes are the highlight of the soundtrack, perfectly in line with what fans of the series have come to expect over the years. Listen here!
Pokemon Sun & Moon by Minako Adachi, Go Ichinose, Junichi Masuda, Hitomi Sato, Tomoaki Oga, Hideaki Kuroda
The Sun & Moon soundtrack is listed as a "Super Music Collection" on iTunes, and it's easy to see why, what with having 169 songs for $10. Classic Pokemon themes are there, along with new music meant to reflect your time in the new Alola region. If you've ever wanted to truly feel like a Trainer while you're out hunting for Pokemon, the soundtrack is perfect for you. Listen here!
Mafia III by Jesse Harlin & Jim Bonney
The 1960's open world crime story of Lincoln Clay has music for pretty much any occasion. While licensing means that you'll be hearing "Paint It Black" often, the original music should be noted as well. It's got just that right amount of soul to put you in the setting of the game. Minus the gators and throat slashing, of course. Listen here!
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided by Michael McCann and Sasha Dikiciyan
Adam Jensen's back for another cyberpunk detective story, and so's the music. The neo-noir is real thanks to returning composer Michael McCann and newcomer Sasha Dikiciyan, and if you liked Human Revolution's music, you'll enjoy the sequel's even more. Listen here!
Far Cry Primal by Jason Graves
The prehistoric, first person action game was a definite departure for the series in every way. Graves made sure that the music reflected that departure as well, which constantly makes you feel like you're actually in a jungle and on edge as something likely follows you close by and waits to snap you up. Listen here!
Dark Souls III by Yuka Kitamura and Motoi Sakuraba
Dying over and over is the name of the game in a place where the world's about to die for good. It's only fitting that the music be grandiose and operatic as the Ashen works to make sure that doesn't happen, while also making you feel epic. Or reliving memories of particularly difficult bosses, whichever floats your boat. Listen here!
Hyper Light Drifter by Disasterpiece and Akash Thakkar
Have you ever needed something to listen to while you're sleeping that hits the sweet spot between lulling and action packed? This game soundtrack is perfect for you. Though if your dreams end up like the love child of Christopher Nolan and Madeon, well...that's not so bad? Listen here!
Gears of War 4 by Ramin Djawadi
Game of Thrones and Westworld have proven that getting Ramin Djawadi to do your music is the smart choice, and The Coalition was right to pick him. The adventurous themes of the original three games are replaced with music that belongs more in a freaky horror film to reflect the new tone, and it certainly works in all the right ways. Listen here!
Bound by Heinali
A game about a ballet dancer inside her own head is going to need music, obviously. Fortunately, the soundtrack by Heinali perfectly captures the head-space of the Princess, appropriately switching between synths as a shorthand for being inside her head and keyboard and strings to convey her background. Listen here!
Furi by Waveshaper, Lorn, The Toxic Avenger, and Carpenter Brut
This twin-stick shooter/hack-n-slash is plenty of difficult fun, and its music is top notch. It's pretty much what you'd expect a sci-fi retro game in 2016 to be, with all the appropriate synths and beats, and it also happens to be an addicting listen. Listen here!
Destiny: Rise of Iron by Michael Salvatori, Skye Lewin, C. Paul Johnson, and Rotem Moav
Fish swim, birds fly, Bungie games have great music. The same truth holds here with the newest Destiny expansion, offering perfect melancholy to go with the theme of living up to the stories of legends. But to be honest, it's the amazing reworking of one song from the original soundtrack that makes the whole thing worth it all on its own. Listen here!
No Man's Sky by 65daysofstatic
The game itself is certainly divisive, but it can't be denied how awesome the music is. It perfectly straddles the line between bleak existentialism and hopeful discovery as you make your way across the cosmos, and it's the kind of soundtrack where it feels much better to listen to it without the shuffle on. Listen here!
DOOM by Mick Gordon
Let's get one thing straight here: there's been no game soundtrack this year that was as awesome as DOOM's. The death metal thing works in every tune, and it's the perfect set of songs to listen to while you're working out, cleaning the house, or just sitting around. You may even be so full of energy listening that you'll go out and decide to start punching demons! *Don't do that, they're not real. Listen here!
League of Legends Worlds Finals by Zedd
Okay yes, it's technically not a game soundtrack in the strictest sense, but it may as well be at this point. Riot always gets some great artist for their yearly Worlds competition, and this year, they grabbed EDM's golden boy Zedd. Even though the two versions of Ignite are basically the same, it's the Finals Remix that's the best to listen to for how pumped it gets you. Listen here!
About the author
Sometimes a writer, always a dork. When he isn't staring in front of a screen for hours, he's probably reading comics or eating Hot Pockets. So many of them.