Top Videogame Soundtracks

Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , ,

Just about everyone enjoys playing some type of video game, and just about everyone enjoys some type of music.  When you put the two together, some great things emerge.  We have come a long way from the 8 bit sounds of the classic games, to full on orchestral arrangements.

Throughout my videogame experience, I have learned that I may not have played all the classics.  I primarily have enjoyed action games, but from what I have played, I think these are the videogames with the best soundtracks.  The following are in no particular order.

Medal of Honor (Series)
This series probably has some of the best music.  It also has to be the series that got me interested in videogame soundtracks.  While fighting on the heels of Jimmy Paterson in the first Medal of Honor (1999), I was mesmerized by the beautiful and empowering music of Michael Giacchino.  That classic World War II sounding music was hard to beat.

When Christopher Lennertz took over after Giacchino, the series started to go downhill.  The music wasn’t the same.  It was still good, but not what it was.  Anyone who followed the series later heard a completely different sound by Ramin Djawadi.  It took some getting used to, but the new sound became incredible!  Of course, Castle of Glass by Linkin Park thrown into Medal of Honor Warfighter was another great touch!

Halo (Series)
When I first played the 2002 Game of the Year, I was instantly captivated by the distinctive choir of the main menu.  That (now) iconic sound, matched with the inquisitive sounding string section, really made this game interesting.  Martin O’Donnell really took a different approach in the way this game sounded.

When the second Halo came out, the theme, “Halo Theme Mjolnir Mix” became a classic on its own.  As the series progressed, the music seemed to drift away from what it was.  The music almost became its own story line.  The iconic “Halo sound” seemed to have drifted away, but the music itself remained top quality and very pleasing to listen to outside of the game itself.

Call of Duty (Modern Warfare Games)
Now, I specifically picked the Modern Warfare games out of the bunch for a reason.  The original Call of Duty games that took place in WWII had great music, but when Stephen Barton, Hans Zimmer, and Brian Tyler got their hands on the Modern Warfare one, two, and three soundtracks respectively, things changed.  The mix of Western guitar and Middle Eastern drums was done so well by each composer. 

In MW1, Stephen Barton’s music conveyed extreme suspense.  Even the music that wasn’t made to sound suspenseful gave me that edge-of-the-seat feeling.  In MWII, Hans Zimmer was able to carry over the suspense, but added a real touch of emotion.  The music during the White House missions was so empowering.  In MW3, Brian Tyler’s sound was another emotional composition.  The music had the feel of Barton’s, but with the power of Zimmer’s.  Aside from this sentence, I am not going to say anything about the World at War, and the Black Ops games; not worth it.

Uncharted (Series)
Talk about a soundtrack.  Greg Edmonson did a spectacular job with the compositions.  The recreated versions of the main title for each game were very well done.  I have always been a sucker for exotic drum sounds, so having a videogame that started out with an exotic drum beat really did it for me. 

With each track having a perfect blend of horns, strings, exotic drums, and other non Western instruments, I really felt like I was in the locations set by each game.  The soundtracks have the perfect blend of suspense, emotion, and power.  Never was there a point in the game where I felt the music was out of place. 

Runner Ups
I could go on into detail about plenty more games, but to give you guys a break (if you are still reading), I’ll some up the rest briefly since the following games are more “one hit wonders” with their respective soundtracks.

Heavy Rain
Normand Corbeil did a great job evoking emotion in this soundtrack.  If the storyline wasn’t enough to make you depressed, the music was.

Super Mario Brothers
It’s iconic.  I am sure there are many people who can identify the classic Mario theme music, even if he or she has not played the game extensively, if at all.

Grand Theft Auto, and Saints Row (Series)
This may be cheating, but with each of these games having a laundry list of well known music in the games, it has to be put on the list.  Sure the majority of the music wasn’t made for the games, but the radio stations in game have a great selection of music to listen to.

Civilization IV
The main title, Baba Yetu, created by Christopher Tin is simply stunning.  I really can’t think of a more beautiful song for a video game.

Now, as I said, these selections are based off of the games that I have played.  There may be choices on this list that you may not agree with, and others that you wish were on here.  However, out of the games that I have played, these take the win! 

Which game soundtracks do you think are the best?