Myself and Matt Owen hashed out our top ten gaming soundtracks of 2017. You can always count on good gaming music, even when the games are bad, but this year we were blessed with both.
Recalling rockin’ NES chiptunes, Flinthook storms out of the gate with an rousing burst. It mixes classic synths with live drums and more. An underrated gem.
9 Mario Odyssey
Odyssey is arguably the most polished game of all time, but does lack the cohesion and soul of previous Mario titles. The variety works for his globe trotting adventure but I felt a consistent theme was missing. The music reflected this. While ‘Steam Gardens’ and ‘Jump Up Super-Star’ were hits, they sound like they’re from entirely different games. Strong music, but lacking the Mario magic.
8 Wolfenstein II The New Colossus
Another title with a disjointed score, but New Colossus stuck out with a few stronger tracks to make it one spot ahead. The title track builds from moody guitar to epic prog that tells the winding tale of BJ and the alternate-universe Nazis
7 Life is Strange: Before the Storm
The original Life is Strange made great use of coffee shop indie folk, but Before the Storm took it to the next level. This dynamic theme had me spinning my own tale of Chloe’s past before I’ve played it.
6 Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods tells a tale of returning home during a quarter-life crisis that immediately connected with many. The music remains playful yet emotive, like funding your favorite playlist/burned cd/mixtape from highschool
5 Zelda Breath of the Wild
Zelda is known for epic adventure themes and meditative dungeon ambience, but Breath of the Wild went more minimal than the series had ever sounded. The light fluttering of alien sounding piano melodies perfectly accompanied Link’s exploration of a post-apocalyptic Hyrule. Not a score great for listening outside of the game, but it damn sure fit what was happening in-game.
4 Sonic Mania
Sonic games – composed by J-Pop legend Masato Nakamura – have arguably the greatest 16-bit music of all time. Sonic Mania’s composer Tee Lopes was known for producing arrangements of Sonic music and added a few bangers that feel right at home.
3 Persona 5
Persona 4 had a very special soundtrack and P5 comes close to matching it. Three discs of bumpin music to get you jacked for a heist or help you groove through everyday life. It very nearly made the top of our list, but personal preference put a few others ahead.
We knew Cuphead would have period-centric music but the composer went above and beyond, unleashing a furious mix of jazz that matched the gameplay note for shot. Could have taken the top spot in other years, but its loyalty to genre tropes held it at least one spot back.
1 NieR: Automata
I’m a sucker for the epic and dramatic and NieR hit those notes for me. The score perfectly detailed the ultra-future setting and robot vs life philosophical beats. Lyrics sung in an invented blend of modern languages soar through a churning mass of symphonic doomsday and rebirth.
Check out our discussion and ranking of the top games here.
Those were our top picks, how about yours?