5 Best Video Game Soundtracks in 2023
One of the design elements I love in gaming is the soundtrack. It takes art and a clever mind to pick a melody that perfectly depicts the current gameplay. Whether it’s the death of a fan-favorite character, going toe to toe with a big boss, or building suspense leading up to an unexpected twist, video game soundtracks play a vital role in ensuring each moment of a game lands.
Imagine a game without music. You’ll likely want to pull out your hair a few hours into the game or simply put the controller down to find something better to do. That’s how powerful music is. Even though it can fade into the background and most people may pay less attention to it, the value it carries far exceeds most gameplay elements of any genre out there.
And then there's the music you remember way after the game is finished. The ones where you go straight to Youtube or audio streaming services to see if there are downloadable links for the soundtrack. These types never grow old, with fans wanting to play them while carpooling, doing chores, or even studying. From orchestral symphonies to classical music to licensed tracks, here are the best video game soundtracks in 2023 that we simply can’t keep our minds away from.
5. Final Fantasy VII (One-Winged Angel)
There’s something amazingly cool about the One-Winged Angel track. I mean, generally, Final Fantasy hardly ever fails to disappoint with its soundtracks. They always use catchy tunes and upbeat tones that keep the blood rushing through your veins. But for One-Winged Angel, in particular, you’ll need to prepare your eardrums for this. For context, One-Winged Angel is the theme song for the final head-to-head battle against Safer Sephiroth.
This guy is arguably the most badass villain and the main antagonist in Final Fantasy VII, which you’ll have to face. A one-winged angel is a fallen angel, and Sephiroth has a single black wing on his back to prove it. I imagine it was a tough job to curate the perfect soundtrack that conveys Sephiroth’s personality to a tee. And in just a few seconds, I was sold. It’s an intimidating masterpiece that quickly turns into a massive, rock opera journey.
What’s more? Final Fantasy VII Remake takes all the original classics, including One-Winged Angel, and remasters them into modern-day sounds. The result is a beautiful orchestra you easily get lost in and perhaps even shed a tear or two at the insane hardness blasting through your ears.
4. Super Mario Bros. (Theme Song)
Besides composing motif songs for a specific character, theme songs are likely the other most difficult task video game soundtrack composers face. It’s the song that will play on for as many sequels as the game is able to release, which, for some franchises, can run for decades. But if done right, the perfect theme song can turn out to be the game changer for a series. It can inspire community forums to bond over the theme song’s catchy tune. In today’s world, theme songs can lead to memes going viral.
Super Mario Bros. is a good example of a theme song done right. Anywhere you hear it, you’ll know it or recognize it. I just watched the Super Mario Bros. movie and instantly drew a smile just from the intro theme song. It’s incredible how the song was first composed in 1985. Of course, there have been several adaptations since then. Yet, the nostalgic effect of how far Super Mario Bros. has come remains. The fact that the series has continued to release catchy tunes, including introducing symphony orchestras to the already amazing repertoire, speaks to how legendary the Super Mario franchise is.
3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (KK Cruisin’)
I love KK Cruisin’ from Animal Crossing: New Horizons because it does its thing, even with nothing but beats. The track mixes a slow tempo, whistling synth, and a hip-hop beat that inspires you to compose a rap verse too. KK Cruisin’ is so good that it’s transcended beyond Animal Crossing: New Horizons to content creation, where many have used it to create lots of varied content.
In essence, KK Cruisin’ is all vibes. It’s chill and calm, which perfectly syncs with the escapism of the life-sim playthroughs of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Just kick your feet up on a fine evening, jump into Animal Crossing: New Horizons, lay back, and know that even if capitalism slowly creeps into your livelihood, it’s all going to be okay.
2. Hi-Fi Rush – Too Big to Fail
Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm-based action game that thoroughly impressed across the board. You’ll find yourself toe-tapping, even when the music helps you track when to dodge or attack. Despite the loud electric guitars and drums, Hi-Fi Rush is actually pretty low-key.
Hi-Fi Rush songs’ list seamlessly integrates eclectic soundtracks with exploration and combat. At no point do you get bored. So, if you like energetic beats to keep you on your toes doing chores or other things, have a listen to “Too Big to Fail”. It’s an instant classic that I couldn’t help tracking down way after I’d put the controller down.
1. Persona 5 (Last Surprise)
It’s utterly difficult to choose which video game soundtrack in the Persona series outdoes itself. Every song just seems to soothe my heart. You’ll find yourself bouncing from one genre to another in a seemingly endless sea of 110 tracks. And all of them, whether pop, opera, or rock, feel like beautiful music to your ears. Eventually, I might have ended up with a list made entirely of Persona 5 soundtracks. However, Persona 5 made me take a longer-than-expected stopover, and at the Last Surprise track, in particular.
Last Surprise is a fantastic normal battle theme song banger that doesn’t do too much. It’s the kind of music you can’t help bopping to, giving off some Michael Jackson vibes and being a cross between smooth jazz and disco. A couple of worthwhile mentions you might also enjoy listening to, still from Persona 5, are Keeper of Lust, Life Will Change, Beneath the Mask, and Whims of Fate. Do, enjoy.
So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our best video game soundtracks in 2023? Are there more video game soundtracks we should know about? Let us know over on our socials here.