10 Video Game Scores We Think Are Worthy of Winning a Grammy

10 Video Game Scores We Think Are Worthy of Winning a Grammy


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There’s a lot more than just narrative that goes into telling a story. Video games use many different tools to express emotion, and music is a key player. A game’s soundtrack is what sets the tone for the adventure.

Slaying an epic beast in Elden Ring would not be the same without an equally impressive track to match that blood-pumping action. And the death of an important character would not hit the same if the Tetris theme tune was bleeping and blooping in the background. Music plays an important role in telling a game’s story, and these games definitely understood the assignment.

So, here are 10 video game soundtracks we think are worthy of winning a Grammy. Let’s dive in.

1. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the second game in the Ori series, and both are nothing short of a masterpiece. The graphics are absolutely stunning, and the gameplay is satisfying, but the soundtrack is where these titles truly excel.

There are very few games that utilize music so well to express emotion. The story itself is moving, but the hauntingly operatic soundtrack is the final straw that will send you sobbing into your nearest box of tissues. Very little is said throughout Ori and the Will of the Wisps. But the music is so efficient at telling the story that the game honestly doesn’t need words.

There are many differences between AAA games and indie games, but passion is certainly not one of them. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a perfect example of that.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Every epic JRPG needs an epic soundtrack to match, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 definitely delivers in that respect. The protagonists, Noah and Mio, both carry around flutes that they use at several points throughout the story. And one song, in particular, that they play on those flutes is simply unforgettable.

Yasunori Mitsuda ordered custom flutes that resemble the ones used in the game specifically for the performance of A Life Sent On. If you can listen to that song in the game, and it doesn’t make you shed a tear (or twenty), we honestly don’t know what will. The flutes are a highlight of the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 soundtrack, but the rest of it is also just as incredible.

If you don’t feel like crying, there are plenty more game soundtracks that deserve just as much praise. Metal: Hellsinger’s epic score is one of them. Metal: Hellsinger is a rhythm-based FPS game with a soundtrack that is almost godlike.

One of the key mechanics in the game is timing your attacks with the beat, which absolutely slaps, by the way. The score is composed of some seriously heavy tracks by the duo Two Feathers. It features vocals from a huge cast of massive names, such as Matt Heafy from Trivium, Serj Tankian from System of a Down, Randy Blythe from Lamb of God, and Alissa White from Arch Enemy, to name a few. The soundtrack is incredible, to begin with, but the fact that it is so heavily intertwined with the gameplay makes it even more satisfying to listen to.

4. God of War: Ragnarök

Every year, the Game Awards have a category that commends the winning game on its soundtrack. God of War: Ragnarök took that title at the 2022 Game Awards, along with many others. And it is very well deserved.

The score is almost tribal. The combination of deep and trance-like chanting that runs like blood throughout the soundtrack and the grandeur of the orchestra match the epicness of the game’s story perfectly. God of War: Ragnarök is such an impressive game that composing a soundtrack that reflects that would have been no easy feat, but it’s safe to say that Bear McCreary nailed it.

5. The Last Day of June

The Last Day of June is a short game, but it is absolutely packed to the brim with emotion. It tells the story of the protagonist as he relives the same day over and over, trying to find a way to save his loved one.

The game is partnered with a soundtrack written by Steven Wilson that somehow captures the very essence of the grief the protagonist is going through. The art style, story, and soundtrack all work together to weave the story of The Last Day of June, and playing through it is a special experience.

6. Super Mario Bros

Super Mario Bros has one of the most iconic soundtracks of all time. Even if you aren’t a gamer, you will most likely still recognize its theme tune. Video game soundtracks have far surpassed the 8-bit bleeps and bloops that they originated from, but this one is an absolute classic that is very hard to beat.

The Super Mario Bros soundtrack is, like most Nintendo projects, incredibly light-hearted and whimsical. It’s hard not to smile when you’re listening to any Mario soundtrack. If there was an award for the catchiest theme song, Mario would snatch it up immediately.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s opening track was recorded with a 30-man choir and completely sung in the game’s unique language. That is nothing short of epic, and it only sets the tone for what is to be expected further on in the game.

Skyrim’s orchestral soundtrack perfectly captures the fantasy element of the game and completely immerses you in the open world. Skyrim’s world is massive, and that calls for an equally expansive soundtrack. Listening to it from start to finish will take you the best part of four hours. There is so much to Skyrim, and yet every section of the game has the music it deserves to make them all stand out.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has one of the most immersive soundtracks in gaming. But listening to it through a gaming headset can take that immersion to the next level. Choosing the best gaming headset for you can be tricky, but it is well worth it to get the most out of these amazing soundtracks.

8. Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight isn’t just one of the best indie games to play on the Nintendo Switch, but one of the best games to play on the Switch full stop. It’s a brutal and beautiful game that shines for many reasons, and one of them is its incredible soundtrack. The game is simple from the outset, but when you look deeper, you start to notice all the creative and artistic ways the developers tell the story and set the tone.

The colors are very minimalistic, with each area being predominantly made up of one shade. The monochromatic use of color sets a bleak and mysterious atmosphere. Each of these haunting locations has its own unique and equally mysterious melody to go with it. The way that the game is put together is very artistic, and the music is a big part of that.

9. Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts is an extremely popular franchise, and Yoko Shimomura has become a household name for many fans of the series. Kingdom Hearts has a wonderful storyline, but it definitely wouldn’t have the same impact that it does without the music.

If you have never played a Kingdom Hearts game before, it is almost a combination of Final Fantasy and a Disney film. Yoko Shimomura’s soundtrack is very nostalgic, and its orchestral elements perfectly emulate the feeling of those old Disney films we all know and love.

10. Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal has one of the most epic soundtracks known to man. The game itself is extremely high-octane and fast-paced, and it requires a soundtrack to match that heart-racing combat. Constantly moving and weaving around demons as you absolutely destroy them wouldn’t be the same without some heavy metal, and Mick Gordon’s soundtrack delivers in spades.

The soundtrack is inspired by some of music’s metal heroes like Slayer, Megadeth, and Pantera. Because honestly, what else would be playing in Hell?

Any of These Soundtracks Are Well Worth Listening To

Next time you’re playing a video game, don’t let the music become background noise. Stop and take a moment to listen to what’s going on in the game, and you might even find you have an even deeper understanding of what it is that the game is trying to express.

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January 25, 2023 at 09:51AM

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