Good music in video games has the ability to turn an okay experience into something truly epic. What I want to look at are the soundtracks from RPGs throughout the history of video games and give you guys, what are in my opinion, the five best soundtracks of all time.
5. Pokémon Red & Blue
I don’t think the guys at Game Freak could have done a better job with these games’ soundtracks. Every single track is placed at all of the right moments in the game. From the title screen track that just sounds like adventure. To the eerie Lavender Town piece that is so chilling that has been the basis of various folk legends about how the music has prompted multiple Japanese children to commit suicide. The music in these games does nothing but further the immersion and enhance the atmosphere of an already outstanding game.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
This soundtrack just screams “ZELDA!”; it would never work in another game because of how well meshed this game’s OST is with its game. Each track is simple, yet it conveys exactly what is going on around the current part of the game where the player finds themselves. There’s also a bizarre quality to each of the tracks that really just echos the equally bizarre nature of the game itself. This game’s soundtrack truly couldn’t be much better if it tried.
3. Shadow of the Colossus
Boss battles galore, and what makes boss battles even better? Truly epic music to go along with them. Which is why Shadow of the Colossus makes this list. These tracks did more than just enhance the gameplay or the atmosphere of the game. No, this music made the player feel anticipation and trepidation, helplessness and achievement, . These tracks are ominous, yet they oddly feel that they hold a sense of hope embedded somewhere within the rhythmic verses and various crescendos. The music was calm when it needed to be, it was loud and demanding when the time called for it, and most importantly it felt right. This music did more than just echo the world around it, it made you believe it was apart of it.
2. Kingdom Hearts
Just listen to that song. If you don’t have chills running up and down your spin throughout the entire thing, I don’t know what to tell you. The Kingdom Hearts soundtrack is an absolute masterpiece, but what puts it above the rest of the soundtracks on this list is its ability to provoke the emotions that the scene for at the time. I remember playing through this game, finally beating it, and during the final cutscene just crying when the music started playing. Not to mention all of the Disney inspired songs fit perfectly within each world and each world has an extremely distinct style of music. Not only is this soundtrack fantastic, it’s also incredibly diverse — something that the other soundtracks on this list had lacked.
1. Final Fantasy XI
Yes, I know Final Fantasy VII had “One-Winged Angel”, and that song is absolutely amazing. Luckily for you, you can find it in Kingdom Hearts so fret not; I did not forget that masterpiece on this list. While FFXI may not have been the best received Final Fantasy iteration, it had the best soundtrack bar none. Give a listen and you’ll understand why. Each track is more than music; it’s more than enhancing gameplay or simply fitting into the world. While it does all of those things incredibly well, each track also tells a story. Nobuo Uematsu composed this soundtrack, and there is not a single weak piece on it. It is a masterpiece, and it is perfection, thus taking number one on this list.
So what do you guys think? Do you agree? Do you Disagree? What are some of your favorite soundtracks from RPGs? Be sure to leave some love in the comment section below!
Mike Morrissette is one of MONG’s Editors. He also has an unhealthy obsession with The Green Lantern and anything involving Nutella. You can follow him on twitter, or friend him on PSN at HaughtyPride.