Our Round-Up of the 8 Best Video Game Scores of All Time

In one of our recent blog posts, we talked about the process of writing music for video games with Mark Roos and Tom Salta, and explored key elements of video game music production. While discussing the sheer amount of work that goes into these projects, and how technology helped push boundaries for this medium, we couldn’t help but think of our favorite titles.

We know that it’s really hard to come up with a shortlist that can feature every video game that has an incredible score, but we tried our best. Of course, the list is not exhaustive, and it will also be inevitably subjective, but we think we’ve got something here. Check out Cutting Room Music‘s round-up of the 8 video games that had some of the most amazing music, enhancing the overall gaming experience for the players.

1. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

The remastered Mass Effect trilogy came out not so long ago, and we’re more in love with its music than ever. Mass Effect has one of the most iconic video game soundtracks ever, blending 80’s electronic music with modern orchestral scoring, heavily immersing the player in a space opera adventure that spans over 80 hours. 

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 is regarded as one of the best open-world games, thanks to its incredible story, amazing world building and characters, as well as unique music. From start to finish, the game’s score takes you on a musical journey filled with relaxing songs, as well as suspenseful and energetic tracks to keep your heart pounding.

3. The Last of Us & The Last of Us Part II

Gustavo Santaolalla added an extra layer of genius to Naughty Dog’s masterpiece with his original composition, bringing unparalleled levels of depth and emotion to The Last of Us series. The first game’s music emotionally resonates and emphasizes how Joel, Ellie, and all the characters in the game perceive the world around them, while the music in the second game enhances Ellie’s emotional journey, which is filled with grief, trauma, revenge, and PTSD. It’s basically what you’d call an emotional rollercoaster.

4. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Exploring and getting lost in Skyrim is still one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences ever. Accompanied by your trusty sword, powers, and enchanting music, you can spend hours on end in the game without even realizing it – play this game at your own peril. Jeremy Soule composed the entire music for Skyrim, jokingly stating that he only used a midi keyboard and his hands for the digital recording process. He makes it sound pretty easy, doesn’t he?

5. Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima created a breathtaking world, ravaged by a deadly disease that resulted in a broken, isolated society—oddly similar to ours in the wake of the pandemic. The suspenseful and spine-tingling music composed by Ludvig Forssell, as well as songs from Low Roar, CHVRCHES, and Bring Me The Horizon completely envelop you in the game that stars Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, and Guillermo Del Toro.

6. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Including only one Halo game into this list would have been a disservice to the series, if you ask us about it. Halo’s main theme is one of the most popular video game songs ever released. Almost the entire franchise’s score is produced by heavyweights Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori. The melodies, chants, and symphonic touches lead you on an epic journey spanning multiple games.

7. DOOM

If you’re into horror, demons, and heavy metal, DOOM is the perfect game that covers all of these areas in a very entertaining way. There’s nothing like exploring a demon-infested space station on Mars and being swarmed by unholy creatures, while Mick Gordon’s heavy metal score pumps you up and keeps your adrenaline levels elevated. 

8. Cyberpunk 2077

While the game itself left many fans disappointed, the music in Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the best elements of the game. Marcin Przybyłowicz, P.T. Adamczyk, and Paul Leonard-Morgan did an extraordinary job bringing Night City to life with synthwave, industrial techno, and darksynth. The game also features a rich soundtrack and original compositions from Nina Kraviz, Run the Jewels, Grimes, and more.

Final notes

The list can go on, with titles like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Shadow of the Colossus, as well as the Final Fantasy and Silent Hill series. All of these games manage to stir up different emotional states with their music, which makes the entire gaming experience that much better and more enjoyable. It’s no wonder so many of us are addicted to video games…

Looking for a team to help you compose music for your video game?

We are a team of highly passionate composers that can bring any visual work of art to life with the help of music, including video games. No project is too large or too small for us, so whether you need an original composition for a triple-A game, an indie title, or mobile game, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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