By GlobaX Gaming Staff
Video game music has a way of sticking with us, of lingering, of creating those fuzzy lasting feelings of nostalgia. One of the main reasons we get into retro gaming the way we do is likely the bevy of nostalgic memories associated with video game music in the first place! But, though we love retro music, modern video game music can be just as good!
Here are some of our favorite examples of modern video game music elevating the form!
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo) — Composers: Toru Minegishi, Asuka Ohta
Twilight Princess has always been an underrated game in the Zelda series for me, with its darker colors and brooding tone emblematic of that great generation in Japanese video games. And one of the reasons this tonal shift works so well for me is the elegant, adventurous soundtrack, which is among the best in the series. Random encounters signal a flurry of dissonant clusters, Midna gets a gorgeously memorable theme, and the music is as expertly paced and orchestrated as anything on the Wii. (Nicholas Tristan)
Fallout 4 (2015, Multi-Platform, Bethesda Softworks) — Composer: Inon Zur
It’s not that controversial to say Fallout 4 is a deeply, deeply frustrating game — right? But wow, composer Inon Zur knocked it out of the park musically for #4. I almost went with Zur’s excellent Fallout: New Vegas soundtrack, that being a game I enjoy considerably more, but I think at the end of the day Fallout 4 does edge out New Vegas for sheer scope, scale, and quality. Shame about the game itself. (David McDougal)
Final Fantasy XIII (2009, Multi-Platform, Square-Enix) — Composer: Masahi Hamauzu
Here we go, first Final Fantasy on the list! It was difficult to narrow the field, and I did almost go for a surprise pick of Final Fantasy X-2, what with it being more music oriented in general. But the epic scope and polished appeal of the best music we’ve seen Final Fantasy do in the new millennium won me over and here we are. (JCM)
Silent Hill 2 (2001, PlayStation 2, Konami) — Composer: Akira Yamaoka
Straddling the line between retro and modern, sure, but how can you not include the rumbling, environmental score to the horror masterpiece Silent Hill 2? This game’s soundtrack has become the archetype for good horror game soundtracks, and time has not dulled its impact. I still get shivers thinking about the music the plays when Pyramid Head first appears. (Terri Rose)
Cuphead (2016, Multi-Platform, StudioMDHR) — Composer: Kristopher Maddigan
One of the best Canadian video games of all time, Cuphead also sports a truly wild and wonderful big band jazz soundtrack by Toronto-based composer Kristopher Maddigan that matches its Fleischer-animation visual style. The music is sharp, fast-paced, and brilliant — just like the game itself. (Ben Beck)