This isn’t just “Best Original Soundtrack.” As with other categories, this is about executing on a vision, and how well the music fits the world and gameplay. Bonus points if I wanted to listen to the music outside of the game. There were a crap ton of great soundtracks in 2018, and I want to call all of them out.
The Banner Saga 2
5. Pokemon Uranium
I’ll be honest, not much of the music in Pokemon Uranium stuck out to me at first, and I think that’s partially down to it being a faithful fan-made game. This music just fits because it’s a Pokemon game. But the battle music is catchy and I’m just a sucker for the more chip-tuney style, especially when it gets a bit grungy in some of the boss battles and environments.
4. Skyrim Special Edition
Let’s be clear: Skyrim is definitely the number one on this list, but I couldn’t justify it being higher given that it’s an old game and the other three games all have awesome music in different ways. But from the main theme to the actiony dungeon music to the more ambient exploration stuff, everything in Skyrim sounds amazing.
3. Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV’s soundtrack is the thing the game does best — by a longshot. In fact, my favorite part of the game was just driving around with classic Final Fantasy music on shuffle. The new stuff is solid too, just like every Final Fantasy game’s soundtrack is at least solid, but the real treat here is being able to mix and match hundreds of songs from the old games.
I don’t recommend listening to DOOM’s soundtrack outside of the game unless you want to come across as one of those metal kids we all avoided in high school. But in the game? It’s damn near perfect. The percussion and heavy guitar help sell the sense of constant momentum and tension that the game needs.
Every year it feels like there’s a game that runs away with this category, and 2016 was no different. While DOOM was a strong contender, the fact that I listened to Furi’s soundtrack on repeat outside of the game gives it a clear edge. I talk a lot about music creating momentum in an action game, and Furi’s works exceptionally well in this area. It’s just that dope-ass cyberpunk shizz that I’m super into. It gives me that stank-face groove and I dig it.
Want to read about my favorite 2016 characters? Check out the next page!