One of the best parts of growing up as a gamer was being introduced to so many new kinds of musical genres and artists, thanks in no small part to the licensed soundtracks of games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, the FIFA series, Burnout, Def Jam, SSX and countless others. Granted, most of those mentioned games were published by EA, but they were far from the only musical connoisseurs out there.
These days though, gaming music has become even more special, with soundtracks and musical suites of original music that rivals even the best that Hollywood has to offer, and most of them are available to you at the touch of a button thanks to streaming services like Spotify. With that in mind, we’ve decided to wade through the vast digital library and find some of the best video game soundtracks on Spotify, focusing on original music made for the game rather than effective needle drops. Just don’t be upset if your favourite isn’t at the top, because music is about as subjective as it gets.
15. Yakuza 0
The Yakuza/Like A Dragon series might be best known for its brutal combat, emotional storytelling and goofy minigames, but one of its best features that goes overlooked by a lot of people is the music. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio have quietly been putting out Official Soundtrack albums filled with bangers for nearly a decade now, with arguably the pinnacle of their work being Yakuza 0.
Considered by many to be the highest point in the series, that seal of quality also extends to Yakuza 0’s soundtrack, which contains some absolutely incredible tracks. Boss fight music like Pledge of Demon (the Kuze fight music, you know the one), Two Dragons or Fatal Conflict are all terrific hype generators, while tracks such as As You Like or Baka Mitai prove the incredible range that this series has to offer.
14. Street Fighter 6
Fighting games have been an incredible source of music for decades now, ever since people heard the iconic themes of characters in Street Fighter 2. Guile’s theme is still as excellent now as it was back in the 90s. Fans looking for fighting game music on Spotify have the pick of the litter between the likes of Tekken 7, King of Fighters XV, Soulcalibur, Killer Instinct (2013) and others, but the best pick of the genre has to be Street Fighter 6.
The most recent entry in the series, Street Fighter 6’s hip-hop influences coalesce to create an absolutely titanic album that’s spread over seven discs. The album includes incredibly diverse character themes, with fighters like Zangief, Ryu, Jamie, Marisa and JP receiving some of the best themes the series has to offer, while the Battle Hub theme is eight minutes of pure, chilled out jazz, making for some beautiful easy listening.
13. Hollow Knight
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re one of the many fans who are sat there, waiting patiently for just a crumb of news about the second Hollow Knight game, Silksong. Perhaps one of the biggest indie games of the past decade, the original Hollow Knight became famous for its incredible gameplay, inspired by the best of the Metroidvania and Soulslike genre, but one aspect that deserves its flowers is the soundtrack.
As the tiny but determined Knight, exploring a hostile kingdom filled with monsters and secrets, the soundtrack for Hollow Knight appropriately channels the epic scale of fighting massive bosses, while also appreciating the more serene moments in between battles. If you want to experience this spectrum for yourself, go from listening to tracks like Dung Defender and Decisive Battle, to the beautiful White Palace.
12. Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3 might be the most controversial entry in the slow-mo shooter franchise, but one thing that most fans can agree on is that the official soundtrack from the band Health is absolutely incredible. The pulse-pounding electronic beats from HEALTH add an extra layer of danger and urgency to this noir tale of an alcoholic former cop who’s out of his depth and waist deep in yet another conspiracy.
Each track in this album is worth the listen alone, whether it’s the booming drums of THE GIRL, or the thumping bassline of tracks like SHELLS and PAINKILLER. These brilliant pieces of music crescendo alongside the game itself, reaching a fever pitch with the final level and the original song TEARS, which provides the backdrop for possibly the best gunfight in the entire game. If only HEALTH’s take on the iconic Max Payne theme was on the official album too, otherwise this’d be higher up the list.
11. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance
The Metal Gear series is certainly not a stranger to being memed, with plenty of iconic moments and lines becoming the subject of memes over the years, but perhaps no game in the series is more synonymous with memes than Metal Gear Rising Revengeance. That’s probably to be expected when one of the main villains gives a five minute monologue about the nature of memes, but another memed part of Revengeance is the music.
Rules of Nature alone became a meme format itself back when the game first launched, but in the 10 years since Revengeance’s release, other tracks from the soundtrack have become just as beloved. The Only Thing I Know For Real and A Stranger I Remain have earned plenty of acclaim, but perhaps the final boss theme, It Has To Be This Way, is the real highlight of this excellent album.
10. Silent Hill 2
Horror games might not make for the most relaxing or easy to listen to soundtracks ever made, but if there was any to listen to, it’d be Silent Hill 2. Considered to be one of the best horror games of all time, Silent Hill 2 is the game that put composer Akira Yamaoka on the map, with his surreal musical score helping cement this game as a horror masterpiece for the ages. Hopefully, Bloober Team will live up to that legacy with their upcoming remake.
Perhaps more so than anything other game, the soundtrack for Silent Hill 2 perfectly matches the setting and aesthetic of the game, as the range of instruments and almost sinister use of electronic sounds makes you feel like you’re alone on a dark highway at night. The best examples of this include Prisonic Fairytale, White Noiz and Betrayal, though if you’re looking for a track that’s slightly more normal, Theme of Laura absolutely slaps.
9. Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2’s gameplay and story might have been a bit too slow for some people, but for those who it clicked with, they found an emotional and haunting tale about a mournful cowboy wondering if they happened to waste their life following the wrong idol. With a heart-wrenching narrative at its centre, it’s no surprise that the soundtrack is built to match. If you’re looking to cry over some country music, Red Dead Redemption 2’s soundtrack is fantastic.
The musical suites for both Red Dead Redemption games are well worth listening too, along with the voiced tracks that made some of the last missions of Chapter 6 feel even more like a gut-punch. Still, if you’re unconvinced by most of the music from this game, Red Dead Redemption 2’s soundtrack is still one of the best ever made purely for The Housebuilding Song.
8. Tetris Effect Connected
Naturally, a game that utilises synesthesia as one of its core features would happen to boast one of the best soundtracks in gaming history, which is why the Tetris Effect Connected soundtrack should definitely be added to your rotation. Granted, some songs on the soundtrack don’t quite work as well without the visual accompaniment, but other tracks can genuinely be considered some of the most uplifting music on the whole of Spotify.
Tracks like Connected (Yours Forever), in both its regular and in-game mix variants, along with the final track Always Been But Never Dreamed, are musical tour de forces that are able to rouse emotion from even the most hardened of gamers. It’s hard to create music that’s just as eternal as the Tetris formula, so the music of Tetris Effect Connected should both be celebrated and added to your liked songs immediately.
A shoot ‘em up/slasher hybrid combined with a bosh rush is already a killer premise for a game, so when it came to creating the soundtrack for Furi, The Game Bakers had their work cut out for them. With the action in Furi practically sitting around a 9 at least at all times, The Game Bakers turned to the best of the best in the electronic and synthwave scene to create a soundtrack that’s truly special.
Recruiting the likes of Carpenter Brut, The Toxic Avenger, Danger and others, Furi’s official album and soundtrack is 90 minutes of the absolute peak that EDM and dark synthwave music has to offer. Highlights include 6.24, Wisdom of Rage and You’re Mine, though perhaps the most memorable track comes from an interlude between boss fights, Make This Right. If you’ve got a spare six minutes to be blown away, stick Make This Right on immediately.
6. NieR Replicant + Automata
In the space of just two games, the NieR franchise exploded from an obscure PS3 and Xbox 360 curio to a gaming phenomenon known the world over. The leap in exposure going from the original NieR to the sequel Automata doesn’t necessarily mean a leap in quality though, as the first game was every bit the compelling and weird RPG experience you’d expect from Yoko Taro. It also helps that the soundtracks for both Automata and Replicant, the remake of the original game, are utterly incredible too.
NieR Automata’s tale of android existentialism and huge alien robot fights brings with it a range of ethereal strings and pianos, such as those heard in Widespread Illness or Copied City, while NieR Replicant’s fantasy inspirations makes some of the music feel more grand and operatic, with Hills of the Radiant Wind being one of the best open world exploration songs ever. Tying these NieR games together is Song of the Ancients, a running musical theme that results in the best song in both games, Song of the Ancients / Devola for Replicant and Atonement for Automata.
5. DOOM (2016)
It will remain one of the world’s greatest fumbles and regrets that the soundtrack for DOOM Eternal will never make its way to streaming platforms, as it could have led to a genuine double-header of peak metal. Still, at least we have the soundtrack for DOOM (2016) instead, which happens to feature some of Mick Gordon’s best ever work. If nothing else, it’s at least tied with his work on Killer Instinct.
DOOM (2016)’s album is wall-to-wall kicks in the teeth by some of the most aggressive and headbanging metal ever contributed to gaming, with only occasional interludes about how the Doomslayer scoured the Umbral Plains seeking vengeance. Tracks like BFG Division, Cyberdemon and main menu music Hellwalker are all guaranteed to up your adrenaline significantly, but the star of the show is the aptly named Rip & Tear, because once you hear it, you’ll want to eviscerate those demons with your bare hands.
4. Sayonara Wild Hearts
Like Tetris Effect Connected before it, Sayonara Wild Hearts combines visuals, music and gameplay to create something beautiful, but the key difference here is that Sayonara Wild Hearts is explicitly an interactive pop album. The music is first and foremost, meaning it’s the biggest highlight of the whole package. Seriously, the Sayonara Wild Hearts album could be considered an all-time classic, meaning it’s worth adding it to your Spotify.
The instrumental tracks on the album are great, with the special take on Clair De Lune being a fantastic opener to the game itself, but it’s the vocal tracks where the Sayonara Wild Hearts album truly shines. Songs like Begin Again, The World We Knew and Mine are beautiful and emotional, mixing heartfelt lyrics with upbeat music, but that all culminates in the 8 minute medley extravaganza that closes out the album.
3. Persona 5 Royal
Considering the fact that Persona 5 Royal is basically a 120-hour RPG, you’d hope that the music in the game was good, because you’re going to be listening to it for the longest time. Fortunately, Atlus knocked it out of the park with Persona 5’s soundtrack, infusing elements of rock, pop, funk and jazz to create a blend that sounds unlike anything else in gaming. It’s an epic soundtrack to match an epic game with an epicly long runtime.
If you’re someone like me who loved Persona 5 Royal, but felt the game was way too long, listening to the soundtrack on Spotify is a great way to continually get your fill without diving headfirst into a second playthrough. Picking highlights from the full soundtrack is pretty hard, as most of the songs on there are utterly incredible, with Last Surprise and Take Over making for incredible battle themes, but it’s the lowkey vibes of Beneath The Mask that’ll stick with you forever.
2. Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
Capcom’s premier character action franchise, the Devil May Cry series has also boasted incredible music, especially from Devil May Cry 3 onwards. Personal preference might make someone say that they prefer the music from DMC3 or DMC4, though we reckon that the soundtrack for Devil May Cry 5 is the best of the best. If nothing else, it’s miles better than the music from the Ninja Theory reboot.
Truthfully, the soundtrack for Devil May Cry 5 received a fair bit of backlash, thanks to the sub-par version of Dante’s theme Subhuman that was originally created, but some swift changes later and the Devil May Cry 5 soundtrack is nothing but net. Each character’s theme alone is phenomenal, especially Crimson Cloud for V and Bury The Light for Vergil, but the real winner here is Nero’s theme, Devil Trigger. You listen to it once, and you’ll be singing “pull my Devil Trigger” until the end of time.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve waxed lyrical about the soundtrack for Hades, and it probably won’t be the last either, especially when Hades 2 finally drops. The work done by Darren Korb and other collaborators on the Hades soundtrack is nothing short of perfect, and deserves to be considered among the best gaming soundtracks of all time. If you haven’t added some of these songs to your playlists or Liked Songs yet, you’re missing out.
As for the songs themselves, they cross the spectrum of emotion you could expect from a roguelike, with the foreboding doom of Field of Souls or Through Asphodel giving the player a sense of the trials ahead, while tracks like Good Riddance become signals of safe havens. God of the Dead is arguably the best final boss theme in gaming, while the ending song, In The Blood, feels like a moment of conquest condensed into a four minute long masterpiece. If you want the best gaming soundtrack on Spotify, Hades is it.
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