Even if you don’t notice a good video game soundtrack or score, that music might be there anyway. Just as important in a video game as it is to a movie or TV show, the music that plays while you are gaming changes your perceptions, gets you pressing buttons, and gives you a rush. If the music is good enough, you barely notice it subtly influencing your mood. If it’s awful, it can ruin the experience.
But amazing video game soundtracks and score elevates your experience so much that it becomes unforgettable. The music can then become its own thing, even outside of the game. Although context certainly helps, you don’t need to be a gamer to enjoy the following seven soundtracks. Some are soothing, others are epic; some famous and some obscure. But all of them will enhance your life whether you listen to them at the gym, on your morning commute, or as you play the game itself.
Abzû was released by Giant Squid Studios in 2016, and it can be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. It’s a unique artistic adventure game. Composed by Austin Wintory, its score is simultaneously atmospheric and playful in equal measure. Not intrusively bombastic, this music can make you feel like you’re on your own personal adventure.
2. Ace Combat Zero
Ace Combat Zero came out in 2006 on the PlayStation and was released by Bandai Namco Games. Composed by Keiki Kobayashi, Tetsukazu Nakanishi, Hiroshi Okubo, Junichi Nakatsuru, its soundtrack is epic and stirring, making you want to conquer the world. It’s Top Gun but with a bigger-sounding orchestra.
## 3. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Released in 1998 and developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64, this soundtrack by Koji Kondo is grand, bold, and downright operatic. The central themes are also so familar to fans, that you’ll hear the Zelda theme remixed at nearly any Comic Con on the planet.
4. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Released in 1997 by Konami for the PlayStation, this soundtrack by Michiru Yamane is gothic, moody, and hypnotic. There’s plenty of faux organ music to make you think you’re in a legit haunted castle. Hopefully, the new animated series based on Castlevania will use some of these themes.
5. Shadow of the Colossus
Released in 2005 by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 2, this soundtrack was composed by Kow Otani. It has a brooding, epic fantasy feeling, similar to what you might find in an old Conan movie, or The Lord of the Rings.
Another by Austin Wintory, this 2012 release developed by thatgamecompany and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 is soothing yet captivating. Nothing is too up-tempo here. The moody soft flutes in this score suggest adventures, but they don’t force you into it.
7. Final Fantasy VII
Released in 1997 by Square for the PlayStation console and composed by Nobuo Uematsu, this soundtrack is a classic. It spins and spirals through vastly different tones with ease and fluidity. As popular as the game is, the memorable score should probably be even more popular than it is.