The role of music in games is sadly underrated- even as we have had incredible game soundtracks over the year, thanks to some incredible Nintendo offerings, and titles like Persona and Final Fantasy, a whole lot of people never even stop to consider the role and importance of music in their games. But music is paramount- without music, games would be significantly less enjoyable than they are. The proof of this lies in the fact that our nominees for the best soundtrack this year also represent some of the best games of 2016.
The Last Guardian
Slow, quiet, reflective, introspective, and more focused on ambience than melody, The Last Guardian’s soundtrack is instrumental in building that game’s atmosphere- and anyone who had played the game will tell you that its atmosphere is among its greatest assets. The Last Guardian would be a lesser game without its music.
Final Fantasy 15
Is it a surprise that Final Fantasy 15 has great music? The entire Final Fantasy series is known for having soundtracks that transcend the medium itself, and Final Fantasy 15 is no exception. Whether we want to talk about its use of licensed music, or the original compositions created for it, or its deft reuse of OSTs of older Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy 15 certainly stands out as one of the best soundtracks of the year.
The Banner Saga 2
The original Banner Saga was a masterpiece of presentation, with incredible, gorgeous graphics, and a charming and beautiful as all heck soundtrack- The Banner Saga 2 is no different, and it follows, tonally, the original game’s soundtrack, while also following the more ambitious story that the sequel tells. The Banner Saga 2’s soundtrack, then, is one of the strongest aspects of a very great game.
Dark Souls 3
Orchestral, dark, brooding, eerie, haunting, atmospheric, gothic- there are so many adjectives to use to describe the Dark Souls 3 soundtrack, but none quite do it justice. The true impact of the Dark Souls soundtrack cannot be felt unless you hear the music while playing the game- that’s how indelibly married to its game it is. Perhaps that’s what makes it such a work of art, then.
DOOM is just the embodiment of the old, 1990s style kickass mentality, and that is reflected in just about every facet of the game. From how it plays, to how it is designed, to how it looks, to yes, the music, which is basically an orgy of death metal that plays in the background as you mow down wave after wave of demons with you ridiculously overpowered weapons.
Oxenfree is a game that is incredibly memorable- memorable for how it looks, memorable for its premise, and memorable, yes, for its soundtrack, that definitely stands out as far and away one of the best soundtracks in a year that is full of incredible music in games.
Final Fantasy 15
Does this really come as a surprise to anyone? Final Fantasy 15’s music is veritable art- from just how well it uses some older compositions to how great the new ones are, from how well selected the licensed music is, the music in this game is incredible. But more than that, perhaps, what Final Fantasy 15 excels in is in knowing when certain music pieces should and should not be played- and the effect of Final Fantasy 15’s incredible soundtrack is, as a result, truly maximized, reinforcing its status as the best gaming OST of the year.
Note: GamingBolt’s Game of the Year categories, nominations and awards are selected via an internal nomination, voting and debate process. You can check the rest of categories and the respective winners here.