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The best Xbox soundtracks

  • SashamorningSashamorning2,716,684
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 07:22, Edited on 25 July 21 at 07:24 by Sashamorning
    Brave Tanuki said:
    Paul Laserbeam said:
    sonnyforple said:
    Flame in the Flood should not be overlooked, it has an original full length alt-country soundtrack which is excellent.
    ah man, you're speaking truths. i have a lot of Chuck Ragan on my Spotify
    Thanks for the reminder! That game’s been in my backlog so long I’d forgotten how awesome the soundtrack was. Really liked the way they incorporated the theme into the crafting menu as well.
    One of the many things that makes this game spectacular. I hear the walk-through is pretty good, too.

    Deus Ex: HR still runs through my playlist.
    Brevity is the soul of wit. ~W.S. / I guess I'm not witty. ~Sasha
  • Posted on 25 July 21 at 07:52, Edited on 25 July 21 at 07:54 by Musikfreak007
    Love that you included links to listen to the soundtracks listed here in article. A lot of agreement from me with the selections here. music
    Luke - have you created a Spotify playlist of your select favorites? I had a playlist with whole game soundtracks and started realizing there are so many great OST's that it made more sense to grab just a few songs from each game that I enjoyed. Would love to hear some of your song selections (obviously we have a list of some of your favorite games OSTs here).
  • GoldaciousGoldacious1,043,545
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 08:28
    Great article, lots of games here I need to try and lots of my favourites included too. One soundtrack that I love that isn't here is Outer Wilds, check it out.
  • SilentJay76SilentJay76742,454
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 08:41
    Please tell me you at least considered Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. Probably my all-time favourite original soundtrack. Especially the Machinae Supremacy versions.
  • SSSteinManSSSteinMan1,779,291
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 09:28
    Honourable mention: Ruiner - Full album OST https://youtu.be/jdx6db7PPVs
    Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.
  • Posted on 25 July 21 at 11:17
    Morpheus414 said:
    You say ‘play nice’, but you personally hurt me not including any Halo or Sonic. cry

    Those four notes redefined video game music and gave the OST market a CPR treatment in sales. And Sonic may have a roller coaster in terms of reception, but EVERYONE loves the music unanimously!

    I’m hurt deeply.
    My apologies. Sonic was on the list until the very last minute - really wanted to include Mania but couldn’t settle on where to put it, but yes, Sonic music is amazing. Halo I’ve discussed a bunch in this thread, I personally think the same crew did a better job with Destiny from an overall soundtrack perspective and while I agree that Halo has some superb tracks, I’m not sure there’s a full Halo soundtrack I’d pick over Destiny.
  • Posted on 25 July 21 at 11:21
    Musikfreak007 said:
    Love that you included links to listen to the soundtracks listed here in article. A lot of agreement from me with the selections here. music
    Luke - have you created a Spotify playlist of your select favorites? I had a playlist with whole game soundtracks and started realizing there are so many great OST's that it made more sense to grab just a few songs from each game that I enjoyed. Would love to hear some of your song selections (obviously we have a list of some of your favorite games OSTs here).
    Thanks! A few people have asked for that now so I’ll see what I can do. Hoping to do a follow-up piece in the week with community picks from this thread (so keep ‘em coming!) and will aim to throw something together as a little bonus thing for that…
  • Posted on 25 July 21 at 11:30
    Great topic, nice selection!
  • YaevenYaeven263,531
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 12:14
    Luke Albigés said:
    Music is one of the secret ingredients of great game design. It often goes unnoticed by a lot of players, and it's an aspect of gaming that doesn't get the love it deserves
    You and I must be hanging around different parts of the internet then, but I'm happy to concede if it gets us talking about VGM. I appreciate the effort you put into this, and I must say a lot of these are things I would personally pick, so I like the prospect of these masterpieces reaching new ears.

    I could easily add stuff like Assassin's Creed 2 and The Walking Dead but you already have an Assassin's Creed and a Telltale adventure type on your list and I'm aiming to fill some gaps instead. I'll share some of my favorites - hopefully achieving a diverse list - and with any luck a number of these will be choices most wouldn't otherwise consider. I'll also include a few of the tracks that converted me personally.

    An obvious note, by the way: the lack of Halo is like making a compilation of the best Pixar scenes and completely excluding anything Toy Story related. That was very strange to see.

    Persona 4 Arena & Ultimax
    •Your Affection
    •Break Out of...
    •Wiping All Out
    •Heartful Cry
    •Heartbeat, Heartbreak
    •Secret Base
    •Long Way
    •Electronica in the Velvet Room
    •The Almighty
    •The Battle for Everyone's Souls

    I'm absolutely using a loophole to include songs that originate from Persona 3 & 4. It's a sin not to bring up the series' music when an opportunity presents itself. This is especially justified here, where a large part of the site's demographic will be unfamiliar with it. The fewer the people that continue to live without ever realizing this was lacking from their life, the closer we get to global peace.

    *** Spoiler - click to reveal ***

    Sonic Mania
    •Stardust Speedway Zone Act 2
    •Main Menu - Comfort Zone
    •Green Hill Zone Act 2
    •Press Garden Zone Act 2 (Blossom Haze)
    •Mirage Saloon Zone Act 2 (Rogues Gallery)
    •Titanic Monarch Zone Act 1 (Built To Rule)
    Mirror's Edge
    •Still Alive
    •The Shard
    •Pirandello Kruger

    The ambiance music elevates this game's already beautiful 13 year old world exponentially, and its main theme is always going to be one of my favorites in the medium. Downtown District and Anchor District are just two of the tracks that make Catalyst's OST a worthy successor as well.
    •Long Past Gone
    •Lullaby Set

    If you know about the genesis of indies as we know them today and the XBL Arcade initiative, you might start to see why I think that Braid was an iconic landmark for the Xbox brand. And if you took away these licenses, the alternate timeline equivalent is a game that never reached the same level of admiration.
    •Red & Black
    •Fly Me to the Moon
    •After Burner

    Moon River alone would warrant Bayonetta 2's inclusion, but life isn't always fair.
    Lost Odyssey
    Neverending Journey
    Eclipse of Time (Harp Version)
    Roar of the Departed Souls
    Killer Instinct
    •Temperance & Vengeance
    •The Watchman of the Gods
    •Touch Me and I'll Break Your Face
    •Village of Whispers

    I was tempted to put a version of Street Fighter 2 on the list but ultimately went with Killer Instinct instead to really highlight some of the Xbox DNA. Just like its character roster, this game's music is as diverse and unconventional as you can get. This game simply does not give enough of a shit to fit into a mold.
    Octopath Traveler
    •Decisive Battle II
    •Enveloped in Kindness
    •Battle III
    •The Riverlands
    •Battle at Journey's End
    •Stolen Dreams, Lost Light
    VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
    •Every Day is Night
    •Welcome to VA-11 Hall-A
    •A Gaze That Invited Disaster
    •Safe Haven

    This is the most obscure one of the lot and deserves all the love it can get. If your disposition allows only one of these a chance, listen to Every Day is Night. If that doesn't convince you, nothing will.

    Well, maybe Welcome to VA-11 Hall-A will, but yeah, after that... maybe the style just doesn't appeal to you. Somehow.
  • Posted on 25 July 21 at 13:21
    What a fantastic idea for a discussion, Luke, and some really excellent choices (well-reasoned, too). Thanks for all of the effort that went into this one. I echo the sentiments about making this a regular thing if possible. Maybe bring in the whole team for their own personal favourite track / OST? And whilst I know this is ostensibly an Xbox-related website, don't feel beholden to it in any follow-ups.

    Anyway, here's my completely subjective list to add to the group. I am not limiting myself to time period or platform but will try to keep the number relatively low (hopefully).

    Halo: Reach, start to finish, is probably my favourite offering from Marty O'Donnell - and whoever mentioned ODST for the ambient section is bang on the money. Sit in a darkened room, put that CD in the stereo and feel transported to New Mombasa in the 'Rain'.
    Sonic may have had his ups and downs (both literally and figuratively) but the one thing that has been almost unanimously agreed upon is that the music is, by and large, fantastic. Toss up between Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Sonic Mania for which is the 'best' overall. (Honorable mention to Generations for all of the - mostly - brilliant remixes of classics).
    Saints Row the Third and IV make absolutely stellar use of their licensed soundtracks - plus, with the in-built playlist option, they're also (somewhat) customisable to your personal tastes too!
    Was Terraria ever in the running for the Chiptune category? Because if not, I'm dreadfully sorry but you might need to go to a doctor and get your ears checked.
    Bastion is so good but because you've already mentioned it I'd like to signal boost Transistor. It gets a little overshadowed by its older and youngest siblings which I think is a shame because It. Is. Beautiful. Shout out to the bonus track that wasn't even in the original release but is absolutely essential listening: She Shines
    Command & Conquer. Frank Klepacki, utter genius.
    I own the 4 disc collection (signed by Jeremy Soule). I have listened to it in its entirety multiple times. Enough said.
    I'd apologise for the emphasis but I don't want to. The music and gameplay in all three combined perfectly into my all-time favourite experiences with the medium. The only thing that comes even close to matching Suicide Mission (and the level it's in), for example, is Halo 3's Warthog Run.
    “How vain it is to sit down to write when one has not yet stood up to live…”
  • Dying GaspDying Gasp401,543
  • antiriad68kantiriad68k625,187
  • Ganon255Ganon255377,686
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 13:39
    Kingdom Hearts 3 deserves to be on this list.
    Praise the Sun!
  • J PinderJ Pinder758,347
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 13:58
    Good choices, but man some big omissions:

    Killer Instinct
    Forza Horizon (series)
    Halo: Master Chief Collection
    River City Girls
    Tetris Effect: Connected
    Scott Pilgrim: The Game
    Life Is Strange 1
    Alan Wake
    Best of Jesper Kyd (selections from Assassins Creed 1-Revelations on Spotify -- personal choice over AC4)
  • guycarbguycarb450,555
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 14:28
    I really enjoyed this article, well done! I’m glad Marty O'Donnell gets some recognition through Destiny but it’s really Halo CE that peaked my interest in OSTs over 20 yrs ago (wow!) and those chanting monks still give me the goose bumps!
  • Kovy88Kovy882,146,514
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 14:36, Edited on 25 July 21 at 14:38 by Kovy88
    I feel Ori and the Blind Forest soundtrack is so close to perfection that it's almost impossible to top it. Also, Mass Effect 1 soundtrack is not listed. Also, not a single Halo-game listed, but Destiny. I can't remember any music from Destiny, but some of the Halo music is legendary. That's brutal!

    Edit: no Oblivion or Skyrim either?
    SSSteinMan said:
    Honourable mention: Ruiner - Full album OST https://youtu.be/jdx6db7PPVs
    I agree.
  • TTVGroudonGoTTVGroudonGo623,197
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 14:46
    BadRubberPiggy said:
    GamerColyn117 said:
    Imagine not having any of the Halo soundtracks on this list
    We don’t need to imagine. That’s the reality. People keep bringing up Halo, but nobody has named a particular game. There are some great tracks across the series, but I don’t think there’s any one game there that does anything exceptional. Happy to be proven wrong!
    Halo 2 or Halo 3 IMO have the best soundtracks in the series. The strongest case for Halo 2 is the Halo theme Mjolnir Mix, while Halo 3 had One Final Effort and Finish the Fight. But honestly you could pick any of the Halo’s Martin O’Donnell worked on. His music is an integral part of the atmosphere of the those original games.
  • Posted on 25 July 21 at 15:05
    Imagine making a list of the best music in games on Xbox and NOT including Halo...
  • Posted on 25 July 21 at 15:41, Edited on 25 July 21 at 15:53 by I8ITackyticsI8I
    I actually made a similar game list for this, top 10 instrumental pieces in games:
    Get even (not listed but definitely should be, heavily underrated)
    Nier replicant
    Nier automata
    Assassin's creed 3
    Saints Row 3
    The spectrum retreat

    Insanely good music in all of these, recommend all of them, especially the top 3 which were the most unbelievable experiences.

    Life is strange had amazingly good music too, but that was vocal rather than instrumental
  • NajayNajay104,637
    Posted on 25 July 21 at 16:04
    People also forget that Martin worked on Destiny too, tbh

    martin and michael are a power couple for sure
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