Music can be an overlooked and underrated aspect of video games. The best gaming soundtracks and songs get us hyped up to tear apart giant robots, shoot zombies, or plant some pretty flowers. Without it, many of our favorite games might be a tad eerie or boring to travel through. There were quite a few musical highlights in 2020, so let’s take a look at the best gaming music of the year.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Unsurprisingly, Final Fantasy VII Remake took home Best Score And Music at this year’s Game Awards. Because, yeah, it’s the friggin’ Final Fantasy VII soundtrack turned up to 11. Most of the original game’s most iconic songs have been completely redone with a full orchestra allowing some of the best gaming music ever made to be even more intense. Once the new version of “Let The Battles Begin” hits there’s no way to resist the urge to slash some Shinra soldiers in the face.
Trials Of Mana
Hey, did you know that Square Enix released two RPG remakes this year? In the same month no less? Yes, Trials Of Mana was definitely overshadowed by FFVII Remake, but its soundtrack is also full of classic music that has been completely remade. I got to warn you, most of these songs are dangerously catchy. I hear “Powell” at least once a day in my head. It’s a curse.
Hades is a greedy game. It’s not content to just have some of the best gameplay, characters, artwork, and voice-acting of the year. It also had to have one of the best soundtracks. That’s Supergiant Games for ya. I chose this song to show off because I didn’t want to spoil any of the amazing tracks that come from Eurydice and Orpheus. Sure, you could just find those tunes online for yourself, but you really should experience them in-game. You even get the best song in the game as a reward for beating it.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Most of the music in video games is designed to get you all hyped up to do something extreme like take down a dragon. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it’s there to be the perfect soundtrack to go fishing, visit a museum, or hand over your money to a raccoon. It’s the coziest music you could possibly find.
And then there’s the Doom Eternal soundtrack, which may be the least cozy music you could possibly find. If Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ songs make you want to relax underneath a peach tree, Doom Eternal’s metal tracks make you want to rip that tree out of the ground and slam it into a Cyberdemon’s face. The fact that these two games came out in the same week is simply amazing counter-programming.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
I don’t know what kind of a soundtrack a game about silly jellybean people struggling not to drown in pink slime should have been, but this nails the vibe. It propels you forward on these insane, cotton candy-colored obstacle courses without being too chill or too overbearing. And if you make it to the last round, you get to hear “Final Fall,” which is the best dang song in the whole game. Listen to that bass!
The Last Of Us Part II
Do you want some sad music? Don’t worry, The Last Of Us Part II is here to bum you out with lonely guitar and banjo folk tunes that will make you guilty about every Clicker and bandit you senselessly murder. Oh, and wait until you get to the song at the end of the credits. Not a dry eye in the house.
I haven’t played Paradise Killer yet, but I have listened to its soundtrack a whole lot. As a sucker for synthesizers and vaporwave, it’s an absolute delight for me. Now I just need to get around to actually playing this weird game.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 came out in 2020. Therefore the Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtrack makes it onto this list of the best game music of 2020. Don’t @ me.
Streets Of Rage 4
This is the perfect music for smacking street hoodlums with lead pipes and eating roast chickens you got out of an oil drum. This soundtrack for the newest installment of Sega’s beloved beat ’em up franchise somehow takes that classic Streets Of Rage sound and updates it for modern times. Also, it’s funky as hell.
Ori & The Will Of The Wisps
Ori & The Will Of The Wisps is a wonderful, magical game about watching adorable forest creatures suffer constantly. This music accompanies that suffering with an orchestration that could have come from a Disney movie. You know, like Bambi…Especially the beginning of Bambi.
Persona 5 Royale
Persona 5 Royale may just be 2017’s Persona 5 with some new stuff added in, but some of that new stuff is new music. And new Persona music should always be acknowledged.
Hot damn is this a banger of a soundtrack! It’s catchy, emotional, and pleasing to the ear. It somehow makes me want to dance while also contemplating my terrible life choices. It feels like something that could be used in a trendy iPhone commercial.
The music in Coffee Talk fits perfectly because it makes me want to head down to the local cafe, order a latte, and pretend to work on my screenplay. You got to love that free wi-fi.
Resident Evil 3 – “Staff & Credits”
Ok, hear me out on this one. The Resident Evil 3 soundtrack itself is no great shakes, but this end credits song is bonkers.
Imagine you just played a game where you’re being hunted down by an unkillable super mutant assassin and you have to run through a city full of aggravated zombies. You finally survive the journey and – SPOILER for a 21-year-old video game incoming! – watch helplessly as Raccoon City is nuked into oblivion. And after all that mayhem, carnage, and bloody violence, this song plays over the credit:
You endure all that horror and the game sends you out with an 80s cheese-rock ballad that’s so over the top it should have Bryan Adams singing over it. Even better, this is a remake of the original Resident Evil 3 ending song, which was somehow even sappier. This version decided to turn it up a notch by including some rocking electric guitar solos and a full string section. That was a very good decision.
I don’t necessarily think it’s the best song of 2020, but I’ll be damned if I don’t lift a lighter in the air every time I hear it.
NEXT: I Really Didn’t Care For Many Triple-A Games This Year
- TheGamer Originals
- Doom Eternal
- The Last Of Us Part II
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Final Fantasy VII Remake
- Streets of Rage 4
- Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Jamie Latour is a writer and actor based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. From his hyperactive childhood to his….Well, still hyperactive adulthood, he’s been writing and performing in some capacity for practically his entire life. His love for video games goes all the way back to the age of 4, playing Mega Man 3 for the first time on his NES. He’s an avid gamer and can be found nowadays either messing around in Red Dead 2, or being cheap as can be as Reaper in Overwatch. He’s still starting out when it comes to making online content, but aside from his writing he can found on his Twitch page under the handle SpontaneousJames. You can also find him on social media as @SpontaneousJam on Twitter (because Spontaneous James was too long apparently).
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