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Top 10 Modern Video Game Soundtracks

VO: Dan Paradis
You’ll want to crank the volume up to 11 when you play these games, They're the soundtracks that are so memorable we load them up on our iPod's to listen to the whole thing. Remember we're looking at original soundtracks as a whole, not one or two themes. Join as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Modern Videogame Soundtracks. Special thanks to our user ofcoursewhynot for submitting the idea for this video on our WatchMojo.comsuggest page!

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Top 10 Modern Video Game Soundtracks

You’ll want to crank the volume up to 11 when you play these games. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Modern Video Game Soundtracks.

For our list, while we usually stick to one title per franchise, though we decided allow overall series when we couldn’t lock down one game. We’ve ranked the soundtracks from the sixth generation of consoles and later, anything earlier will be in our Retro Video Game Soundtrack. And remember we’re focusing on the soundtracks as a whole, not just one off theme’s, as we already have lists for that. Lastly, games that used licensed tracks are excluded, so no dice GTA.

#10: “God of War” series (2005-2013)

Since the first game the music in this series has carried the tone. The composers use a range of orchestral themes to help establish the titles’ epic feel. It’s not like we need any more motivation to help Kratos take revenge, but the inspiring music certainly helps. The use of ancient and ethnic instruments gives it a unique sound.

#9: “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game” (2010)

Considering that this game tells the story of a gamer and bass player, it’s not surprising that it has a great soundtrack. Chiptune punk band Anamanaguchi scored the side-scrolling brawler, and their synthesized arcade-sounding music is a perfect match for the game’s quirky 8-bit visuals. We’ve got one editor here in the Watchmojo office who has this soundtrack playing on his iPod constantly, can’t say we blame him.

#8: “Crysis 2” (2011)

Hans Zimmer is one of the most sought after composers in Hollywood, so trying his hand at video game scoring is not surprising. The results is the orchestral sound that Zimmer perfected in movies like Inception and The Dark Knight translates perfectly to the dark post-apocalyptic world of “Crysis.” If you have to kick alien ass, you might as well hear awesome music while you do it.

#7: “Final Fantasy X” (2001)

This was the first title in the series with voice acting and fully three-dimensional areas as opposed to pre-rendered background, and the music was equally innovative. It was the first time that composer Nobuo Uematsu had help composing for the games as they created a score consisting of over 4 hours of music ranging from solo piano to pulsing techno. It just nudges ahead of Final Fantasy XIII thanks’ to the recent remaster giving the soundtrack a full facelift.

#6: “Assassin’s Creed” series (2007-)

This series revolves around modern day people reliving historical conflicts. Appropriately, the soundtracks combine older-sounding music with modern vibes. And each of the series soundtracks fits the theme of their game really well, For example, with the first game being set in Jerusalam, the music has a biblical tone, While the 4th game’s Pirate theme makes you feel like a true swashbuckler.

#5: “The Elder Scrolls” series (2002-)

This powerhouse RPG franchise made the leap to consoles with “Morrowind,” and its music was an equivalent step forward for the series. Composer Jeremy Soule’s use of stirring strings and booming percussion matches the epic quality of each game. As the gameplay in the series continued to progress, Soule matched the developers’ work. For “Skyrim,” he added a 30-man choir, which he layered 3 times to sound like 90 voices.

#4: “Portal 2” (2011)

The soundtrack for this puzzle-platformer contains both a score and individual songs, all of which perfectly compliment the inventive game. Composer Mike Morasky created a score which is generated in real time based on gameplay, leading to music which takes over 70,000 years to repeat itself! Indie rockers The National and Jonathan Coulton wrote the songs, both of which help to establish the game’s powerful emotions.

#3: “Red Dead Redemption” (2010)

“Red Dead” did an incredible job of establishing its Western setting, and the score by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson had no small part in its success. They used instruments found in cowboy films and consulted traditional Western musicians to create music that fit the title. Nothing screams Wild West quite like hearing a fiddle and jaw harp as you ride on horseback carrying a revolver.

#2: “Shadow of the Colossus” (2005)

“Colossus” would be a good way to describe Kow Otani’s score for this game. Though the epic orchestral score is only heard during cut scenes and when you encounter th titular giants, the music manages to be just as impressive as the colossi themselves. Just to this theme while taking on the 3rd Colossus. I now know what the next Godzilla film needs to include.

Before we get to our number one, let’s take a look at some honorable mentions:

“Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance” (2013)
“Max Payne 3” (2012)
“Kid Icarus: Uprising” (2012)
“Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon” (2013)
“Sonic Adventure 2” (2000)

#1: “Bastion” (2011)

Modern video game music has come a long way since the early days of beeps and boops, but this action-RPG’s achievements stand alone. Composer Darren Korb describes the sound as “acoustic frontier trip hop,” and the bizarre hybrid of bluegrass and techno is perfect for the game’s trippy, self reflexive tale. By the way, Joss Whedon fans, does this tune remind you of anything?

There’s so many amazing soundtracks, that its impossible to cover them all. So let us know what tunes you have playing on your iPods and for more immersive top 10’s published everyday, be sure to subscribe to

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