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The best video game soundtracks of 2021

The best video game soundtracks of 2021

There's been plenty of games in 2021 that have shone for their gameplay, but let's not forget about those with truly sumptuous soundtracks. Here's what we think are the best of the year.

The best video game soundtracks of 2021

We've long known that video games, while being a largely visual medium, can come with breathtaking soundtracks. Great composers are attracted by the creative freedom they're afforded, and the results can be spectacular.

We'd even go as far as saying some titles would be nothing without their music, leaving a lasting impression on those who play.

As such, we've put together a list of unforgettable soundtracks from outstanding composers in games in 2021. 

New World and Ramin Djawadi

While New World may have suffered queuing issues and various bugs on launch, the soundtrack has been a great success. It brought together four great composers, including Ramin Djawadi -- famous for Game of Thrones, Westworld, and more - and Brandon Campbell.

New World takes us into the alternative 17th century world of Aeternum, one ravaged by a power that is corrupting the population. Lying between magic and historical realism, this MMO has us seeking out the puzzle and infinite power of Azoth.

The music in New World is rich and divergent between the various settlements and biomes, some more affected by Azoth than others, and aids in the telling of significantly different stories.

Tales of Arise and Motoi Sakuraba

Tales of Arise has been a triumphant addition to the long-running series, focusing on the adventures of Alphen and Shionne. You don't have to look far to find the reason the Tales of Arise soundtrack is such a hit: Motoi Sakuraba, perhaps best known recently for the Dark Souls series.

Sakuraba has been involved in the Tales series since Tales of Phantasia in 2004, and therefore knows what he's doing in terms of the series' identity. .

It's a soundtrack that starts with a bang, thanks to the group Kankaku Piero, with  Sakuraba's job to create the music for the entirety of the game.

From the story to the battles, discovery and more, the music in Tales of Arise is incredibly emotional - and may even bring you to tears.

Monster Hunter Rise and Satoshi Hori

Between the koto, the shamisen, the flute, the percussion, the violin, the brass, the choir, and the singer, the soundtrack for Monster Hunter Rise has everything needed to propel us into a now-bygone era of Japan.

The work of Satoshi Hori, whether the song of the dangos, the awkward silence of the Kezhu, the epic music of the Magnamalo or Kamura, is best described as 'a journey'.

There's one question that does come up - that of why the Khezu doesn't have music. It's actually a clever aspect of the game's sound design, as the Khezu is blind. The monsters of Monster Hunter generally initiate battles fight, so when you hear their soundtracks, they've spotted you and the engagement begins.

Since the Khezu is not able to see us, no music is assigned - but if another monster should wander into the battle, its music will fill the void.

Nier Replicant Ver 1.22 and Keiichi Okabe

The music in the Nier series is exceptional in general, but the rearrangements in  Nier Replicant Ver 1.22 are a true delight for fans. 

The music of Popola and Devola in particular stands out. These two characters may be our adversaries in the game, but we can't help but become attached to the relationship between them. The Song of the Ancients and the theme of Emil's sacrifice are two that will haunt us for a long time.

While the soundtrack isn't new, it has been reworked to match the game's rework. It was breathtaking beforehand, and is just as much so now.

Halo Infinite and Gareth Coker & Joel Corelitz

Halo games often come resplendent with fantastic soundtracks, and Halo Infinite is no different.

There's significanty praise for its memorable main theme, while the soundtrack manages to blend the classical with action-based gameplay classic to add a mystical and epic nature to the adventure.

What's particularly pleasing about the Halo Infinite soundtrack is the nostalgia --  you'll be bombarded with memories of earlier games in the series, something that will tug at the heartstrings.

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker and Masayoshi Soken

Between the epic and the modern, Masayoshi Soken always manages to transport players from one boss or cutscene to the next.

Final Fantasy soundtracks in general are some of the best known in all of gaming, ever since the first title, and Final Fantasy XIV should be no exception.

New expansion Endwalker may have arrived right at the end of 2021, but in our opinion it's one of the very best of 2021. A special mention also goes to the music of the various trailers, which features Japanese alternative and rock from THE PRIMALS - a band formed by Soken himself.

Have there been any other memorable soundtracks in 2021? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Camille B

Ton pire cauchemar !

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