Listen Up: Top 25 Soundtracks of The Current Console Generation

20. Nier – The music of Nier is emotionally evocative; its diverse compositions instill a range of energies in players as they explore the game’s sundered world and moving narrative. Many of its full orchestrations include ethereal vocals in a variety of mock-languages, primarily accompanied by piano, strings, organs, and percussion. Listeners will follow sweet, resonant chorales directly into thunderous adventure tracks, back into Gregorian-style chant, folk arrangements, and urgent, racing instrumentals. It’s no wonder that four official Nier albums have been released. This soundtrack simply must be heard to be appreciated. (Editor-In-Chief Eddie Inzauto)


19. Donkey Kong Country ReturnsDonkey Kong Country Returns does as good a job as we’ll ever hear at trying to recapture the odd mix of frantic, frolicking jigs and dark, atmospheric dirges that peaked with Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest. The horn-heavy arrangements shine, and this poignant aquatic piano and keyboard piece will remind you why Donkey Kong Country’s water levels are so haunting. (Managing Editor Dan Crabtree)


18. L.A. Noire – From the 1920s to the 1940s, the United States was a country in love with all things jazz, and L.A. Noire composer Andrew Hale took great note of that fact when crafting the game’s soundtrack. To say that the result does well to honor its era would be a significant understatement. Running the gauntlet of upbeat bebop, slow blues, cool jazz, and everything in-between, the music drowns you in what is one of the greatest period and genre pieces in gaming. It’s borderline impossible to hear any track from this compilation and not think of nice suits, femme fatales, fedoras, and all things noir and post-war America. (Senior Editor Mike Murphy)


17. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Skyward Sword returned the series to an orchestrated soundtrack, and the result can only be described as grand. Sky, land, sea, or dungeon; the music always holds that distinct Zelda quality, like the soundtrack to a beloved fairytale. The titular “Ballad of the Goddess” may have simply been Zelda’s Lullaby reversed, but it’s a fitting companion to Link’s sky-high adventure, anyway. (Contributing Writer Aled Morgan)


16. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – The end of a saga like Metal Gear Solid needs a worthy soundtrack to see it through, and the music of Metal Gear Solid 4 fits the bill. From the sorrowful vocals of “Love Theme” to the heroic sendoff that is “Father and Son,” every song in the game is masterfully composed. Harry Gregson-Williams and Norihiko Hibino outdid themselves with this music – a proper sendoff for Solid Snake, Otacon, and the rest. War may have changed, but Metal Gear Solid’s musical excellence remains untouched. (Senior Editor Jason Fanelli)


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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