A good video game soundtrack can make a bad game pretty decent, and a good game great. We had plenty of great games this year, and in turn some great soundtracks. There were a ton of great tracks from games this year, and probably a ton that I haven't gotten to experience just because it's impossible to play everything. Even still, I think my picks do a good job at representing video game music in 2020. Here are 20 of my favorites from this year.
Spiritfarer - Charon's Burden
I haven't gotten much chance to sink much time into this game yet, but I'm excited to dig into it in 2021. The opening scene gave me a sense of mystery for what's to come, and this track
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity - Rescue Operations (Enemy Outpost)
This is a game I haven't been able to play this year, but the soundtrack is great. Check it out on Youtube, it's 4 hours of hits. This one was one of my favorites.
Doom Eternal - Main Theme
I don't have the twitch skills to really enjoy a fast-paced shooter like Doom. But this track kicks ass and nails the feeling of being an unstoppable killing machine.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Turkey Day
This track nails the feeling of being lazy on the couch after a big Thanksgiving dinner. I loved listening to it while running around my island doing tasks for Franklin to help prepare for our Turkey day feast.
Monster Sanctuary - Boss Theme
Another game I played this year but not enough of. Monster Sanctuary released at a really bad time around a bunch of massive games during the holiday season. I did enjoy this track that plays during your first boss fight. It reminded me of something from an older jrpg like Chrono Trigger.
Ghost of Tsushima - The Tale of Sensei Ishikawa
Ghost of Tsushima was one of my favorite games this year, but it's soundtrack could feel subdued at times. This track though really stood out to me during missions with Sensei Ishikawa and made me feel like I was in an old Samurai movie. The game was heavily inspired by the films made by director Akira Kurosawa, and this track did a great job at making you feel in one of those movies.
Cyberpunk 2077 - I Really Want to Stay at Your House
Cyberpunk has a ton of great music on it's many in-game radio stations, and Body Heat radio is one of my favorites. I chose this song from that station because it reminded me of someting I'd listen to on one of my Pandora Indie-Pop stations in High School.
Star Renegades - Valkyrie's Vengeance
Star Renegades is a game dripping with style, from its intricate pixel art to it's upbeat, heavily synthetic soundtrack. This track plays during some tough fights and listening to it you instantly realize that the game isn't messing around anymore.
The Last of Us Part II - Longing (Redemptions)
The Last of Us Part II had an absolutely gorgeous soundtrack, and songs throughout are accompanied by melancholic strums from a guitar. This one stood out as one of the strongest tracks in a masterclass soundtrack.
Hades - Out of Tartarus
Hades is my game of the year, and a good bit of love I have for this game I owe to the soundtrack. This is one of the songs you hear during your first really tough fight in the game, and the ramp up nails that experience.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla - Main Theme
I didn't enjoy Valhalla particularly much, but I was always drawn to the main tune whenever I'd start a new session. The oddly somber tune really intrigues me, and not what I'd expected the main theme to sound like for a Viking game. Always loved Jesper Kyd's work in previous Assassin's Creed games and he crushes it again here.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps - A Shine Upon Inkwater Marsh
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a magical game and this song truly captures that. One of the first tunes you hear during the start of your journey, but a memorable one.
Monster Train - Simple Machines
I would often play Monster Train with a podcast on or listening to a baseball game, but not during this song. Simple Machines always got me pumped up, especially during higher difficulty runs where one misplay could undo all your progress.
Crusader Kings III - Dusking Sky
When people discuss the best video game soundtracks of 2020, few would probably think to mention Crusader Kings III. Despite its relative obscurity, I think it was honestly a sleeper pick for one of the top soundtracks this year. This song encapsulates the feeling of devising a sinister plot for the political gain of your dynasty, something Crusader Kings players are well accustomed to.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales - On My Own
This track plays when the game opens up in earnest and players experience what it's like to be Miles himself. It fits the character perfectly and is a cool song on its own.
Cyberpunk 2077 - Dagga
The Principales station in Cyberpunk 2077 was one of my favorites to listen to while cruising through Night City. This track blends reggaeton with some more futuristic beats to encapsulate the feeling of being a streetkid in 2077 while being fun to listen to.
Crash Bandicoot 4: Off Beat
Crash 4 has some wonderfully inventive levels, and my favorites were inspired by New Orleans Jazz culture. This song added to an already groovy atmosphere of night time on the bayou.
Hades - The Painful Way
Supergiant games always have great soundtracks. Another one of my favorites from my game of the year.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons - 10am Theme
Animal Crossing has always had different music for every hour in the day, and in New Horizons the 10am music was my favorite. Whenever I heard this theme, I couldn't help but get in the mood to kick back, do some fishing, and enjoy the morning on my island.
The Last of Us Part II - Allowed to be Happy
Part II's soundtrack is a masterpiece and Allowed to be Happy is a somber reflection of everything the main characters lost in this bitter game. Very affecting piece, and one of my favorites from this year.
Those are my picks from this year. What was your favorite music track from a game this year? Feel free to share in the comments below and enjoy the new year!