The 10 Best Video Game Scores and Soundtracks of 2023

Another Great Sounding Year

I played a lot of games this year. There were more than the usual number of outstanding games, some bland and forgettable titles and quite a few aggressively awful games. But even those games with putrid graphics, tired stories or painful mechanics often had music that’s much better than it should be. Game composers crushed it again this year. Here are COGconnected’s favorite scores and soundtracks.

1. Final Fantasy XVI

Final Fantasy games are known for having thrilling, emotionally charged and extremely varied musical scores. This year’s release is no different. Lead composer Masayoshi Soken crafted one of 2023’s most lush and brilliant scores for FF XVI. The game’s boss battle music is particularly powerful. 

Final Fantasy XVI Review

2. Sea of Stars

For the indie smash hit Sea of Stars, lead composer Eric W. Brown gathered an immense catalogue of samples and synth patches and applied them to an equally large range of styles. Although electronic, Brown’s score is anything but mechanical. It’s as varied, dramatic and emotional as the game it supports.

3. Alan Wake 2

It’s moody, dramatic and unsettling, trippy, scary and contemporary. We’re taking about Petri Alanko’s score for Alan Wake 2, one of this year’s most complex and layered games. Ranging from acoustic ballads to hints of EDM, the score is near constant and always effective at heightening the mood.

4. Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

There’s probably no game franchise with music that’s so consistently good as the Legend of Zelda. Tears of the Kingdom continues the tradition of excellence, with hours of music that’s soaring, playful and mysterious by turn. We sometimes take for granted just how interesting the music is. But if you stop and listen, nearly every cue has some cool musical element going on.

5. Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty DLC

Composed by P.T. Adamczyk & Jacek Paciorkowski, the soundtrack for Cyberpunk 2077’s Phantom Liberty DLC is as visceral as a buzz saw and as potent as the best EDM. Although almost entirely electronic, the soundtrack has immense range and is easily worth a listen outside the game.

More after the break!