The end of the year brings with it another in a countless line of year-end lists, this time focusing on the incredible music that graced the PlayStation this year. As with all years, a few amazing soundtracks were left on the cutting room floor – Kingdom Hearts III, Ghost Giant, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – but what we wound up with are the ten best soundtracks to see the light of day in 2019.
We’ve been fans of composer Olivier Derivière for a while now, especially being fond of his work on DONTNOD’s Vampyr. Well, he may have outdone himself this time, weaving an incredible tapestry of a score this time out. A sombre, sobering experience, A Plague Tale: Innocence was an impressive game, and Derivière conjured up the perfect accompaniment.
The latest RPG experience from the revered team at Obsidian, this sci-fi role playing romp has a killer soundtrack that hooks from the very first second the music starts until the curtains are drawn. With perhaps the best main menu track of the year – closely contested by Jesper Kyd’s incredible one for Borderlands 3 – Justin E. Bell’s work on Outer Worlds is downright great.
8. Days Gone
Frankly, Days Gone is not a game we expected to see on this list before it came out. Sony Bend’s post motorcycle apocalypse had a surprisingly good narrative, and paired with that was an equally surprising score. The poignant melodies crafted by Nathan Whitehead did a fantastic job of conveying a surprising range of emotions, and left us thoroughly impressed.
Remedy’s return to PlayStation has been a long time coming, and the Finnish studio’s first title on Sony hardware in 16 years was a winner. Exploring the Bureau of Control, with its creepy, brutalist architecture is all the more effective thanks to ambient, eerie music from Petri Alanko and Martin Stig Andersen. Hearing all the whispers and layered melodies bouncing around the cavernous halls makes for quite the auditory experience. You’re going to want to rock some headphones for this soundtrack.
A powerful soundtrack, band Berlinist crafted a beautiful, resonant score that pairs perfectly with Nomada Studios' title. The gorgeous landscapes of this side-scrolling title are the perfect backdrop for the achingly wonderful music of one of the best indie titles of the year. Just sit back and let the pianos wash over you.
One of the most charming VR titles to release this year, Luna was a title accompanied by a score by one of our very favorite composers in the industry: Austin Wintory. It's another lovingly executed soundtrack. Luna’s score is woven into the puzzles in the game in such a way that the melodies stuck with us long after we had put the game down, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The beauty of the music work flawlessly with the cuteness of the title itself.
Developer Simogo’s first title to appear on a PlayStation, Sayonara Wild Hearts is a synthwave filled mad dash rhythm title with one heck of a soundtrack. Absolutely loaded with amazing music, the only thing more impressive than the soundtrack – from Daniel Olsén and Jonathan Eng – are the insane visuals.
Given the trajectory of BioWare’s newest offering, it might be surprising to see ANTHEM so high on a list in a positive way. But the score courtesy of Sarah Schachner is absolutely amazing. The main theme she made for Assassin’s Creed Origins is one of our favourites of the entire generation, and that level of quality is present here as well. ANTHEM has one stunning score, mixing fantasy and sci-fi soundscapes seamlessly.
Simply put, Martin O’Donnell is one of the greatest composers that gaming has known. His work on Halo is legendary and is something that decades from now people will still remember. And that’s to say nothing of his work on Bungie’s more recent Destiny. So when we say that the score he crafted for PSVR title Golem is up to that level, that is quite the proclamation. This score is pure magic.
No matter your opinions on Death Stranding as a game, there are just some areas that it objectively nailed. One of those is the music. Featuring a bevy of tracks from the amazing Low Roar, as well as a smattering of other artists, the game has fantastic licensed music. But the real star is Ludvig Forssell’s score. Equal parts disturbing and beautiful, the synth heavy score has such a particular and amazing sound to it that even when not playing the game, the soundtrack jostles around in one’s head as a true pinnacle of what game music is capable of.
So what do you think? Any egregious omissions? A list of only ten means there are of course a whole bunch of scores that didn’t get as much attention as we’d like, but too many good things isn’t the worst problem to have. Let us know your picks in the comments.