Top 10 Fan Favorite Halo Maps That Should Return with Infinite
The Halo series features some of the most fleshed out, compelling universes of any video game that puts a gun in your hand and directs you to kill all enemies on sight. Learning the terrifying origins of the Flood, bravely fighting to the death during the Fall of Reach, and racing against the Covenant to stop the firing of the Halo rings; these are all stories that will always be remembered within the bullet-ridden hearts of Halo fans.
Of course, it’s the hyperactive, adrenaline seizing Halo multiplayer that keeps the masses hooked, and the upcoming Halo Infinite will likely be no different.
One of the most enthralling aspects of Halo multiplayer is the terrific selection of multiplayer maps. These locales, lovingly designed with callouts to human, Covenant, or Forerunner architecture, dictate the style of play for a match and reward imaginative explorers with terrific sniper posts and hidden paths to sneak up on your enemies.
343 Industries urged us to “Discover Hope” in their triumphant Halo Infinite trailer, and so below we will choose our top picks for which maps we hope will make a return to the newest installment in the Halo series.
10. Hang‘em High
The first map on our list is from the first in the Halo series, Halo Combat Evolved. Back in the day, Hang’em High was all about Spaghetti Wester pistol action, quickest draw and surest shot wins the day. The small blocks dotting the lower level provided perfect cover to dart between, staying low while shooters with the high ground pop from above.
The upstairs battlements aren’t safe either, as sightlines were open across the entire upper deck. Battle Rifles were another viable alternative, especially on the Halo 2 remake of this map called Tombstone. In both versions, the map resembles some sort of empty warehouse where military exercises were conducted, like a spiritual predecessor to The Pit.
Hang’em High is a map that deserves a modern face lift. The original was functionally well designed for medium sized skirmishes, but the aesthetic was bland as stale Corn Flakes.
9. Battle Creek
Or as it was known in Halo 2, Beaver Creek. Battle Creek has the two base formula perfected in Blood Gulch, on a more claustrophobic landscape. The simple symmetrical structure made this map an easy pick for vicious rounds of Capture the Flag or Team Slayer.
In Halo CE, Battle Creek was easily one of the most naturally abundant multiplayer maps. A tranquil brook swims through the center of the map, and the landscape is interspersed with trees, tall grass and boulder cover. Bisecting the entire map is a natural rock bridge where the all-powerful SPNKr Rocket Launcher sits. Spartan veterans will quickly nab the invisibility, pick up the sniper rifle, and hop into a tree to smoke the other team from afar.
This doesn’t even mention the thrill of the individual bases, featuring underground tunnels and mysterious fog on the lower level. Halo Infinite could offer a map with a similar layout but updated bases and a reimagined look (Like how the blue frozen Flood lab Lockout became an arctic outpost at sunset in the Halo Master Chief Collection).
Arguably the best Big Team Battle arena available within Halo Reach, Spire is the only map on this list that was taken basically unaltered from the game’s single-player campaign.
In the campaign mission Tip of the Spear, the Spire is grounds for a tense exchange where Noble Team nearly gets vaporized by a Covenant supercarrier. In multiplayer, the Spire is an even more intense battlefield with popular clash zones at the base and peak of the spire, in the Covenant mini-outpost right next to it, and around the boulder field downhill from the structure.
The stinging vehicular chaos in the air and on the ground are a wonderful backdrop for the long and short range battles all around this map. I think this would be a perfect revival if Halo Infinite decides to do a Battle Royale variant in the newest installment.
343 Industries, don’t even bother changing a thing, bring Spire back unadulterated in its entirety.
The Halo series has tried the oval shaped, vehicle centered map design in many iterations, but none is more memorable than the wooded racetrack circuit Exile. A crashed UNSC spaceship serves as the centerpiece for large-scale combat where Spartans can choose to pilot a Banshee, jump in the driver’s seat of multiple land vehicles, or hole up in the fortifications built on either side of the track.
There is no other map in the series quite as exhilarating as this one for Warthog teams. Some other maps prove to be a quick deathtrap for these vehicles, but because Warthogs can retain their speed here while also being in close proximity enemies on foot at all times, they are a high octane force to be reckoned in Exile. Additionally, multiple lanes along the track only increase the replayability of this map for drivers.
Exile is a Halo 4 map, so the visual details don’t need a great amount of rework. But the exhilaration of high velocity vehicular carnage has not been so well replicated since Exile, and is in desperate need of a revival.
The multilevel tower of death Countdown is inspired by the SABRE-launch facility featured in the Halo Reach campaign. This is a medium sized map, with an even balance between open sightlines for midrange shootouts and compact rooms necessitating close quarters combat. Sword or shotgun wielders can be deadly on this map, but these juggernauts can be bested with clever grenade bounces and backpedaling while firing.
Despite the smaller size of this map, it’s remarkable how different each match transpires in Countdown. Conflicts commonly arise on the end of the grav and air lifts on this map, but just as likely are firefights across the open middle, or random encounters in the hallways and stairs around the facility. Countdown provided endless entertainment and a balanced map that would be a welcome addition to Halo Infinite.
The Narrows was a beloved choice in Halo 3, a symmetrical Forerunner causeway spanning a mammoth canyon that gladly swallowed up any player unfortunate enough to fall into it. The center bridge was flanked on either side with man cannons that would spit players across the gaping expanse to the other base.
This map is very well designed for all of the gaming types, and there are few joys more rewarding than sniping a flying Spartan from the bridge, or even better, killing enemies in mid-air combat who use the opposing side’s mancannon at the same time.
4. The Pit
In my opinion, The Pit is one of the most underrated maps in Halo history. It received a weathered sandy remake in Halo 4 after being passed up on Reach, and Halo 5 gave it a similar pass. Fair enough 343 Industries, sometimes players need a break from certain maps to really appreciate their value
I’ll state my case here: The Pit’s maze-like layout of metal fortifications, covered platforms, turret lines and air lifts foster a unique game each match. Many mid-to small maps in Halo multiplayer are designed in a way that inevitably creates central kill zone locations where all the action is centered.
However, The Pit avoids this pattern with a balanced, asymmetrical build rewarding players who can think creatively, and teams who move toward objectives in a steady, tactical manner. The other golden aspect of The Pit is it’s versatility in game modes. Multi-team, Invasion, Team Slayer, King of the Hill, Oddball, all are perfect for this map.
3. Blood Gulch
I had a tough time deciding between reviving Blood Gulch or Valhalla as the designated Big Team Battle throwback map. However, if 343 Industries is announcing Halo Infinite as a spiritual reboot, it only seems right to make a return to the box canyon that started it all.
I’ll admit, after hours spent playing in Blood Gulch in Halo CE, Coagulation in Halo 2, and then Hemorrhage in Halo Reach, the map was beginning to lose it’s excitement. Enter Valhalla, the two-base successor to Blood Gulch which proved to be an excellent replacement until it too was recycled in Halo 4 as Ragnarok, and then again in Halo 5 as Viking.
Now that Valhalla has become overused in the multiplayer scene, Blood Gulch is poised for a comeback. (Although, some additions should be made to provide sniper coverage for Spartans in the space between the bases.)
Pull the trigger 343 Industries, the people are calling for Blood…Gulch.
Midship, also going by the names Heretic in Halo 3 and Truth in Halo 5, is indisputably the most popularly remixed map in the Halo series. Each iteration is an interesting tweak to the consistent formula, which is a small-sized arena in a Covenant cruiser with grav lifts that bounce players around the map.
The tight hallways and open lines of sight across the map guarantee a constant stream of death and an addictive feeling of constantly being on edge. The action on Midship is as hot and messy as a barrage of plasma rifle shots, and like the plasma rifle, it deserves to stay with the Halo series forever.
Lockout is the number one map that deserves a remake in Halo Infinite. It first gained popularity in Halo 2 as a frozen, floating research facility that had a multi-level layout with hidden corners, myriad escape routes and most prominently, a perilous middle arena that was a death sentence to enter.
This map, which was perfect for nearly every type of game variant, received revamps in the form of Blackout and Guardian in Halo 3. Both versions masterfully created an environment where every spot on the map was well equipped for a showdown with the enemy. Plus, the weapon loadouts hidden all over the map lended an element of chaos to any match here.
Halo MCC gifted fans with a Lockout facelift that included a sunset glow, new escape routes, and deadly stalactites that can be dropped on pesky snipers. Halo Infinite can easily one up this by providing the same concept of an asymmetrical labyrinth map with a new aesthetic to excite veterans of the shooter.
All this speculation is only pumping me up more for the eventual release of Halo Infinite, announced to drop around the same time as the Xbox Series X this Holiday season. If you need a lil’ something extra that’s sure to put a full charge into your Plasma Pistol, check out our other list of ten things we are most excited about seeing in Halo Infinite. You won’t regret it, Spartan.
Otherwise, we recommend that you check out this wonderful video of Gyoza the pug making alien noises in the recording studio at 343 Industries. Apparently, this snarly pupper is an accredited voice actor for enemies in Halo Infinite. How cute is that?
The 10 Best G Fuel Flavors of All Time
Which are the best G Fuel flavors of all time?
When it comes to gaming, your skill will only carry you so far.
The right set of equipment will enhance your game to a new level. With the perfect mouse, you will find comfort, precision, and the ability to program additional keys to suit your game.
You will also want to make sure you have a good set of headphones as any competitive game will require you to keep a keen ear and listen for any sound audio that could provide you with valuable information. Lastly, no gaming setup is complete without a keyboard as it is responsible for most of your inputs in the game.
Of course, you will want to make sure you are keeping your energy levels up, especially after playing long hours and G Fuel is the perfect way to re-energize yourself.
Many of the top gamers, including PewDiePie, swear by this drink due to its energy levels and antioxidants.
It is also fortified with focus aminos and numerous vitamins.
There are multiple flavors so it may be difficult to figure out which is the best for you so check out this list to help narrow down the competition.
The Best G Fuel Flavors of All Time
Without further ado, here’s our list of the 10 best G Fuel flavors:
G Fuel’s Galaxy Grape takes the classic and iconic flavor of grape and gives it an upgrade that will “take your taste buds on a journey through time and space.”
It has often been described as tasting like grape soda but without the artificial taste and carbonation, you would find in a soda.
Others have found it to taste like a grape popsicle or grape Gatorade but even better than those due to its energy-boosting qualities and lack of sugar.
9. Bahama Mama
It’s time to get tropical with this flavor! But you don’t have to spend your days lying on a beach somewhere in the Bahama’s to enjoy this feeling.
G Fuel’s Bahama Mama gives you the sweet and refreshing taste of pineapple, coconut, and orange right in your own glass without artificial flavoring.
Roman Atwood himself, the famous vlogger and YouTube star, promotes this drink as his official G Fuel flavor!
8. Ragin Gummy Fish
Unleash your rage with the Ragin Gummy Fish flavor from G Fuel!
This flavor tastes like what you’d expect from the name, Swedish fish but with a stronger hint of raspberry. You can also taste the passion and rage! Okay maybe not those two things but this flavor is delicious and often stands out as one of the most popular flavors.
In addition, this flavor was inspired and created by FaZe Clan’s own Jev and his love for gummy fish. Speaking of fish, the logo captures his essence through the fish’s angry expression and vibrant pink headphones.
So whether you want to support Jev or just love Swedish fish and need an energy boost, this flavor should definitely be a part of your gaming routine.
Summer comes packed in full with this flavor and with the full juicy, watery, and sweet taste you would expect from a watermelon.
But it isn’t an overly powerful sweetness but rather a subtle fruity one that is just as refreshing as the fruit.
If that isn’t enough for you then you should also know that iconic FIFA streamer CASTRO1021 heavily promoted this flavor before partnering with G Fuel and releasing his own flavor!
FaZeBerry comes in a red tint and features a strawberry scent to go along with its vibrant color.
Those who do not like the flavor of energy drinks will be in luck as this particular flavor tastes more like sweet fruit juice than an energy drink. Specifically, one can taste notes of acai, pomegranate, and strawberry.
While these sound typical of your berry flavors, one key difference here is that G Fuel uses natural ingredients which don’t give this flavor the artificial taste you expect from berry-flavored drinks.
FaZeBerry is also the official drink of the FaZe Clan so you can show your support and love by buying and drinking this flavor!
You should recognize the name PewDiePie and know that this flavor was named after a partnership with the famous Youtuber.
The flavor derives from the lingonberry, a Scandinavian berry that matches PewDiePie’s home nation.
Those who haven’t had lingonberries can expect a tart and slightly-sweet flavor. The powder itself is white so don’t be alarmed when it changes your water to a pink hue, after all, pink is a color very much suited for PewDiePie.
Not only is this flavor delicious, but it’s a great way to show your support of the Scandinavian Youtuber.
Not many are familiar with the guava flavor and if you find yourself in that category then you absolutely need to give this G Fuel flavor a try.
It is often described as being somewhere in between a pear and strawberry kiwi and not being overly sweet or tart.
It is the official drink of streamer CASTRO1021 so if you are looking for a solid resume look no further than his streams.
If you want to support this streamer or just enjoy this Mexican-inspired flavor then you definitely need to add this flavor to your daily regimen and enjoy the benefits that come with it.
3. Fruit Punch
There is no flavor more iconic than fruit punch. It can be found as a flavor for multiple kinds of drinks including gamer fuel.
Unfortunately, the flavor has a reputation for being artificial, but luckily you will find that isn’t the case here. As one of the three original flavors, fruit punch works hard to stand out and is a reliable choice for those new to G Fuel.
Unlike other fruit punch drinks, it is not overly sweet but rather has a refreshing and fruity flavor.
2. Hype Sauce
It’s time to pump it up with Hype Sauce.
As the name implies, you should absolutely get excited about this flavor as it resembles a raspberry lemonade and not the overly sweet and fake kind that you would normally find boasting this flavor.
It also doesn’t have the bitterness one can find in lemons and has a refreshing smoothness to it.
Its mellow and sweet taste is perfect for sipping all day and gives you the feeling of drinking a cool refreshing glass of raspberry lemonade.
1. Blue Ice
As the name implies, Blue Ice features a pleasing blue tint and a surprisingly sweet taste despite having 0 grams of sugar.
In addition to its sweetness, Blue Ice is also cool and refreshing and has a slight alcohol odor but does not contain any alcohol of course. It is described as tasting like the blue slushy drinks you find at gas stations only much better as it doesn’t taste artificial.
It is full of natural antioxidants and vitamins that promote energy and focus for both intense and stressful moments of gaming and recovering from these moments.
Blue Ice also stands out as being one of the three original flavors when G Fuel launched and still remains at the top of the flavors.
With G Fuel in hand, you will be able to maintain peak performance and outlast the competition.
Choosing the right flavor can be difficult, but once you find what you like you will be hooked. Due to its caffeine and natural ingredients, G Fuel can easily replace your coffee as well as pick me up when you are starting to feel sluggish.
It is the official drink of Esports and is also used by bodybuilders so its reputation precedes itself.
Regardless of why you are drinking G Fuel, with so many flavors to choose from there is one for everybody and every situation.
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best G Fuel flavors of all time:
- Blue Ice
- Hype Sauce
- Fruit Punch
- Ragin’ Gummy Fish
- Bahama Mama
What’s your favorite G Fuel flavor? Leave a comment below.
Top 10 Escape From Tarkov Streamers and Their Gear
By Emily Barnes
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Becoming an established Twitch streamer is one of the most common ambitions for people around the world, and the market is as saturated as ever. In order to keep up with the competition streamers are constantly searching for new games to play and updating their setups to improve the quality of their streams. The majority of the most viewed games on Twitch rarely change, but more recently a certain game has made a regular appearance.
Developed by Russian studio Battlestate Games, Escape from Tarkov has recently soared to the very top of the Twitch browse page, and well-known streamers are taking advantage of the game’s rise in popularity. Escape from Tarkov provides players with a huge multiplayer first-person universe with RPG and MMO elements while prioritizing realism and an intriguing story-driven gameplay.
In late 2019 the Escape from Tarkov Twitch Drops Campaign was introduced allowing ample opportunity for players to receive in-game loot for simply watching streamers play the game. First you connect your twitch profile with your in game profile, watch streamers with broadcasts marked “drops are enabled”, and after a certain amount of time spent watching you are guaranteed at least one in-game item. Escape from Tarkov was also on sale during this time, increasing the normal amount of viewers on Twitch to over 200,000, showing the massive impact this marketing strategy and promotion had on the popularity of the game. Many streamers have taken advantage of this spike in viewership by streaming the game, and one of the most important parts of streaming is using the best gear to maximize your quality. Below is a list of the top ten Escape from Tarkov streamers and their gear:
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Smoke is a popular streamer boasting over 100,000 followers and averaging thousands of viewers for every broadcast. Already being primarily focused on playing first person shooters and survival games, Smoke choosing to play a title like Escape from Tarkov is not surprising at all.
Having a monitor with a crystal clear image of your games can significantly improve your game sense and skill, and Smoke is no stranger to this fact using an ASUS ROG PG279Q 27″ Gaming Monitor. A 27-inch screen provides Smoke with a large enough screen to increase game awareness completed with ASUS Ultra Low Blue Light filters that protect his eyes during those eight hour streams.
The mouse Smoke uses for gaming is the Logitech G Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse with Esports grade performance. This mouse is created to be used by esports professionals with a 16,000 DPI and an extremely lightweight design. Although more towards the pricier side of gaming mice, for a successful streamer it’s a small investment towards the bigger picture.
Sequisha is very popular with over ten million twitch channel views and a substantial following. Known for his great sense of humor and very recognizable facial hair, Sequisha mostly streams shooter and survival games, and has recently been strictly streaming Escape from Tarkov. He also has a very substantial knowledge of video games considering he attended school for Simulation and Game Development. When he’s not streaming he’s creating 3D art and developing games.
His Twitch account was created in 2011, so he has been on Twitch for almost a decade. During the years of growing his following Sequisha has invested in a professional setup that is affordable and efficient. His mouse of choice is the Logitech G502 Proteus Core Mouse. This mouse is very customizable with a variety of balancing and weight settings and custom lighting options. Paired with the Logitech G513 RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard, Sequisha’s set up has a visually appealing and colorful look with many custom options.
Deadlyslob is known for focusing primarily on streaming and creating content around survival shooters: PUBG, Day Z, and of course Escape from Tarkov. His Twitch and Youtube profiles both have significant followings, and he has created informative content about Escape from Tarkov. For someone new to the game, Deadlyslob’s streams are a great way to improve your own gameplay.
Deadlyslob’s gaming rig sports an extremely powerful Gigabyte AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition GPU. This GPU is a powerhouse with the price tag to match. A Graphics Card as powerful as this one can run practically any game beautifully, and his ASUS 24-inch 144Hz Full HD FreeSync Gaming 3D Monitor is a wonderful pairing with top notch response time and resolution.
Sacriel is a lifelong gamer from the United Kingdom. He streams full time averaging thousands of viewers, and recently has heavily focused on Escape from Tarkov. Before starting to play Escape from Tarkov he logged over 3,000 hours in Day Z, showing his dedication to survival style games.
Sacriel’s gaming rig includes the NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti which provides gamers with a very realistic gaming experience with a 13-phase power supply. For a realistic game like Escape from Tarkov, this graphics card is a perfect part for your gaming PC. Another part of his set up is the VIRTUOSO RGB WIRELESS High-Fidelity Gaming Headset, a high quality headset that is comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
Since his first stream in early 2018, Veritas has gained over 100,000 followers. To gain such a big following in such a short amount of time is nothing short of amazing, and Veritas is known for incorporating his musical talent into his streams.
Veritas’s setup includes the Cooler Master MasterKeys MK750 Mechanical Keyboard. This keyboard features a sleek floating key design with a surrounding RGB light bar. The removable magnetic wrist rest allows for maximum comfort for his streaming 40 hours a week. As a musician, it’s not surprise Veritas’s headset is on the pricey side. The Sennheiser R185 is a top quality headset that guarantees a high quality sound experience with no struggles to hear any footsteps or in game sounds.
Anton is another streamer from this list that puts a lot of his focus on creating informative content. He has created quite a following across multiple social media platforms and has done so without using a webcam. He is primarily focusing on creating Escape from Tarkov content across all his profiles.
Anton uses the Logitech G502 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mouse featuring the next-gen HERO 16k sensor allowing for maximum speed, responsiveness, and accuracy. His monitor of choice is the ASUS ROG PG279Q 27″ Gaming Monitor with a 165 Hertz refresh rate for an enticing gaming experience that is visually stunning
4. Dr. Disrespect
Dr. Disrespect is one of the most mainstream streamers on this list. Known for his iconic mullet, charisma, and a controversy or two, Dr. Disrespect has soared in popularity on the platform. It shouldn’t be shocking to anyone that Dr. Disrespect quickly took an interest in playing a game like Escape from Tarkov.
Dr. Disrespect’s setup includes the extremely affordable Razer DeathAdder Elite Gaming Mouse proving that you don’t have to break the bank to get gear that gets the job done well. Razer also manufactured Dr. Disrespect’s keyboard of choice, the Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.
3. Dr. Lupo
Continuing with mainstream streamers, Dr. Lupo is one of the most well-known names from Twitch. Previously known for excelling in games such as Fortnite and PUBG, Dr. Lupo has taken on Escape from Tarkov as well. Dr. Lupo is insanely skilled at most of the games he plays, and Escape from Tarkov is no exception.
Just like Smoke, number ten on this list, Dr. Lup uses the Logitech G Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse. This mouse provides users with Logitech’s most accurate sensor available. His keyboard is also created by Logitech, the Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. This keyboard was created to be used by esports athletes and provides a powerful yet quiet performance.
Summit1g has grown a following of millions of viewers. After retiring from the professional competitive CS:GO scene, Summit1g has seen massive success on Twitch. Summit1g is a variety streamer who has played many different games, and he most recently picked up Escape from Tarkov.
One of the more affordable parts of Summit’s setup is his headphones, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700x Audiophile. Costing under $100 while maintaining a high quality sound and a unique open-air design make these headphones a great part of any setup. Summit’s monitor is the ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q Gaming Monitor that minimizes screen tearing and stuttering.
The final streamer on our list is none other than Pestily. Pestily is a very honorable man having served eight years in the Australian military and for the entire year of 2020 he is giving away all of his donations and tips to the Starlight’s Children’s Foundation. The combination of an interesting backstory, mechanical skills, and work ethic have caused Pestily to rise to success playing Escape from Tarkov.
Pestily’s gaming PC includes an impressive Gigabyte AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Xtreme 11GB. This graphics card can run even the most demanding games smoothly, and is a perfect addition to a serious streamer’s rig. His headset of choice is the Corsair Virtuoso, a moderately priced headset that provides high quality sound and comfort.
The streamers on this list have some similarities in their setups: Top quality monitors with blue-light protection, headphones with comfortability and high audio quality, keyboards with vibrant and customizable RGB lighting, and gaming mice varying in prices but maintaining the esports athlete standard.
Streamers will always benefit from keeping up with trends and playing games that they genuinely like. Incorporating games into your stream that run campaigns like Attack On Tarkov is a great way to boost your viewer count while rewarding people for tuning in. The streamers on this list have found major success in contributing to the surge in popularity for Escape from Tarkov, and have possibly helped a title to remain popular for years to come. If your new to Escape From Tarkov, check out our Top 10 Tips for Escape from Tarkov and our guide for Top 10 Guns In Escape From Tarkov!
Top 10 Best Original RPG Soundtracks
The masterfully-crafted melodies of my favorite video games often dissolve me in my at-home office space, floating back into these worlds I adore. Waves of nostalgia break, releasing sweet, sweet euphoria as I’m transported into the memorable battles and blooming landscapes of games past.
A truly great original soundtrack for a video game is timeless. It transcends outdated graphics and dusty game mechanics. Each score is like a save point for a moment; with a listen, loading the individual back into that space.
Some of the best soundtracks belong to RPGs, because these games more than any other strive to transport the gamer to a fleshed-out world with a strong narrative supported by vivid characters. They evoke feelings of wonder, of triumph, of loss, and this is all bolstered significantly by an imaginative background score.
Below are my top picks for the best RPG soundtracks of all time.
10. Secrets of Mana
The first of a few Square Enix additions, Secrets of Mana is the oldest pick on this list, a classic musical score by its own merits. Factor in that this game was composer Hiroki Kikuta’s first video game score, AND that he was limited greatly by the Super NES software capabilities. I put a lot of respect on this game’s soundtrack.
Within the parameters of the Super NES, Secret of Mana displays a full spectrum of emotional depth to accompany the game’s protagonist trio as they fight against the Empire. While the game itself hasn’t aged particularly well, the soundtrack is still a fantasy-laden, MIDI-driven bop. Ch-ch-check it out.
9. Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire
The classic premise of pitting wild animals against each other in battle has remained largely unchanged over the course of Pokemon’s long history. However, each iteration introduces a new region to collect all new Pokemon in, and an engaging soundtrack to liven up the adventure.
The 3rd Generation of Pokemon, Ruby and Sapphire, went particularly hard in the music, incorporating a broad list of styles that never got stale. Perhaps, I’m partial to the trumpet heavy soundtrack as a former player myself. Bops like the Lilycove City waltz, the pump-up Gym Leader battle music, and the prevailing Route 104 march keep me coming back for more.
8. Dark Souls 2
Dark Souls 2 is a standout in this list, because the game developers don’t care to coddle the player with music to carry them through their quest to kill a queen. Naught but the sound of your lonely footsteps and the roar of the monster will join you on your quest.
That is, until death is upon you. The Dark Souls 2 soundtrack is composed of epic boss music that complements the environment you’re fighting in. The Ancient Dragon fight has a loud cacophony of choral voices with interspersed bells that callout to the wingbeats of numerous dragons and the cathedral you fight before. The haunting strings of the Mytha fight really underscore the creepy movements of the beheaded snake lady who aims to smite you
Still, there are beautiful moments here, which is a divergence from the others in the series. Meditating to the sweet tune of Majula brings me great peace between getting slaughtered wrecked by every enemy imaginable.
While there isn’t a great deal of mood variety on this soundtrack, no other game scores legendary showdowns quite as well.
Indie hit Bastion follows the adventures of a sharp shootin’ young buck known as “The Kid,” as he navigates a beast-infested world following the mysterious Cataclysm. There is a prevalent Western theme throughout the soundtrack, slide guitars and distorted twang that pair well with the Sam Elliot esque narration along your journey.
The addition of strong vocal tracks in any video game is a bold decision, but memorably executed on “Setting Sail, Coming Home” and “Zulf’s Theme.” Whether you’re feeling nostalgic or just need a good soundtrack to ride off in the sunset to, Bastion’s got you covered.
6. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Steel for humans, silver for monsters, and a golden soundtrack for the rest of us.
It’s no surprise to me that the rugged, monster-killing ladykiller Geralt got picked up for a television series. The Witcher 3 has it all: Lively, expansive world, sharp dialogue, but most important, a lovely cinematic soundtrack.
With the following DLCs, “Hearts of Stone” and “Blood and Wine,” the musical journey only continues along the route of tense clashes and quaint village pieces. The composer triumvirate of Marcin Przybylowicz, Mikolaj Stroinski and Percival really nailed it here. If you liked the Skyrim soundtrack, you’ll love this one.
5. Chrono Cross
Hopping back and forth between alternative universes can leave a player in a real headspin, especially when those realities tend to resemble each other. Composer Yasunori Mitsuda found inspiration within this complex game mechanic, composing a masterful soundtrack that explores this duality, evoking moods that complement two realities Serge and company bravely navigate.
What this leads to is a distinct musical experience whether you’re dashing around “Home” or “Another World.” One of the best examples of this is expressed within the two Terminas. While both have an overarching Celtic theme, Another Termina is driven by a beer swigging, bouncy Irish jig, while Home Termina retains its Irish roots in a more subdued manner, more akin to your local Renaissance Faire.
This soundtrack has also aged remarkably well. While it lacks ironclad hits to truly sweep you off your feet, the music of Chrono Cross swims along with no misses, an uplifting adventure through tropical paradise from first sip to last call.
4. Persona 5
Clearly, we’re showing a lot of love for JRPGs here. That said, Persona 5 is a breakout vibe on this list, high-octane acid-jazz with cooler coffeehouse piano to break up the action.
Bouncing between character’s mental labyrinths and exploring a cel-shaded Tokyo presents a unique opportunity for sound exploration, and Atlus delivers the goods. Even more impressive, the soundtrack is able to remain engaging and fresh throughout the nearly 4-hours album length.
While I haven’t played the game, this is one of those rarities that has me interested in picking it up solely based on the grooves, man.
Undertale has received a lot of hype among indie game connoisseurs, and it’s all dead on. The low-grade graphic style that may be initially off-putting hides a game with some of the best dialogue and narrative writing.
What might be most memorable is the vibrant soundtrack is the immense mood shifts you get here. “Death By Glamour” could easily fit into your favorite DJ’s party set, while the forlorn piano in “Undertale” makes you want to weep ugly tears. Megalovania is a raucous headbanger that fits the frantic boss fight, though it should be stated here that all of the boss fights really excel at having their own signature music.
This soundtrack has also seen many different remixes, which only further memorializes the powerful effect the music has had on fans.
2. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
In almost every way, global megahit Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is superior to any other game in the series. Almost. Musically, Morrowind gets the nod over Skyrim as one of best gaming soundtracks birthed by prolific composer Jeremy Soule.
It’s not even close. At just under an hour long, the Morrowind soundtrack triumphantly cultivates the curiosity of the mushroomed continent, the serenity of solo exploration, the bold glory of fierce overland conflict. It almost feels like one continuous piece of music, no jarring transitions or flaccid fadeouts.
While Skyrim delivers three hours of beautiful ambience with a few memorable high points, the Morrowind soundtrack is an unceasing movement of captivating, truly epic storytelling.
1. Final Fantasy IX
Lemme tell you, choosing the best soundtrack from composer Nobuo Uematsu’s catalogue throughout the Final Fantasy series is a heart-wrenching endeavor. There are some seriously strong contenders here, and all could earn a well-deserved place on this list.
FFVI is a strong soundtrack throughout the album, with many high points including Kefka’s boss theme, “Dancing Mad,” which takes a close second to “One-Winged Angel” as the series’ best boss theme. FFVII easily has the best battle music across the series, but besides that, holds another sentimental high point in the collection with the tragically beautiful “Aerith’s Theme.”
Plus, who could forget the intense intro music of FFVIII “Liberi Fatali,” or the only song in the series I would take molly before listening to and dance my face off: “The Man with the Machine Gun.”
However, as a cohesive body of work that has stood the test of time, I give the crown to FFIX. Uematsu has stated in interviews this was also his favorite soundtrack, and with this soundtracks’ string of memorable hits it’s hard to disagree.
Some of the most recognizable tunes here are the sexy “Vamo Alla Flamenco,” the summer favorite “Ukulele de Chocobo,” Kuja’s savage organ piece “Wicked Melody,” and the sweeping love song “Memories of Life.”
One of the toughest parts about ranking this list was discerning personal nostalgia from the musical quality of these soundtracks. While there are some on the list I haven’t played, the strengths of the scores largely speak for themselves.
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