There’s a great variety of styles and substance in our list below because 2021 featured various types of games and the music accompanying them. A grand orchestrated ballad and battle music for a returning console hero, the quieter symphonies to accompany an RPG adventure, and the hand-in-hand music and gameplay combo of a galactic rock opera, are just some of this year’s fantastic original soundtracks on show.

Here are our picks for the Best Original Video Game Soundtracks of 2021.

5.) Halo Infinite – Gareth Coker

A lot of the original Halo music here will play on the nostalgia strings of super-fans or impress relative newbies like me. But the music of Halo Infinite in both the single-player and multiplayer portions is excellent stuff. With the former being a mix featuring so many orchestral moments in the open world, I felt they were scripted, but I still can’t be sure they entirely were. The music always knew how to find the moment in those scenes, and in the hallway levels of Halo shooting fans love, it’s all played to a perfect note.

– Dylan Blight

Halo Infinite Review

“The music always elevates the moment from the opening cinematic rush to safety to the charge into the last fight.”

4.) Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker – Daiki Ishikawa, Takafumi Imamura

It is not often for players to be excited for the music that comes along with new content as a key to each content release. Still, Final Fantasy XIV has built a history upon fantastic original scores that often leads to players turning up the music each time they enter a new area. Endwalker has been no exception to this trend with a new soundtrack that continues the trend of epic themes and music that brings back memories each time the score is played.

– Ciaran Marchant

3.) The Artful Escape – Johnny Galvatron

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the folk music of the fictional character Francis Vendetti or the cosmic space operas with rock-on guitar solos. The music in The Artful Escape is not only an essential part of the game — it kind of is the game. There’s a moment of serene calm where you’ll feel yourself become one with the music and gameplay slipping and sliding across alien landscapes. It all culminates in the best concert scene in a game ever, and one of my favourite levels in a game this year is a rock concert for the ages.

– Dylan Blight

The Artful Escape Review

“The Artful Escape is one part an ode to rock music”

Vintage Johnson Vendetti 7” Single on Classic Black Vinyl

2.) Death’s Door – David Fenn

From the opening and hopeful “Deaths Door” through to the hectic pianos on “The Grey Crow”, the music in Deaths Door is such an essential aspect of the game. There’s such a variety here, too, which makes the original soundtrack from David Fenn stand out compared to other games in similar genres and styles. The mix of orchestral music from haunting boss battle music to the hopeful turns of “Betty” or the electric guitar work in “The Last Lord” is unique. In those big boss battles, which often ended with stellar story beats, the music was such a hand-in-hand important part for making me feel the moment, or just think, “wow, thank an epic fight that was.”

– Dylan Blight

Death’s Door Review

“All of [the] elements come together with a fantastic original score.”

1.) Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – Richard Jacques

Thanks to James Gunn’s direction with the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and their relationship with music, the game’s journey with our favourite Space Riders had big shoes to fill in the musical department. Of course, it shows Gunn’s influence, with 80’s power ballads heavily sprinkled through its mixtape. 

However, this category is Original Music, and MGotG’s original music is excellent, thanks to the realisation of the Star-Lord band channelling 80’s rock with some absolute bangers. Space Riders with No Name has been on repeat for me since the track was released before the game. It speaks to the quality of this album that in the game’s team huddles, the trigger for the rock to flow, that I was just as happy to hear “Zero to Hero” as I was “Kickstart My Heart.” 

The orchestral music is also excellent, and the way that the orchestral music sets the mood and tone in tandem with the licensed music is some of the best use of music in a game this year. If Star-Lord ever tours, I will be there. 

– Wil James

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Review

“The original score is also quite well crafted, particularly when it’s used during some heartfelt moments late in the story.”

Dylan Blight, Ashley Hobley, Ciaran Marchant & Wil James compiled this Top 5 list. The Video Games nominated must have released or had a sizable update within December 13th 2020 – December 13th 2021 and have been released in Australia.