dBs Recommends: 7 video game soundtracks to help you escape and unwind

Escape the noise of the world and be transported to a new world with these video game score recommendations from our students and staff. 

Last week, we turned to the dBs Community to give their recommendations on their favourite film scores to help them focus during lockdown (you can read the full post by clicking here). However, it's important that during such a challenging time that you give yourself a break and allow yourself a little escapism. 

With that in mind, we once again asked our community for their recommendations for the best video game soundtracks to lose yourself in; from reflective and emotive, to intense and exciting. Here's what they said… 

1. Halo 3 by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori


Recommended by Matthew Owen, Game audio student

"Halo 3 was an icon of it's time, and Never forget was one of the songs that played during the initial menu. The instrumentation is the real reason why I class this as a great escapist song. It's slow in nature and highlights the key themes such as hope and believing in the cause. The story of Halo 3 revolves around the earth being found by the enemy and humans having to defend their home world.

"The music offers the escapism by relaying the story of the whole game, and the tempo at which the song is played offers the more peaceful nature of the story the song is playing. It provides the Motifs of the previous game and builds upon the Heritage. It's these ideas that remind me of playing with friends when I was younger, and the enjoyment I had out of my own first console, mixing with random people and friends from around the world."

Listen to Halo 3 OST on Spotify

2. Abzû by Austin Wintory


Recommended by Merlin Sunley, Game audio student 

"It perfectly transports you to this serene and beautiful, watery world and just oozes mystery and wonderment. I think it even tops his work on Journey, which is an extremely tough act to follow!"

Listen to Abzû OST on Spotify

3. The Last of Us by Gustavo Santaolalla

game-sound-tracks-blog-imagesThe last of us

Recommended by Dan Wack, Electronic Music Production graduate

The world of 'The Last Of Us' is bleak, and wild but Gustavo finds hope within his score. Some pieces may only contain a single 'Ronroco' (or Charongo) - which emphasises how alone the characters feel during the events of the game. The developers (Naughty Dog) really draw you into the narrative and make you care for them. Even though the story of The Last Of Us, and also the recent sequel, are not inherently 'happy' - being able to be a part of that world again through Gustavo's score is a blessing.

Listen to The Last of Us OST on Spotify

4. Silent Hill by Akira Yamaoka

game-sound-tracks-blog-imagesSilent hill

Recommended by Chris Pratt, Electronic Music Production module leader

"The early Silent Hill releases featuring scores by Akira Yamaoka have to be some of the most immersive game soundtracks I’ve ever experienced. The soundtrack for the original release in particular, featured beautiful haunting melodies juxtaposed with heavily processed harsh industrial textures. The sense of space and atmosphere this conveyed was a revelation to me at the time. Silent Hill was the first game I remember specifically for the profound effect the soundtrack had on the narrative and immersion during a play through. This was the game that made me connect my PlayStation to a big set of Jamo D 265 speakers. The results were awe inspiring and terrifying!"

Listen to Silent Hill OST on YouTube

5. Everybody's Gone to the Rapture by Jessica Curry


Recommended by Chris Mackin, Bristol Marketing

"Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a really unique story-driven game set in the fictional village of Yaughton. Pretty soon into exploring the village you realise it's completely deserted and are tasked with uncovering what's happened to everyone. 

"The stark and mysterious atmosphere of this game is truly excellent, thanks in no small part to Jessica Curry's masterful score. Though it features some incredible orchestral-based pieces, the real standout here is the use of vocals, underpinned by the haunting solo vocals of Elin Manahan Thomas. 

"In a game so bereft of human interaction, Curry's score is the real narrative driver here and is one of the best examples of how a soundtrack can both edify a story and transport listens to somewhere that's both familiar and otherworldly." 

Listen to Everybody's Gone to the Rapture OST on Spotify

6. Shadow of the Beast by David Whittaker


Recommended by Sam Fergusson, DJ & Electronic Music Production lecturer.

"I think for me it's Shadow of the Beast on the Amiga 500 - there is something so exciting and mystical about that soundtrack. The fact they managed to get such expression and feeling out of the simple technology at the time is so impressive. It instantly whisked you somewhere far away."

Listen to Shadow of the Beast OST on YouTube

7. Journey by Austin Wintory


Recommended by Dan Wack, Electronic Music Production graduate and Chris Brown, Head of Student Services

"For those who haven't played Journey: it's a short game with no 'scripted' narrative, it simply lets you explore the stunning landscape. The score by Wintory perfectly underpins the sense of awe at your task ahead. The music doesn't try to divert attention away from the visuals, but instead emphasises certain events in the game - whilst also being very dynamic following the environments as they change around you. The score creates an aura of tranquility which has always been a joy to listen to."

Listen to Journey OST on YouTube

Do you long to bring video games to life through sound? Then our Sound Design & Audio Programming degree might be for you. Click here to request more information about it. 

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