Sound Byte: Best of 2010

Come listen to some of the best soundtracks of 2010 as well as the ones that you may have overlooked.


No Caption ProvidedIf you haven't seen by now, we have announced our nominees for the best of 2010, so get in there and vote for your favorite games of the year! This has been another great year for video game music--in the games themselves and outside of the gaming experience. Video Games Live, Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy, Play! A Video Game Symphony, Symphonic Game Music are just some of the live concerts that perform some of the most memorable tunes from your favorite video games. If you've ever been moved by video game music, then listening to it being performed live by a full orchestra and choir is an incredible and emotional experience.

Now even though our nominees of the year for best original music include DJ Hero 2, Nier, Red Dead Redemption, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Super Meat Boy, that doesn't mean there weren't other soundtracks worth your attention. It's always hard to narrow down the top five, or even 20, and music is always so subjective. So I've compiled a list that encompasses a wide range of games (as well as individual albums) across different genres that I feel are worth a listen. This is by no means complete, but I had to stop somewhere. Even if you didn't play some of the games, which all did an excellent job of enhancing the experience, there are soundtracks in this list that hold up very well on their own. Check out our video below (courtesy of Tyler Winegarner) to get a taste of what's on the albums, and click on the individual links further down to find out more.

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Some highlights from 2010, in no particular order.

Alan Wake by Petri Alanko
Halo: Reach by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood by Jesper Kyd
Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together by Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata
Mass Effect 2 by Jack Wall
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West by Nitin Sawhney
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon by Riei Saito
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories by Akira Yamaoka
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony by Noriyuki Iwadare
Red Dead Redemption by Woody Jackson and Bill Elm
Final Fantasy XIII by Masashi Hamauzu
Final Fantasy XIV by Nobuo Uematsu
Nier by Keiichi Okabe, Kakeru Ishihama, Keigo Hoashi and Takafumi Nishimura
Mafia II by Matus Siroky
Super Mario Galaxy 2 by Koji Kondo, Mahito Yokota, and Ryo Nagamatsu
Bayonetta by Rei Kondoh
Super Meat Boy by Danny Baranowsky
3D Dot Game Heroes by 3D Dot, SuperSweep Co., Ltd

Other album compilations to check out that were released this year: Distant Worlds Music From Final Fantasy
Symphonic Fantasies
Benyamin Nuss Plays Uematsu
Video Games Live: Level 2
And for funsies to put you in the holiday mood: X'mas Collections: Music from Square Enix

My personal favorites include Alan Wake, Nier, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Meat Boy. What are yours? Hope you guys enjoyed the Sound Byte features this year. I'll be back in January so keep looking out for my posts around the site. I will have interviews from the composer of Dead Space 2, Fable 3 and more, so have a safe and happy new year and see you all in 2011!

Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog, which covers every aspect of music in games, including interviews with top game music composers and discussions of new and classic game soundtracks. Have a question or suggestion? Leave us a comment below. For a list of previous Sound Byte features, click here.

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Avatar image for Redlion993

All of these are crap compared to Uncharted theme...

Avatar image for leetsniped33

red dead had one of the best sound tracks in any game, i dont usually care for sound tracks, but this was awsome

Avatar image for lopp3

persona 3 portable anyone? I realize it technically was composed in 2007 but still...

Avatar image for stomponyahead


Avatar image for mahboi

Disappointed at lack of Birth By Sleep.

Avatar image for Arquebuses

NieR such a crap gameplay but incredibly amazing soundtrack...

Avatar image for Woodstock504

@ Sophia, I guess I looked past the fact that this is about 2010 games. Thanx for stating that. but still, u have to agree that MACHINARIUM is a masterpeice.

Avatar image for rht992

@Kendojin i have to admit i was pretty amazed the other day when i saw the hallo soundtrack in hmv! i only this means more are to come

Avatar image for JoshB48

awesome music, Gamespot. really good with the final fantasies, assasin's creed brotherhood, and silent hill. what about the orange box for xbox 360, ps3, and pc?

Avatar image for Gandoclaus

Glaring omission of anamanaguchi's soundtrack for Scott Pilgrim vs the World, absolute standout this year.

Avatar image for Kendojin

@rht992 I know what you mean but you can actually find the Halo and Mass Effect soundtracks on iTunes or in stores. I have the Halo 2 soundtrack and I'm looking to get Halo Reach soon, as well as several others on this list like Mass Effect 2, and maybe Assassins Creed.

Avatar image for tennis12master

Nice list, Gamespot. But where is God of War 3? I enjoyed that game's soundtrack immensely. Ah well, I suppose not every game can be mentioned.

Avatar image for Sophia

@Woodstock504 - I have Machinarium on my must play list, but the game actually came out in 2009.

Avatar image for Woodstock504

I think MACHINARIUM is about 10 bucks, and WELL worth it.

Avatar image for Woodstock504

Very Nice list. I'd have to say Assassins creed tops those listed, but, I'm kinda disappointed not to see MACHINARIUM in there somewhere though. Beautiful game, Matching Soundtrack. Actually I think the music was half the fun in this title. Check it out. The composer is a genius if you ask me. I'd suggest playing the game though, The music is beautiful by itself but tops all in-game. you'll find yourself stuck, listening as time passes and wondering how brilliant this is. (trust me)

Avatar image for GSMosiro

Glad to see Nier get mentioned, I think this game has one of the best soundtracks ever created, let alone just 2010. The game itself may not have been incredible but the music certainly was.

Avatar image for alert0

I have a newfound respect for Soundbyte. It is now officially awesome.

Avatar image for mentalkid

ff13 and bayonetta had some awesome soundtracks, albeit for very different reasons. FF13 had a very epic sountrack, "Saber's Edge" and "Barthandalus". Bayonetta was so quirky. There were lots of other games as well.

Avatar image for MauricetheRPGer

Mafia ll has a good theme, Cant wait to get the game

Avatar image for dann64

That's a fantastic list, I've only recently begun taking in video game soundtracks in their entirety. I've stumbled upon a goldmine.

Avatar image for hsmgaye

Bring all these game to pc,ps3 and xbox 360.

Avatar image for XtremeDude09

Mass Effect 2 had some of the best music I have ever heard. Really improved an already near perfect atmosphere.

Avatar image for NColdhardt

Lunar really hit home. I'm so plugging in the PSX and replaying that game!

Avatar image for -Unreal-

No SC2 and no Cata. Seems they don't want to give Blizz too many awards.

Avatar image for Kitsuryou

Nice to see that Fragile Dreams got a mention, that soundtrack was truly wonderful and perfect for the game. All the music in this video was nice, even from games I'm not familiar with.

Avatar image for lonegardian

Missed out the best, check Medal of Honor soundtrack.. Super awesome!!!

Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

Nice selection indeed!, thanks for this compilation gamespot :)

Avatar image for wigwam2

those were the best 14 minutes of my life.... great soundtracks from saddening to exciting game soundtracks have evolved since boop boop boop

Avatar image for afgad

I'm genuinely surprised and a bit disappointed that they didn't even mention Starcraft II...

Avatar image for Jmcgraghan

scott pilgrim vs the world has a great soundtrack

Avatar image for ValorNomad

All brilliant soundtracks!! Even with some of the games that i don't know! :D

Avatar image for hotdiddykong

@Brilliant_R Nah, the original SMG used the same song in Super Mario 64. i guess everyone has their opinions, it doesnt have to be your favorite.

Avatar image for Brilliant_R

@hotdiddykong Eh I guess you're right... but I personally think that the Slider remix, Whomp's Fortress Remix, and SMW remixes were better than Koopa's Road. Idk. Also I'm pretty sure that same Koopa's Road remix was in the original SMG (unless they changed the song even more from then in ways I didn't notice). Lol maybe it's just me. And hi Tera.

Avatar image for icetone


Avatar image for zodiacmeteor

I'm surprised Monster Hunter Tri isn't on the list. [url]<< LINK REMOVED >>[/url] [url]<< LINK REMOVED >>[/url] [url]<< LINK REMOVED >>[/url] [url]<< LINK REMOVED >>[/url] Also, got the wrong Bayonetta song. [url]<< LINK REMOVED >>[/url]

Avatar image for rht992

i love the soundtracks to games but i hate how its hard to buy them unless its a collectors edition. i'd like to buy them the way i can buy film soundtracks.

Avatar image for ali_manslayer

heavy rain ost is also brilliant

Avatar image for Teranova310

hi brilliant

Avatar image for hotdiddykong

@Brilliant_R True but Koopa Road's Remix is one of the most popular tunes in Galaxy 2, they perfected it from the original and is one of the best sounding ones. I still love the original tracks too, Melty Monster, Fluffy Bluff, Puzzle Plank, their all Beautiful and epic. As far as the remake tracks go, Koopa road was the best

Avatar image for rwnummelin

I missed Castlevania: Lords of Shadow..

Avatar image for CerpinCygnus

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for Brilliant_R

Super Mario Galaxy 2 had some good retro remixes, but... imo, they should have used one of the mind-blowing ORIGINAL tracks from the game instead of the SM64 remix. Also, I didn't watch the whole video, so if there was any sort of original SMG2 content that I missed, then my mistake. I love the Sky Station themes, the Fluffy Bluff/Cloudy Court theme, the final level theme, and most of all the credits theme...

Avatar image for 12111995

every FFXIII music owns most other music. Has anyone heard Sephiroth's theme song? It's awesome!

Avatar image for biotyrant

Starcraft 2 please....

Avatar image for speedylomeli

@pikmin08 hey buddy if you actually watch the whole video you would see that red dead redemption is mentioned last. you fail.

Avatar image for teeskoowared

Game music is so not what it used to be....Uematsu will always be the best. I miss the days when there were memorable character themes and intertwining melodies that would remind you of specific moments in the game. That doesn't really happen anymore...though I have to admit that piece from Nier was quite enjoyable.

Avatar image for zell1

Final Fantasy 13 main theme owns. It should have been played.

Avatar image for pikmin08

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for paul-2112

I really like Gamespots picks for both game awards and this list, but I feel like the have some kind of bias against God of War III. That game had an amazing soundtrack, I'd argue better then the majority of soundtracks on this list, for example << LINK REMOVED >> . Also where is VVVVVV on this list, << LINK REMOVED >> . Overall though a good list.