A good game can be elevated by a great score, and a great game can be made worse by a terrible score. No doubt, 2022 had a lot of wonderful music. As it’s such a subjective topic, we decided against picking a definitive winner. Instead, each of us here at VGU will choose our favorite game soundtrack of 2022.

So put on those headphones and take these playlists for a spin!

Josh Miller – Preparing for Trouble

Pokemon Scarlet/Violet

Pokemon music has always slapped. Far be it for me to say that changed with Pokemon Scarlet/Violet because it didn’t in the least. Instead what Game Freak provided was some banging versions of old themes and some fine additions to create one of the best soundtracks of the year.

Whether it the overworld tune based on the location you’re at or the slammin’ beats as you go up against Team Star, I found myself enraptured by the music. Too often I found myself pausing either during combat or in the middle of a field to just….take it in. It’s all just so good. Some standout tracks in my opinion include:

  • Wild Battle – South Province
  • Area Zero
  • Nemona Battle Theme
  • Team Star Boss Battle
  • Naranjan Academy
  • West Province

Pokemon Scarlet/Violet is another solid soundtrack in a franchise known for great music. Perhaps it’s recency bias as well, but few games had soundtracks that truly struck a chord with me. At the top of it for this year though – definitely Pokemon Scarlet/Violet.

Allan Muir – Aiming to be a Master

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Credit: Bulbapedia

There are expectations these days when you are getting ready to play a Pokemon game for the first time. Most of the time they are mainly that you are expecting to immerse yourself in a living, breathing, world. A big factor of enjoyment with Pokemon games is the music in said games. This can be based on if you played the earlier iterations which will have given you a good start with video game music. The same can be said if you watched the anime and decided to try the games in that alternate path.

Unlike Pokemon Scarlet/Violet which is a completely original setting, Legends: Arceus is both a love letter and a prequel to the Sinnoh region titles Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. With that said, there are pieces of music in Legends: Arceus that are as beautiful as the game’s visual style itself. If I had to choose four specific pieces of music that stood out to me they would be the following.

  • Jubilife Village
  • Obsidian Fieldlands
  • The Heartwood
  • Battle! (Pokemon Wielder Volo)

These four tracks are outstanding achievements in music and how far we have come with composed music in video games. They are even bigger achievements when you listen to what each track connects to in terms of the Sinnoh games. The first track aptly titled “Jubilife Village” is one of the best player base tracks I’ve ever heard.

“The Heartwood” is the in-game realization of what Eterna Forest was in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. A sprawling forest that is so big that you feel like you are going to get drawn in. There’s also a segment of the track where you will get more excitement from the song than you will from Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl.

“Battle! (Pokemon Wielder Volo)” this is the absolute zenith of the game. Personally, I think it’s a better reveal than the one made in Scarlet and Violet but to each their own. While there are multiple versions of the Battle theme in Legends: Arceus I honestly feel like this version is the better one due to what is going on in the context of the moment and not only what it’s calling back to, but what it’s foreshadowing in Gen 4.

Credit: Video Game Music Resources

As Josh eloquently put it, Pokemon music has always been positive in virtually any medium. Go Ichinose, who is an icon within the pantheon of Pokemon, has worked on the series since Pokemon Pinball back in 1999. He not only did the score for Legends and Scarlet/Violet but he was the composer for Gen 4 games which I feel makes this all the more joyous an occasion.

Graydon Webb – Righting the Wrongs


Credit: Slant Magazine

It can be quite hard to decipher what makes a really great score in video games. While the music of, say, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge captures that nostalgic feel of arcade games’ past – and in an absolutely beautiful way, mind you – it doesn’t exactly pull me into the game I’m playing. Personally, I look for a score that feels natural; a part of the world that’s on display. I want to be transported so genuinely that the music becomes second nature like it belongs as much as I do.

The indie darling of the year, Stray, immediately caught my ear while I explored its eerily damp, neon-lit environments. Talking about “capturing the feel,” Stray’s synth-infused score provides a backdrop to the action that is as deeply emotional as it is anxiety-inducing.

Yann Van Der Cruyssen pulls out all the stops: hopeful tunes for hopeful times, intense beats for chase sequences, and an overall air of mystery for the majority of this cat-based exploration game. Some standout titles include:

• Intruder

• Town Square

• Dead End

• Ant Village

• Daybreak

It’s no easy task to score a video game, let alone one very reliant on world investigation with a silent protagonist. But Stray certainly touched people’s hearts, what with all its game awards nominations and media coverage. Oddly, though, it didn’t earn the Best Music nomination – a problem I have now rectified. Congratulations, Stray!

Credit: Game Soundtrack

Now that you have read our personal picks for what game we think had the Best Music of 2022, why don’t you go on a musical journey and discover the enchanting and calming soundtracks of today’s games? I personally hope you enjoy your time on the journey. – Al

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