When critiquing video games, players usually focus on aspects like gameplay mechanics, length, storylines, and graphics, but one significant area that tends to be overlooked is the soundtrack. Since players will likely have to hear the same tracks for hours, the quality and variety of the music can determine whether a game is enjoyable or annoying.
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Even with some of the best soundtracks, however, the credits music is often not as memorable as the rest. But, some games do have excellent endings songs that perfectly coincide with the feelings of triumph and sadness that occur after beating a great game.
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Little Things – Neo: The World Ends With You
Created as a long-awaited sequel to the classic 2007 DS game The World Ends With You, Neo: The World Ends With You is an action RPG that was one of the best RPGs released in 2021. With the franchise’s strong thematic focus on music and the fact that the original DS game’s soundtrack was so extensive that it took up one-fourth of the game’s data, it’s no surprise that this installment also has an incredible soundtrack.
This sequel follows a new protagonist, Rindo Kanade, and his friends as they try to survive the Reapers’ Game and save Shibuya from erasure. After the long journey, players are treated to the credits song “Little Things.” The bittersweet pop song focuses on the game’s main themes of living in the present and individuals making their own decisions even if it’s difficult.
Shukkō -departure- – Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
As one of the best visual novel franchises, the Danganronpa series is filled with plenty of amazing soundtracks, but it could be argued that the 2012 visual novel adventure mystery game Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has the greatest soundtrack out of all of them. This installment follows a high-school boy named Hajime Hinata and his peers who are all trapped on a tropical island and forced to kill each other by a bear-like creature named Monokuma.
Similar to the first game, the main themes are “hope” and “despair,” which is reflected by the ending track “Shukkō -departure-.” Performed by Megumi Ogata, who is a famous voice actress and voices both Makoto Naegi and Nagito Komaeda, this rock song is about how people should keep moving forward with hope in their hearts even in the depths of despair.
Onward to Our Own Futures – Pokémon Black and White
Released in 2010 for the DS, Pokémon Black and White are JRPGs that, along with Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, are part of the fifth generation of Pokémon games. Taking place in the Unova region, the game follows either a male or female teenager as they explore the region in order to defeat Team Plasma, complete the pokédex, and become the new Pokémon champion.
Along with catchy adrenaline-pumping battle soundtracks such as the “Battle! (Wild Pokémon)” theme and “Battle! (Team Plasma),” these two games also have an epic ending track titled “Onward to Our Own Futures.” After the sad track “Farewell” fades with N’s heartbreaking departure, this track immediately bursts into the forefront with some intense drums to remind the player that this parting is only temporary.
Our Light – Persona 5 Royal
While the Megami Tensei sub-series Persona has had a long and varied history over the years, one thing that never changes is that all the games have memorable scores. Of course, this includes the latest and most popular mainline installment Persona 5 Royal, which is an enhanced version of the original Persona 5.
While Joker and his friends are able to prevent the apocalypse and stop Maruki, the success feels bittersweet since Joker still has to leave, Goro Akechi is supposedly gone, and all the characters have lost something dear to them along the way. In the beautifully emotional credits song “Our Light,” Lyn Inaizumi sings about the grief of losing someone and the importance of continuing to live despite the pain.
Hometown – Silent Hill 3
Created as a direct sequel to the original Silent Hill, Silent Hill 3 is a 2003 PS2 survival horror that follows a young teenager named Heather Mason, who is the daughter of the first game’s protagonist, Harry Mason. Because a cult wants Heather to give birth to their deity, Heather must survive the horrors of the town of Silent Hill and defeat the cult’s leader, Claudia.
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Beyond the game’s supernatural horrors, Silent Hill 3 is a game about the traumas of growing up and loss. During the game, Harry is killed by Claudia, and now Heather must work through that grief and learn to stand on her own. To represent the transfer of the torch from Harry to Heather, the ending song, “Hometown” is a remix of Silent Hill’s main theme with somber David Bowie-esque vocals.
In the Blood (ft. Ashley Barrett) – Hades
Created by beloved indie studio Supergiant Games, who also developed other critically acclaimed titles such as Pyre and Transistor, Hades is an award-winning action dungeon-crawling roguelike released in 2020. After learning about his real mother Persephone, the protagonist, Zagreus, goes on a journey through the underworld to meet her.
Once the player gets strong enough to defeat his father, Hades, after multiple runs, Zagreus will finally be able to meet his mom and learn the truth about his past. Several runs later, he will be able to convince Persephone to return home with him. As the two characters ride along the River Styx on Charon’s boat, Orpheus and Eurydice sing the hauntingly beautiful melody “In the Blood” as the credits roll.
Edge of Dawn – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Released in 2019 as the 16th installment of the Fire Emblem franchise, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is an award-winning tactical RPG that centers around a mercenary named Byleth. After joining Garreg Mach Monastery as a new professor, Byleth’s choices regarding the three major ruling powers will determine the fate of the continent of Fódlan.
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Eventually, it’s revealed that Edelgard, leader of the Black Eagles house, has been planning a rebellion against the church for years, which was influenced by her traumatic childhood. If the player doesn’t side with her, then a melancholic version of “Edge of Dawn,” which is a song about her aspirations and struggles, will play during the credits.
Setting Sail, Coming Home – Bastion
Another award-winning game from Supergiant Games is the 2011 action RPG Bastion, which was the studio’s first game. As a protagonist simply known as “the Kid,” the player must travel between various floating environments in a post-apocalyptic world to collect cores and shards for a device called the Bastion.
After the reason behind the calamity is revealed and the loose ends are finished, the player can choose to use the Bastion to either rewind time or evacuate the remaining survivors. Regardless, the player is treated to the melodic credits song “Setting Sail, Coming Home,” which is a remix of two other tracks: “Build That Wall” and “Mother, I’m Here.”
Simple and Clean/ Hikari – Kingdom Hearts
After a chance meeting between video game producer Shinji Hashimoto and a Disney executive in an elevator, the popular crossover franchise between Square Enix and Disney, Kingdom Hearts, became a reality. Beginning with the original action RPG Kingdom Hearts in 2002, the series has typically followed Sora and his many friends as they try to stop Xehanort.
At the end of the first game, Sora has to leave his love interest, Kairi, at Destiny Islands. As their hands separate, a slow version of the main theme “Simple and Clean,” or “Hikari” in the original Japanese version, plays. This theme was such an iconic track from Hikaru Utada that, until recently, the sequels continued to use it.
Still Alive – Portal
Created by the female game designer Kim Swift, Portal is a 2007 puzzle platformer that is often considered one of the best games ever made. Players control a silent protagonist named Chell who is forced to use a portal gun to solve puzzles orchestrated by an A.I. named GLaDOS.
After the player supposedly kills GLaDOS, the credits roll as she sings about the success of the experiments in the ending track “Still Alive.” A couple of years later, this iconic and catchy tune turned out to be a piece of foreshadowing since Portal 2 revealed that GLaDOS is still alive.
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About The Author
(132 Articles Published)
Anastasia Wilds is a freelance writer for Screen Rant. Because of her passion for video games, her main focus is writing video game listicles for the website. Along with writing, she also streams various video games on Twitch and uploads some of her highlighted streams onto YouTube. Before working at Screen Rant, she worked as the Senior Arts Editor for “The Spectrum” newspaper at the University at Buffalo.
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