The Best JRPG Soundtracks

The Best JRPG Soundtracks

JRPGs are basically games designed to use a bunch of talking and combat as an excuse to blast killer soundtracks at you for hours and hours on end.

This story was originally published in September 2015.

Which might explain why this list of best soundtracks also looks a lot like a list of the best JRPGs. That's no coincidence!

What follows are our collective picks for the very best of them. Before you complain, no, they're not listed in any order.


PERSONA 3


PERSONA 4


NI NO KUNI


LOST ODYSSEY


FINAL FANTASY VI


FINAL FANTASY VII


CHRONO TRIGGER


CHRONO CROSS


EARTHBOUND


SUIKODEN II


XENOGEARS


XENOBLADE


PHANTASY STAR IV


MARIO & LUIGI DREAM TEAM


BRAVELY DEFAULT


THE LEGENDS OF HEROES: TRAILS IN THE SKY


LUNAR 2: ETERNAL BLUE


RADIANT HISTORIA


SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI: DIGITAL DEVIL SAGA


SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI IV


Comments

    Ar Tonelico. A hundred times Ar Tonelico. Whatever your opinion of the games (which tends to shift depending on how anime you like your JRPGs), the hymmnos soundtracks for each game are absolutely amazing. Look up 'Chronicle Key', 'Ec Tisia' or 'Cosmoflips' if you doubt me.

      Gust Sound Team are one of the most underrated in the industry IMO. Ar Tonelico is their best work, but even the Atelier games have great soundtracks.

    What? No Ys series? Ys Origins had an amazing soundtrack. I've had people buy the game purely based on the trailers opening music.

      Ys anything has a great soundtrack. Ys Origins was fantastic though

      Only one entry from Falcom in the list, and Trails in the Sky doesn't even have that great a soundtrack. It's solid enough, but it wishes it could be half as good as Ys Origins, Ys I&II or Ys Seven.

    No Disgaea at all? I also debate Bravely Default's presence in the list, I always found the music to be very noisy and clashy. More music for the sake of music rather than setting a mood or thematic emphasis. Breath of Fire 3 has some great music too.

    Xenogears check!
    Chronotrigger check!
    Suikoden check!

    I approve this article.

    Left out the best LoH:TitS song - The Whereabouts of Light https://youtu.be/rnK7IZb_EF0

    Other than that, P4G has some of the greatest (and funkiest) music in JRPG history.

    I'd link a full OST soundtrack for FFXIV, but SE tend to take down XIV's music if it's uploaded without a video (there's also three OST's for that game. Four if you include From Astral to Umbral. Five and more if you think of the games future).

    Footsteps in the Snow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhDldATuFQ4
    Alexander: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cKy5Qk0QMM
    Tempest (Nobuo Uematsu) - Rise of the White Raven (Masayoshi Soken): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DX3qIf4EDc
    The Great Gubal Library: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExXhr8ch8Mk

      My favourites of the more recent tracks are Sophia the Goddess and Ravana.
      Ravana is sooo good. Starts off as a waltz for the first phase and goes into Mongolian throat singing singing a ballad of conquest and combat!

        Ravana took me awhile to get used to liking, but Sophia was an instant favourite. Reminded me of NieR... and now I want to change my original post to "NieR overall, because that soundtrack is amazing."

    Dark Cloud 2/Dark Chronicle should be there too. Also no Skies of Arcadia either?

    Yo ima let you finish but ff8 had the best final fantasy soundtrack of all time!

      YES! Only opened the (travesty of an) article to see if this was in here. Sorely dissapointed to say the least.

    Fantastic list. The only thing missing is Pokemon, I reckon.

    Seiken 2 and 3 both have incredible soundtracks. So does Legend of Mana, in fact. Still my favourite Shimomura score.

    I also reckon FF8 and FF9 have the best soundtracks in the Final Fantasy realm, although FF14's increasingly enormous soundtrack is really, really good.

      For me, Radiant Historia is my fave of Shimomura's work.

      I think the best thing about FFXIV's soundtrack is the way they use it in the game. No other MMO I can think of has boss fight music that's as epic, especially the way it syncs up with the action. IIRC I think it was Ravana where the first phase's theme is a waltz and the boss attacks in time with the music? Either way Masayoshi Soken doesn't get anywhere near the recognition he deserves.

    I'm hoping they drop the J-Rap with P5, since I find P3/P4 to be the weaker soundtracks compared to DDS (Which fully deserves the mention) and SMT3. Still The Battle for Everyone's Soul in P3 is one of my favourite battle themes.

    FFXIs theme was used with heartbreaking efficiency in Chains of Promathia, with the addition of the lyrics for the ending sequence.

    AR - GOD DAMN - TONELICO
    I know they're pretty niche but God damn the Hymmnos songs in those games are works of pure beautiful art! Music is the heart and soul of the series. The plot revolves heavily around some of its best tracks.
    Quick and awesome example is the best song from the first game: Chronicle Key
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1GtMiKXE_E

    I'm playing Radiant Historia at the moment and finding the soundtrack a bit forgettable.

    The World Ends With You has a really interesting soundtrack, part soundtrack music, part local Shibuya J-pop and hip-hop.

    @alexwalker Would be nice if you could make it more obvious when something is a re-post from two years ago.

      Completely my bad. I had a revision of this with a note saying it was republished, but that didn't go live for god knows what reason. I'll fix it up now, sorry.

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