Top 10 Modern Video Game Musical Themes

Gorgeous 3D graphics are important these days, but much of the emotional resonance of the gameplay experience comes from the intense or heartfelt musical score. These have evolved beyond simple 8-bit sounds, and include real orchestral pieces, lavish choirs and CD quality soundtracks. Join as we count down our Top 10 favorite modern video game themes.

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Top 10 Modern Video Game Themes

The bleeps and the bloops have been replaced with orchestral melodies, vocals and synthesized beats. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our Top 10 favorite modern video game themes.

#10: Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Main Theme)

It’s go time baby. What better way to start than with the beautifully orchestrated theme of Nintendo’s epic Brawl: Part opera, part who’s who spectacular…this theme let’s you know that something big is going down, and that a lot of cute and cuddly mascots are gonna get Falcon punched in the face.

#9: Uncharted Series (Nate’s Theme)

A game series heavily inspired by the adventures of Indiana Jones and Dirk Pit, Uncharted is all about treasure hunting and third person action. This, of course, requires a soundtrack that matches its spectacular visuals and narrative. Thankfully Drake’s musical score delivers in spades. Just listen to that distant drumming, ethnic-inspired cues and rousing instrumentals…fortune and adventure are calling.

#8: Deus Ex (Intro Theme)

This landmark game takes place in a not too distant future filled with conspiracies, memorable characters and rich storytelling…so you just had to be made to feel the melodrama and heavy-handedness in its theme. When you loaded the game for the first time, you had probably already heard loads about how good it was. But when that theme hits your ears, you know that you are in for something truly special.

#7: Bastion (Build that Wall/Zia’s Theme)

This beautiful action-roleplaying game challenges you to build a safe haven in a world that is literally falling appart. Its theme takes an unusual route, drawing a contrast between the tone and its lyrics. Listen closely to Zia’s song, her smooth lyrics carry a menacing tone: They’ll be here before too long…Extra points awarded for being the one song on the list that’s diegetic. Look it up.

#6: Mirror’s Edge (Still Alive)

As players parkoured their way through massive cityscapes, they were carried by an equally wondrous soundtrack. The lovely voice of Swedish pop star Lisa Miskovsky flows in and out of the driving piano and drums to create a theme that is both epic and exiting in scope, yet beautiful and contemplative in feeling. Few themes are so spot on, bringing you in tune with your character and capturing the spirit on the gameplay and visuals so succinctly.

#5: Batman Arkham City “Arkham City Main Theme”

A gritty and dark adventure that pays tribute to all adaptations of Batman, it may scream a rich heritage based in the comics and cartoon series, but its music is very much in tune with Christopher Nolan’s film trilogy. The slow ominous tones mixed with the escalating strings helps to build excitement while giving you a strong sense of stoic calm so befitting of the capped crusader. It’s going to be a long night…

#4: Elder Scrolls 3: Morrorwind (Nerevar Rising)

Before players became Dragonborn in Skyrim, they were walked the path the of the Nerevar in Morrorwind. This quest was guided by a soundtrack composed by Jeremy Soule, one of the industry’s giants, which sparked a deep sense of wonder and thirst for exploration. Through the blasted ashlands and deep in the darkest dungeons, as your eyes gazed upon sights you’d never seen, this is what you heard.

#3: Metal Gear Solid 3 (Theme)

If there’s a true equivalent to a Hollywood score in a videogame it’s this! Seems fitting considering this game has enough cutscene footage between gameplay to fill a summer blockbuster. Clearly inspired by the opening sequences of James Bond films, the Snake Eater theme forshadows the tragic relationship between snake and the Boss, pushing the deep melodramatic subplot the game has become so famous for.

#2: Halo (Main Theme)

It’s clear that when they were designing Halo, the developers had one word in mind that dictated every decision: Epic. While this is made clear throughout the series, it’s apparent from the opening screen as Celtic inspired choir begins their almost heavenly chant. By the time the drums start to pound, you’re already hooked, the space opera has begun.

#1: Portal (Still Alive)

Basically a tech experiment turned full-length game, nobody really saw Portal coming. Imagine the surprise. Not only was it revolutionarily mind bending puzzler, but was also crammed full of personality and humor; a delightfully pleasant surprise that came in a package you already knew you’d enjoy anyway. And that’s what this song was. A clever and humorous surprise to top it all off. The cherry on the Sunday…or cake if you will. Speaking of which, when do we get our cake? …WHAT?

Agree with our list? Which modern video game theme is your favorite? For more great Top 10 lists be sure to visit us at

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