RPGamer 2018 Awards – Best Music

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Best Music

Banner Saga 3

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

The Banner Saga series is well crafted and often noted for its unique gameplay as well as stunning art. Another aspect it has also excelled in is its music. Composer Austin Wintory created another wonderful score that finishes off the trilogy on a strong note in Banner Saga 3. The tracks are grand and solemn, perfectly setting the atmosphere and echoing the mood and tone of the story. It is hard to think of a game where the music is so fitting with the world and events, as it captures the essence of what the developers Stoic have created.

Banner Saga 3 was a very somber ending to one of the most emotionally draining games we’ve ever played. The Banner Saga has always had strong compositions that evoke great emotion and tension, driving the player forward in a death march toward hell. The track “Only The Few Remember It Now” is a gut-wrenching piece when played in its respective scene.

A good soundtrack provides a pleasurable listening experience. An amazing soundtrack provide its listeners with a variety of emotions. The music in the Banner Saga series has constantly left us grieving for those lost, and cheering for those who managed to survive. For all of the times it’s caused players to curl into a ball, sobbing, the emotional impact of Banner Saga 3’s soundtrack is why it claims our top spot for Best Music.



The synth-based music in CrossCode is excellent, intricate, and varied. It features heart-pumping beats for combat and boss fights, mysterious ambient pieces for dungeon exploration and puzzle solving, and moodier, more dramatic pieces for cut scenes and story exposition. The music always matches what’s happening in the game. The composer, Deniz Akbulut, went through the effort of giving each dungeon and area its own song. The track “Battle 2” is one that immediately came to mind when asked to explain why CrossCode’s music is so good. It’s easy to picture those Rockin’ Hillkats with their headphones burrowing around and throwing rocks at me. It is recommended that players crank up their speakers or bust out the good headphones for this unforgettable musical experience.

The most distinct thing about Octopath Traveler is its charming presentation, creating a mix of classic and modern that immediately sets it apart while helping it feel warmly familiar. The music serves as another key element of this, perfectly encapsulating a traditional score tinged with a modern aesthetic. Yasunori Nishiki’s absolutely encompassing score provides the perfect amount of ambiance in the overworld, and is exhilarating during fights. The sheer number of pieces is also a plus, with new music appearing throughout the entirety of what is a fairly lengthy game. If Octopath Traveler is the premier throwback RPG, then its soundtrack is the premier throwback RPG score.


by Johnathan Stringer, Sam Wachter, Joe Hanley, and Zack Webster



These awards are dedicated to the memory of our friend Michael A. Cunningham. Mac started at RPGamer in 2006 and would go on to become the long-running Editor-in-Chief. While Mac loved RPGs, he especially loved handheld games, founding the #TeamHandheld hashtag as well as running a personal project site, Pocket Console, where you can read more of his musings on portable games.

You can see Michael’s top games, which is to a Google Document because Mac loved organizing lists in spreadsheets, a tradition continued with our speadsheet-based awards voting form. You can also read the tributes to Michael from the community as well as a list of our favorite works by Mac as well as Francis Gayon’s musical tribute based on Mac’s favourite game, Final Fantasy IV. Also, a special thanks to our friends at RPGFan who dedicated their recent Top 25 Nintendo 3DS Games and Top 20 PlayStation Vita Games features to Michael’s memory.