The 2023 Golden Lance Award for Best Soundtrack is not just an award for the best music that underpins and accentuates gameplay and story. It is an award that is a suggestion for what you should be doing right now. The beats behind the games in this category stick with you. They can (and should) be taken out of the game and made into a part of our everyday routine. The thumping rhythms and melancholy tones can be a soundtrack to more than just a game. The soundtracks here ooze vibe and sensation. They tie the experience of the game together and add that final X factor that elevates a game from great to excellent. With that said, here are the winners of Lords of Gamings 2023 Golden Lance Award for Best Soundtrack.
Winner: Hi-Fi Rush
A good soundtrack can do many things for a game. It can add hype to big boss fights. It can also help set the mood, adding sorrow, wonder, or suspense where appropriate. Most of the time, however, it needs to add to immersion without being distracting. Ideally, the music is strong, but allows players to tune it out if necessary. This is what makes Hi-Fi Rush somewhat of a unique case. The game is designed for everything to move to the beat of the soundtrack. This means that the music must always be in focus. Hi-Fi Rush is more than up for the challenge. It delivers a pleasant, upbeat soundtrack that helps the player move to the beat. It is always there and noticeable, but it never becomes distracting. The soundtrack also offers a good mix of original and licensed music. This ensures enough variety so that things never feel too repetitive or stale. Boss fight music works greatly to set the atmosphere. In a game centered around music, the soundtrack needs to deliver. The soundtrack for Hi-Fi Rush is a smash hit.
Runner Up: Final Fantasy XVI
Masayoshi Soken is the legendary composer behind the music of Final Fantasy XVI. His incredible talent is evident in the tracks throughout the game, and I found the battle themes to be the most memorable in my experience.
Subsequently, “To Sail Forbidden Seas” perfectly accompanies the cinematic nature of FF XVI’s boss fights and honestly serves as a wonderful standalone song outside of the game too. Soken has an incredible work ethic. This composition comes only a short time after his battle with Cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, during which he was still composing music for Final Fantasy XIV. His love for this franchise is reflected in the art he creates and will continue to do so for years to come.
Runner Up: Octopath Traveler II
Octopath Traveler 2 was Lords of Gaming’s first 10/10 game in years and for good reason. From the incredible storytelling to the varied and vibrant world with wonderful exploration. As well as a phenomenal and satisfying combat system, its soundtrack was the heart of the experience. Not a single track ever was wasted and felt as grand as the pinnacle tracks you would find in a Final Fantasy title.
From energetic combat music to serene background tracks and boss themes that reach into full-on metal operas. This soundtrack deserves to go down in history with the greatest in the JRPG genre.