Notorious BGM – The Best Game Music of August 2016

Michael Grimm

Welcome to Fandom’s totally subjective list of the best game music of August! Let’s face it, there are a lot of video games out there with great soundtracks that slip through the cracks. That’s still gonna happen, but we’re here to make sure it happens a little less! 

August saw two of the year’s biggest game releases with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and No Man’s Sky, but there were plenty of lower profile games this month with excellent music as well. From the synthy futuristic world of Michael McCann’s Deus Ex work to the awesomely bizarre chiptune/Greek folk hybrid tracks of Okhlos, it’s been a great month for game music!

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

“Adam Jensen 2.0”
Michael McCann

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided brings back Human Revolution’s Michael McCann for another excellent, moody synth-fest that fits the game’s tone perfectly. It pulls off the difficult trick of aping Vangelis’ legendary Blade Runner soundtrack, one of the all-time great sci-fi OSTs, while still sounding totally unique.

No Man’s Sky


No Man’s Sky has been a polarizing release to say the least, but it’s tough to knock the music. While the in-game tracks are procedurally generated, 65daysofstatic released a companion OST with more concrete tracks to listen to. The shiny post-rock guitar feedback sounds mix with the spacey synths quite nicely. Check out our in-depth look at the music of No Man’s Sky to learn more about this unique OST.

Policenauts Duo


Now before all 12 of you Policenauts fans lose your mind about a sequel, there is no Policenauts 2, sorry. For the rest of us, Policenatus was Hideo Kojima’s hard sci-fi graphic adventure game, notoriously never released outside of Japan (though there are fan translations floating around). This track is more of a “What If?” from Drift Stage OST wizard MYRONE. Bask in the glorious guitar work and synths as you crack open a Crystal Pepsi and fold your collection of Hypercolor shirts. Check out the full version on Soundcloud.


A Shell in the Pit

Okhlos is a neat game with a fun concept, bolstered by its excellent soundtrack. Composer A Shell in the Pit has a knack for blending chiptune tracks with analog instruments, and that talent is on full display here. He makes great use of hand drums and the Greek bouzouki guitar in this track, creating a perfect fit for a game filled with 8-bit sprites of Greek gods and philosophers.

The King of Fighters XIV

“Sky Blue Mexico Team”
Hideki “sha-v” Asanaka, ZOE, Minori Sasaki, Mayuko Hino, Naoki Kita, Rio “88” Hashikawa

The King of Fighters XIV may have taken some flack for its new 2.5D art style, but reviews have been mostly positive and the game is gaining traction. The soundtrack is all over the place with individual themes for all of the game’s different teams. Take for example this theme for Team Mexico, a wild blend of bongos and trumpets mixed with acid jazz piano and layered over some Drum n Bass sounding rhythm.

Etrian Odyssey V

“Battle 2”
Yuzo Koshiro

While Etrian Odyssey’s brutal dungeon crawling action may not be for everyone, the series soundtracks are always shining examples of JRPG music. That’s to be expected from composer Yuzo Koshiro though, one of game music’s most legendary composers. Responsible for the music from Streets of Rage 1-3, Ys, ActRaiser, and dozens of other JRPGs, he’s as responsible for creating the distinctive sound of Japanese games as anyone.

Caladrius Blaze

“Silver Flames”
Manabu Namiki, Yoshimi Kudo, Azusa Chiba

While you technically have to import it from Asia, Caladrius Blaze’s OST is too good not to include. An absurdly over the top OST that mashes crunchy guitars and harpsichords together in a way only Japan can, it’s the right sound for a heavily anime-styled Shoot ‘Em Up. You’d be forgiven for mistaking this one for a Guilty Gear track.

Did we miss any of your favorites from this month’s releases? Let us know @getfandom on Twitter by using #NotoriousBGM! (And a special thanks to VGMDB for help identifying some of the Japanese composers!)

Michael Grimm
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