Bard Banter: Favorite Switch RPG Opening/Main Themes
Bard Banter is a series which highlights great music found within the best genre of all – the RPG.
Music can make or break your game. Whether it’s the music that the player hears when they first boot up the game and watch the opening cinematic, or the main theme song that they’ll hear for a majority of their game time, you need a good tune to draw people in. Of course, unless you’re a rhythm game, or any other sort of game where the music is front and center, your songs don’t need to be all heavy hitters. But, just like a good song, a bad song can leave a lasting, but negative, impression on the player.
In this article, I will be going over some of my favorite opening and main theme songs in the RPGs that I have played on the Switch. Of course, this is all just personal opinion, and my tastes will definitely not align with every single person. But I thought that it would be fun to talk about the songs that have caught my attention. I did do my best to try and cover a range of different themes, but there will definitely be some overlap just due to how my music tastes line up.
Without further ado, let’s move on to my list of favorite RPG opening/main theme songs!
Super Robot Wars V/X/T
JAM Project is a house name in the Japanese anison (theme songs for film and anime) realm, and was always a group that I had heard of, but never really dug too deep into. So when I finally played Super Robot Wars V for the first time and heard this song on the title screen, I was hooked. And hearing it during the final battle filled me with such a feeling of power, heart racing as I fought tooth and nail to get that last hit on the boss.
It is definitely that signature Japanese pop rock sound that you would hear in many shonen anime, such as Dragonball Z or One Punch Man. It’s fast-paced, filled to the brim with guitar riffs and heavy hitting drums, and lots of screams from the band members that make you wanna sing along with them. It makes perfect sense why this song was chosen to be the theme song for Super Robot Wars T, V, and X.
Last year when I reviewed Hades, I raved about its soundtrack. The rock, metal, and classical influences are treats for my ears. And even now, almost a year after the game’s release, I still listen to the soundtrack. No Escape is a good track to lead the player into Hades with. Starting off with a more mellow vibe, the guitar and drums lead the player down until the song picks up halfway through. It’s almost like you’re riding down the River Styx, taking in the different sounds and just vibing with the melodies before you get started on your journey to escape.
Fuga Melodies of Steel
Flowers on the Trails
Although this game just released a couple of weeks ago, the music has already stood out to me. As a game with a very sad premise, this song really hits hard. A group of children going to save their parents from being kidnapped from an enemy that burned down their village, and finding themselves fighting against boss after boss. The song definitely hits that feeling of helplessness, while also giving the player a bit of hope. The vocalist’s voice is especially beautiful, her notes clear and melodic. Truthfully, the song almost brings a tear to my eyes.
Persona 5 Strikers
You Are Stronger
I am definitely one of many people who love Persona 5’s soundtrack. A lot of that jazz/noir flair is present in Strikers. But what I really loved was the rock that was infused into the opening track. Neither genre overpowers the other too much, instead melding together to make a catchy song. And the vocalist has a lovely voice, her deeper tone melding nicely and leaving me wanting to jam out. And while the song doesn’t do anything too crazy with its arrangement, overall, it’s a competent theme to lead the player into Persona 5 Strikers.
Death End re;Quest
The band who performed Death End re;Quest’s opening song, Gesshoku Kaigi, is an interesting one to read about. They are what is known as a musical creator guild band, meaning that all of the members are a mixture of songwriters, composers, arrangers, and artists. And along with putting together their own music, they also perform band support for other artists in the industry. So it definitely makes sense how a powerhouse of musical artists put together such a powerful track.
Caligula Syndrome was definitely one of the few things that stayed in my mind concerning Death End re;Quest. The first few seconds are very memorable to me and left me waiting to hear the rest of the song, with the cold open that it begins with. But don’t let the cold open fool you, this song will hit you hard, and fast.
Truthfully, a good piano piece is underrated. It can invoke so many feelings from the player. So when I heard Disgaea 6’s main theme for the first time, I was instantly transported into a dark and dingy bar, sipping on some apple juice (as I don’t drink) while I waited for my client to slide me the details of my next assignment. While there was a bit to criticize about the game, I really loved Disgaea 6’s soundtrack. This is a sound that I don’t go out of my way to listen to, but enjoy whenever it reaches my ears.
Haven’s opening song was one of the few that was on my mind when I initially wanted to make this list. It is unlike anything that I’ve ever heard in an RPG (that I’ve personally played). The song in general is very fun and upbeat, playing with a lot of different sounds to give it almost a tropical house kind of feel. And the opening cinematic goes so well with this song (although that’s a discussion for another day).
Given the theme of love and freedom, Still Free definitely encompasses that feeling. It feels like you’re almost flying through the air with the song as it slowly elevates to its climax, where from that point on, you’re almost free falling.
Monster Hunter Stories 2
Whereas Haven plays around with a lot of experimental sounds, Monster Hunter Stories 2’s main theme is one that I would say is almost a quintessential JRPG theme. Big orchestra, bombastic, and a song that only gets better as it progresses. For these types of songs, I like to pretend that I’m very picky about them. In general, I love orchestral pieces because they are very soothing to me. However, I would say that they are hard to master.
This theme in particular is definitely one that caught my attention right away. The song starts off so strong that I almost worried that the middle and end parts wouldn’t be as memorable as the rest. But thankfully, this main theme pulls its weight all the way through.
Main Titles is a theme that, while not a song I remembered until I constructed this list, was one that I did find myself actually enjoying. I love string instruments, so it was very nice to hear a good stringed instrument solo halfway through the song. It starts off very strong, making its presence known immediately. My only complaint is that the song is over before you can even fully get into it.
Xenoblade Chronicles is another game with such a strong soundtrack that I just could not ignore putting it on this list. There is a reason that people mention the music when talking about the game. The main theme for Xenoblade Chronicles is such a sad, yet hopeful song, which is definitely fitting for a game of this caliber.
And those were some of my favorite opening/main themes in some Switch RPGs that I’ve played. My music tastes tend to run along the rock and pop side, but I can also appreciate the classical and experimental sounds that some of these games provide, as well. And with how advanced games have become, I think that music is just as important to experiment with as the art, gameplay, and story. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the classics and slipping in a good orchestral piece.
But what are some opening/main themes that you guys liked? Let us know!