Music is an integral part of any game. While pieces that truly compliment their environment are often capable of stirring emotions and conveying a story without the use of words, dull, uninspiring themes can go completely under the radar.
The list below is a compilation of some of my own personal favorite “battle” themes in RPGs. If you missed my first battle theme selection, that can be found here. This list will not include boss battle music – previously compiled lists already serve that purpose. I have attempted to provide an eclectic mix of tracks from all sorts of RPGs throughout the years, but I’m sure that I have missed many amazing pieces as a result. But that’s where you come in – be sure to leave your own personal favorites down in the comments below.
Battle II – Octopath Traveler
Octopath Traveler has been quite the divisive title since its debut back in 2018. Despite this, there are two elements that are almost universally praised: the graphics and sound – both of which are arguably among the best in the genre. All of its many battle themes are fantastic, but something about the violin here just gets me every time.
Steel Sings, Blades Dance – Final Fantasy XI
Final Fantasy XI remains a common topic across many of my articles, and I’m not upset about it. Not only was it one of the first MMORPGs I ever played (and loved), it also features some of my favorite music of all time by composer, Naoshi Mizuta. This battle theme is from the last expansion, Seekers of Adoulin, and in many ways feels also feels like a “last hurrah” piece, even though this decades-old MMO continues to chug along – via a paid subscription, at that.
Do Your Best! – Breath of Fire III
Perhaps the most upbeat track on this list, the jazz infusion of Breath of Fire III not only comes across as a surge of fresh air, it is a genuinely good soundtrack to boot. Relying on some sick drum beats, Do Your Best embodies what makes a good battle theme stand out from the crowd: it doesn’t wear out its welcome.
Easily the most agonizing choice to make on this list – more so than even Octopath Traveler – The Witcher 3 features an incredible soundtrack and, of course, some particularly wicked battle themes. This one doesn’t get a whole lot of screentime due to where it is used, but it is as just as epic as any other offering here. What I like about this track is it evokes that “back alley street brawl” feel that earned the White Wolf the “Butcher of Blaviken” moniker in the first place.
Memory To Be Spun
Lost Sphear is the very first article, and review, we published here at SwitchRPG.com. I was in charge of reviewing the followup to I Am Setsuna, and I wasn’t super impressed by it. That said, both Setsuna and Lost Sphear, like Octopath, have generally been praised for their excellent soundtracks, and I certainly agree with that sentiment. It isn’t a track that feels like it is “up close and in your face,” like many of the others on this list, but I think that is to its merit rather than a detriment. Memory To Be Spun is one I could loop basically forever and never grow tired.
That’s it for this list. What did you think about my selection? Stay tuned for more musical spotlights in the future!