Final Fantasy XV is one of the few video games from the series where your time playing it is far from over. Square Enix hasn’t been shy in their intention to keep expanding the story with additional DLC content, either to improve some holes in the main story or giving each member of Noctis’ crew their own episode to fully understand what their personal motivations, hopes, and fears are. It has been a few months since I finished my first run with FFXV, but I’m eager to play the expansion the developers keep adding onto the game. With this in mind, the epic and emotionally resonant music from the soundtrack still haunts me and I occasionally set this as my playlist on some weeks when I’m commuting to work or going out for the day. In honor of the upcoming multiplayer expansion Comrades, which will be released later this week, and next month’s final companion DLC Episode Ignis, here are my all time favorite music from the FFXV soundtrack.
1. Somnus (Instrumental Version): Anyone who has played FFXV at all will recognize this melancholic and dreamy score, composed by Yoko Shimomura, playing in the background when the game first loads the title screen. Even before playing FFXV or even knowing what the player is in for, Somnus, which is Latin for sleep, already foreshadows the journey and fate of Lucis’ crown prince Noctis. There’s something deeply sad about the music but strangely comforting about it at the same time. Halfway into the score, the tempo and beat picks up and there’s a feeling of hope as the piano starts to crescendo. The slow and deliberate sound of the violin remains present with the piano, almost as a reminder of the sadness that still remains, but doesn’t overwhelm this sense of light amidst the darkness the piano and violin portray so beautifully. Somnus is a theme that got stuck in my head repeatedly every time I played the game, and more so when I got the full soundtrack of the game.
2. Hunt or Be Hunted: This particular score plays every time Noctis and the guys enter a fight with the wild creatures roaming the lands or the Magitek troops that drop in at random spots throughout their road trip. The heavy drumbeats paired with the frenetic pacing of the piano and strings in the background makes it the perfect battle music to get you super hyped for a fight. There’s a sense of urgency and danger about this score, which matches the mood Noctis and his crew would feel when they have to defend themselves against a threat. Every time I heard this score, my heart would start racing and a feeling of excitement would take over as I faced these enemies with the guys.
3. Crystalline Chill: The name of this score is exactly how this music sounds—it’s super chill. All corny puns aside, I always took the opportunity to enjoy this piece of music whenever I went into my inventory. The entire piece is relaxed and a welcome respite after having contended with a tricky boss fight, or when you need time to recover from an emotionally charged cutscene. The track is a little repetitive compared to the other music in the soundtrack, the arrangements not really differing at any point in the score, but this one just kind of stuck with me.
4. Melancholia: I often found that the most beautiful and striking music from the FFXV soundtrack is often the saddest pieces scattered throughout the game. As much as FFXV does have its lighter and happier parts, most of the story until the very end is incredibly sad and the kind that will have you shedding a tear or more. It’s kind of unavoidable the way the game was written. Like Somnus (Instrumental), the piano and violin are very prominent in this piece. It sounds very much like a downcast lullaby. Nothing about it sounds uplifting, but the beauty contained within this slightly dismal score is undeniable. It’s just as haunting and gorgeous as Somnus (Instrumental).
5. Somnus: To close out my favorites list, it’s fitting that I end it with Somnus. What’s different about this Somnus compared to Somnus (Instrumental) is the vocals included in this track. Somnus starts the same way as the instrumental theme does until it completely opens up with the amazing lyrics sung by Aundréa L. Hopkins. The entire song is in Latin, in keeping with the theme’s Latin title. The Final Fantasy Wiki provides the Latin lyrics along with the English translation. The song plays towards the end of FFXV and right before the now grown and mature Noctis takes his last stand against Ardyn and the darkness that has consumed his entire kingdom. I would essentially call it Noctis’ requiem and symbolic of his acceptance of his fate and duty as the last Lucian king. If you thought Somnus (Instrumental) was mesmerizing, Somnus elevates the instrumental score on an ethereal level.
There are many more great music from the soundtrack that didn’t make it on this list, but at 96 songs on the soundtrack, I had to reduce it to 5 selections. Anything longer than 5 would make this post far longer and lengthier than I would have wanted to have written. Whether you decide to play FFXV or not, the music alone is worth a listen.
For more on Final Fantasy music, check out my previous post on vocal songs from the various series.