Best Xenosaga Music: Our Top 10 OST Song Picks From All GamesThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
In terms of RPGs, the Xenosaga trilogy stands as one of the best and criminally underrated games out there.
It has it all: an endearing story, wonderful character work, addictive gameplay, and most of all, a musical score (composed by the legendary Yasunori Mitsuda and Yuki Kajiura) that is so memorable and beloved that it gave rise to live concert tours around the globe.
In this article we list our top ten picks for best songs from the trilogy that you should definitely check out and given a listen.
10. Fatal Fight (Episode II)
When it plays: During the final fight with Margulis
The word “epic” could not even begin to describe this battle theme.
Not only does it match the level of gravity in the final fight with Margulis(which is the best fight in Episode II, hands down) but the tone perfectly matches the level of emotion that comes with the battle as Margulis succumbs to his fate.
It shows how cool of an antagonist he is. That despite losing and being betrayed, his undying pride still results to him laughing off his own demise.
9. Albedo’s Theme (Episode I)
When it plays: When Albedo appears
This piece just scares the crap out of me, and with good reason.
The way how the music abruptly shifts from the heavy bombastic sounds to an eerily quiet piano section is quite unnerving and keeps the tension at pace.
It ultimately plays out as a mix between operatic and straight up horror, which perfectly sums up the terrifying force of nature that is Albedo.
8. In A Limestone Cave (Episode III)
When it plays: While exploring the Limestone Cave at Militia
A rather quiet piece that resonates an odd sense of melancholia thanks to Kajiura’s use of timbre.
Moreover it captures the feeling of that odd mix between loneliness and serenity, which does suit the feeling of what it must be like to be deep inside those cavernous walls. It’s quite beautiful song to listen to and captures a mood from Xenosaga that’s tough to find elsewhere.
7. Outrageous (Episode III)
When it plays: During the dungeon scenes
I love how they used electric guitar to create an atmosphere ridden with an impending sense of danger and immediacy.
This track creates the feeling of escalation, to build the tension in an increasing fashion, yet it never really quite hits the drop, leaving the player hanging in a state of tension. Great for keeping alert and it’s perfect for these cutscenes.
6. Second Militia (Episode II)
When it plays: While playing the side missions
A pretty upbeat piece that’s actually quite reminiscent of techno pop.
There’s a certain easy breezy quality to it, which makes it pretty cool to listen to while running around to do the side quests.
Heck, it’s so upbeat that I could probably do my morning jog to this.
5. Last Battle (Episode I)
When it plays: After beating Albedo and his demon hellfire attack.
To be honest, this doesn’t really sound like a traditional battle theme that you would expect from an RPG.
You’re expecting music pumped with action and adrenaline? Sorry. The tone just sounds too oddly cheery to match that kind of expectation.
However there’s a certain gravitas to this piece. If you’re listening closely while playing the game you would notice that in every boss battle, the same music is used…except for this final battle.
It’s the ultimate sign that this fight is the big one and blows the others out of the water.
There’s also something about the culmination of chanting, drums, piano, strings and xylophone which makes this piece sound like something to be played when one is in the presence of a godlike entity (which obviously fits this sequence).
In other words, the piece sounds like pure divine art, and is pretty much Mitsuda at his finest.
4. Godsibb (Episode III)
When it plays: During the confrontation with Yuriev and Metempsychosis
This mixture of metal and orchestra is executed in a way that sounds utterly surreal, and I love how the violins and the vocals clash each other in an erratic manner throughout. As if to keep the player pumped up during this fight.
I also have to say Kajiura is just killing it with her use of language(or specifically, made up language) to complement the visuals of building this world and keeping the player sucked right into it.
3. Promised Pain (Episode III)
When it plays: During the final fight with Zarathustra
It’s a rush to fight out Zarathustra while this bombastic piece plays in the background.
Though it sounds awfully a lot like Kajiura’s “Storm and Fire” from the Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles soundtrack, I love how she nevertheless still puts in a considerable deviation from her prior work, making it another epic battle theme entirely on its own.
Not to mention that I love how she incorporates somber themes playing throughout parts of the game and it all culminates here for this big finale.
2. Gnosis (Episode I)
When it plays: Appearance of the Gnosis.
One of the functions of music in a given medium (whether it be film or video game) is to help establish the style and personality of a given character.
Mitsuda excels in this aspect, as the instruments used in this piece help set up the otherworldly nature of the Gnosis. This ranges from the use of the woodwinds to establish the celestial aspect of their character, up to the use of the brass to give off the sense of the power and potential threat these creatures have.
1. Hepatica (Episode III)
When it plays: Second battle with Telos
Whenever I think about the Xenosaga trilogy as a whole, this musical piece is one of the first things that come into mind.
This isn’t just any battle theme. It also pretty much serves as both the themes for KOS-MOS and Telos throughout the story, which is pretty well-served, because at the end you’re both rooting for these characters despite them being on opposite ends.
All the while feeling a slight twinge of sadness in knowing one of them is bound to be defeated.
This is one of the reasons why I consider the Xenosaga series to be one of the quintessential RPG franchises out there.
Not only are the fight sequences and the gameplay pretty fantastic, but the character building and storyline is just so expertly crafted that you really can’t help but feel invested in these characters.
Some of these songs deserve an extended version and could work well as ambient background noise while studying or just getting work done. And given how broad these songs are I’d like to think there’s something here for everyone.