Archive for the ‘ Final Fantasy ’ Category

Final Fantasy X-2 Last Mission Soundtrack

Artist: Noriko Matsueda, Takahito Eguchi and Kazuhiro Hara
Release Date: July 16, 2003
Label: Square Enix
Personal Rating: 3/5

1. real Emotion (FFX-2 Mix)
2. 1000 Words (FFX-2 Mix)
3. Seal of the Wind ~The Three Trails~
4. Last Mission No.1
5. Last Mission No.2
6. Last Mission No.3
7. Creature Creation
8. Flash Over
9. 1000 Words (Orchestra Version)
10. Kimi he

Oh gee…. I haven’t reviewed any Final Fantasy Soundtrack in a while! (Though I have been listening to the FFX, FFVII, FFXII and FF XIII soundtracks. They’re all in four discs!) I’ve also noticed that these were released the same time that the vocal collection singles (the ones with Yuna, Rikku and Paine) were released.

Well since the version in the original FX-2 soundtrack was in Japanese, the real Emotion (FFX-2 Mix) just happens to be the English version of the song played in the opening sequence. (Originally sung by Kuu but sung in English by Jade from Sweetbox) Anyways, this is still a pretty hot track but I would rather listen to the full version if I were to fully enjoy this song.

1000 Words (FFX-2 Mix) follows the same case as real emotions: awesome but listening to the longer version would make this song sound more awesome.

I strongly thought that Seal of the Wind ~The Three Trails~ would have been great in the original game’s soundtrack (since the original X-2 was rather… average) because of it’s transitions and developments between the stronger and softer parts. Since I haven’t played Last Mission, I don’t exactly know when the song was used but I’m sure that it would have made the environment of the game more intense with this track!

Last Mission No.1 and Last Mission No.2 sounded quite familiar with all of the jazz elements within the arrangement. The only difference is that No.2 has a saxaphone solo. The Last Mission No. tracks probably weren’t the strongest tracks in the collection.

Even though Last Mission No.3 sounded dramatically different than the previous two, the only downside is that the entire loop of the song is rather short and seems to have been repeated more than a few times throughout the duration. Still not a strong track.

Creature Creation also has a rather short loop time and is rather typical for a background music. Definitely not a keeper.

Now Flash Over is the more driven and intense track of the game! I believe this was a boss battle theme (“Fight with Seymour” for the win!) Another track that could have been in the original F-X2 ost!

1000 Words (Orchestra Version) is okay compared to the original 1000 words version. It seems that in the orchestrated track, Jade sounds like she’s straining her voice a little to give off that dramatic effect. Otherwise, the arrangement still sounds beautiful! (not to mention that I still have this in my iPod playlist after all of these years)

I think that Kimi he is a bonus track since I’ve never heard this song during the course of the game. (And I didn’t play Last Mission) Anyways, it’s sung by Yuna’s Japanese vocie actress, Aoki Mayuko, who does give off quite the vocal performance. (I mean, compared to the other voice actresses in the FFX-2 series *coughcough*) The flow of the ballad seems to take my mind into a different world away from reality. I really thought this was probably one of the best ballads I’ve heard from Mayuko.

Personal Rating: 3/5

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FFX-2 Vocal Collection: Yuna

Vocal Collection-YunaArtist: Mayuko Aoki
Release Date: July 16, 2003
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 4.5/5

1. To You
2. Morning Glow
3. To You (Instrumental)
4. Morning Glow (Instrumental)
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To You is based off of Yuna’s Theme except with a more darker tone. Instead of the usual pop/jazz song, To You was more of a ballad. Compared to Paine and Rikku, I’ll say that Aoki has the best vocals.

Morning Glow is the vocalized version of Eternity which was very memorable and had a strong combination of a ballad and upbeat.

Personally, this was much much much better then Paine’s and Rikku’s singles.

Personal Rating: 4.5/5

FFX-2 Vocal Collection: Rikku

Vocal Collection-RikkuArtist: Marika Matsumoto
Release Date: July 16, 2003
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3.5/5

1. Barefoot Tracks
2. Without You
3. Barefoot Tracks (Instrumental)
4. Without You (Instrumental)
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So here’s the delightful and energetic Rikku so it looks like we’re supposed to be in a more happy atmoshpere with this single.

Unlike the vocal and arrangement disater with Paine’s single, Rikku’s at least makes the Vocal collection a bit better. But then here’s another problem: her voice was too squeaky. (She’s like the next debut Shokotan) Barefoot Tracks, is pretty much like the vocalized version of Rikku’s Theme. Sure, Matsumoto is just a voice actress but that voice reminds me of the old Ayu.

Without You is another energetic song but with a slight improvement with the vocals. At least the instrumentals sounded much better with the pop elements here and there.

Personal Rating: 3.5/5

FF X-2 Vocal Collection: Paine

Vocal Collection-PaineArtist: Megumi Toyoguchi
Release Date: July 16, 2003
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3/5

1. Sleeping Memories…
2. Misty Eyed
3. Sleeping Memories… (Instrumental)
4. Misty Eyed (Instrumental)
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I haven’t reviewed any Final Fantasy releases lately! (I’m just taking a little break from mainstream artists and catching up on some reviews of unknown artists.) I just happen to review the X-2 Vocal collections because I’m not in the mood to write a gigantic soundtrack review.

To suit the mood of the character, (Paine) Toyoguchi sings in a very gloomy tone despite the fact that her voice could actually be a bit girly at times. Sleeping Memories… does not have much of a match between the arrangement and vocals since the instrumentals are Jazzy while the vocals are dark. A little ironic isn’t it?

Misty Eyed is partly sung in English but Toyoguchi’s vocals take a bit of a pitfall here. I won’t go on much about the vocals since Toyoguchi is a voice actress, not a singer, but the main problem is that the lyrics sounds a bit weird itself.

This time, I didn’t really go hard on the vocals but Sleeping Memories… did not have a good synch between arrangement and vocals and Misty Eyed needed some Engrish edits.

Personal Rating: 3/5

FFVII: Crisis Core Soundtrack Disc Two

crisisalbumComposer: Takeharu Ishimoto
Release Date: October 10, 2007
Label: Square Enix
Personal Rating: 4.5/5

1. The Town that Shut out Light
2. Getting the Situation Moving
3. Mako Controlled Organization (FFVII “Shinra Company”)
4. Theme of Crisis Core “To the New Appointment”
5. The Locked Village (FFVII “Anxious Heart”)
6. Farewell Melody
7. Melancholy Mansion
8. A Bit of Relief
9. Prelude to Decay
10. The World’s Enemy (FFVII “One-Winged Angel”)
11. Night in Seclusion
12. Missions and Friendship
13. Theme of Crisis Core “Sprint to the Battlefield”
14. Escape into the Wasteland
15. Melody of Resolution
16. Prowling in the Moonlight
17. Reciting an Ancient Poem by the Waterside
18. Meeting the Grotesque Roar
19. The One who Receives the Planet’s Divine Protection
20. A SOLDIER’s Struggle
21. The Price of Freedom
22. Fullfilled Desire
23. Why
24. To be Continued (FFVII “Opening – Bombing Mission”)
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We begin with Disc two for the Crisis Core Soundtrack with The Town that Shut out Light, which also ties into the Background music for the “Sector 5 Slums” place. (Which is probably the most comforting place in the whole game since I thought that the gameplay was really fun but very stressful at the same time…I’m always scared of those “Game Over” screens!) I pretty much like the song mainly because of the mood of it. It’s not so boring or depression and not to mention, it’s pretty refreshing now that the storyline is building up to the most critical part of the game.

Getting the Situation Moving is another violin and piano duo. Honestly, I really thought that this was forgettable. I don’t even remember hearing this song during the game in the first place. Anyways, it’s a bit messy and a bit annoying since there was actually no melody. Compared to the other melodies, I thought this was the worst.

Another reminiscene of the original Final Fantasy VII soundtrack is Mako Controlled Organization (FFVII “Shinra Company”). Unlike the original, it’s not all mysterious and haunting after all, I thought this version was much better. It sounded like the “Iron skyscraper” song except the melody of the song was more memorable.

Theme of Crisis Core “To the New Appointment” now contains the original melody of the theme. I liked the mixture of acoustic guitars and light drums.09022dd123260lo23456lq2

Just when I thought that the original version didn’t make that much sense, The Locked Village (FFVII “Anxious Heart”) made me give the original another listen! (And now the flow of the song made it more enjoyable to listen to.) I loved how the xylophone in both versions went up and down with the notes.

Farewell Melody: another one of the short piano tracks. I reviewed many of these tracks so I don’t need to stress out my opinion about these tracks anymore…

The Melancholy Mansion was indeed a gloomy song. I didn’t actually notice this at first but there’s actually a hint of the “theme of crisis core” playing within the depths of the sad strings. Very nice.

A Bit of Relief and Prelude to Decay: Seriously, how many more piano melodies!

Remember the song that Nobuo Uematsu is famous for? The “One Winged Angel” theme of course! Takeharu Ishimoto’s The World’s Enemy (FFVII “One-Winged Angel”) sounds really different than the original version since Ishimoto added more of his personal touch to it. It contains bits of the chorus and bits of the melody otherwise, everything else is different. After listening to this version, I can’t really pick which ones are my favortie. (Since both are sooooo good!)

Night in Seclusion and Missions and Friendship: Nice melodies, but I think I had more than enough melodies in this soundtrack to listen to.

Same goes with this version of: Theme of Crisis Core “Sprint to the Battlefield”

Now the Escape into the Wasteland was something totally new. There are nice transitions so the song didn’t really sound that messy. I liked how the beginning sounded a bit mysterious.

That’s it, I’m done with these melodies. (Melody of Resolution) At least this is the last of them. Not to mention, there are also no more theme of Crisis core for the rest of the soundtrack.

CrisisCore09Have you noticed that the music in this second disc is more gloomy? If you play the game, you will understand why especially when Prowling in the Moonlight comes in.

I probably thought that the last laid back upbeat song was probably the best “New” song in the soundtrack. (Because the remakes from the original game were probably my favorite works from Takeharu Ishimoto.) Reciting an Ancient Poem by the Waterside sounded very much like the element of the water. (Flowy transitions and great choice of instruments!) I thought that there would be no other songs that would portray the event when Zack is in the cave underneath ———. <———–*insert name of place* (No spoiling!)

One of the most freaky fight song that also take place in this “cave” is pretty powerful from beginning to end. Hearing Meeting the Grotesque Roar really took me by surprise since the monsters pop out of nowhere. It’s true that music really does contribute to someone’s reaction in response to what they see.

Yay! Final boss theme song! The One who Receives the Planet’s Divine Protection contains more of Ishimoto’s style. (Heavy drums, electric guitars and or course, a metal-like approach.) Since metal-like songs aren’t really my type of instrumental music, I would say that this was okay for my liking.

Probably my favorite battle songs; A SOLDIER’s Struggle. I love the sound effects of the beginning of people marching and then it soon throws in an electric guitar and drums. Really nice. I also LOVED the flow of the song and how it really suited this somewhat “easy” battle. After the last battle that contained “One who Receives the Planet’s Divine Protection,” I couldn’t help but feel really confident in this battle!

Now finally, a very beautiful track with a nice violin entrance at the beginning marks the end of the game. I thought that The Price of Freedom was going to be a very romantic melody but in the end, it turns out to be an electronica paradise. At least the electric guitar kept the melody! (Nice conclusion to the soundtrack, by the way.)

Wait! That’s not all! There’s an extraordinarily great ending theme too! Fullfilled Desire was said to have one of my most favorite endings of all Final Fantasy games ever! Unlike Nobuo Uematsu’s style which uses the “Theme of Final Fantasy” near the middle of the theme, Takeharu 925138_20080521_screen001Ishimoto takes this song to the next level. It contained the same introduction as all of the Final Fantasy VII endings did but this one has “Mako Controlled Organization (FFVII Shinra Company”,” Just Before the Raid (FFVII Those Who Fight),” “Aerith’s Theme” and of course, the strings version of “The Theme of Crisis Core.” Just about 9 minutes of listening to the best melodies of the whole game made this song win my heart. I was actually surprised that he didn’t include any signs of an electric guitar in this song.

Yay! An Ayaka song! Since I’m too lazy to rewrite the review for the awesome “Why”, go to my review here!

The To be Continued (FFVII Opening – Bombing Mission) Didn’t actually sound that much different than the “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children” Version. Very pretty though!

I loved this soundtrack despite the numerous amounts and versions of piano melodies and the theme of Crisis Core. And since I’ve played the game like three times, I pretty much know when the background music is played so it made sense why Takeharu Ishimoto made his arrangements like the way they sounded. There’s also the thing that when you listen to a soundtrack for a game that you haven’t played yet, you’ll probably won’t appreciate it as much until after you play the game.

Personal Rating: 4.5/5

FFVII: Crisis Core Soundtrack Disc One

crisisalbumComposer: Takeharu Ishimoto
Release Date: October 10, 2007
Label: Square Enix
Personal Rating: 4.5/5

1. Fragments of Memories -d.m.w.-
2. Theme of Crisis Core “Succession”
3. Mission Start
4. First Mission (FFVII ‘Opening – Bombing Mission)
5. Mako City
6. Patriotism’s Moonlit Night
7. Encounter
8. Theme of Crisis Core “Dreams and Pride”
9. Last Order-crisis mix (“Last Order FFVII” remix)
10. The Importance of Truth
11. Wandering in the Afternoon Sunlight
12. Conflict
13. Manipulating the Iron Beasts
14. Theme of Crisis Core “Under the Apple Trees”
15. The Summoned (FFVII “Those Who Fight Further” remix)
16. The Burdened One
17. Just Before the Raid (FFVII “Those Who Fight” remix)
18. Secretly Maneuvering in Dark Suits (FFVII “Turks Theme” remix)
19. A Building of Iron and Pipes (“Last Order FFVII” remix)
20. Combat
21. Theme of Crisis Core “Scar of Friendship”
22. Flowers Blooming in the Slums (FFVII “Aerith’s Theme” remix)
23. Sky Blue Eyes
24. Theme of Crisis Core “Together with Pride”
25. Melody of Anguish
26. Marching on the Frontier (“Last Order FFVII” remix)
27. A Moment of Courtesies
28. Flapping Black Wings
29. Theme of Crisis Core “The True Project”
30. The Way Pride was Lost
31. Why (FFVII Crisis Core mix)
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Since this is a pretty long tracklisting, I’ll review this soundtrack a bit differently than the way I review J-pop releases. (Soundtracks do make quite the difference compared to J-pop releases.) I’ll start with a brief opinion of the song and then write about how the song suited the part of the game. Well, here’s my first soundtrack review and I’ll be as brief as possible!

As some sort of “prelude” for the Final Fantasy VII era, Fragments of Memories -d.m.w.- is actually based off of the “opening theme -Bombing Mission-” from the original Final Fatnasy VII. The song is pretty intense for a mini game overview before you see the actual game menu. Loved the new arrangement. The way the song was played with the music…I thought thatcrisiscore the song was pretty awesome.

There are so many Themes of Crisis Core and it starts with Theme of Crisis Core “Succession” which is the song played when you see the game menu screen. A very calm yet sorrowful piano playing pretty much matched with the game’s theme. (The picture on this soundtrack’s cover is the picture on the menu screen)

Mission Start is actually a pretty that is used in the long cutscene right at the beginning of the game. Unlike interludes, soundtrack music is all about timing with the actual game animation so that totally explains the quietness at the beginning of the song. It fitted the movie really well.

Now this is the actual remake of the original First Mission (FFVII ‘Opening – Bombing Mission). I thought that Takeharu Ishimoto did a great job with maintaining the original melody of the song. (Loved the new additions of strings instead of MIDI elements!)

Mako City is played whenever you’re in Sector 7 or in the Shinra building. It’s a pretty happy song and very refreshing to listen to. Especially after beating your very first mission.

You’ll hear the Patriotism’s Moonlit Night BGM when you visit Wutai. It sounds like you’re in a very sinister place so the emphasis of the song adapted to the actual gameplay really well.

Encounter is another one of those songs that you’ll hear whenever you encounter a random battle. With Takeharu’s profession, the electric guitar, playing in the background, we would get the impression that he really loved writing this song. At least the song doesn’t get boring even after you’ve encountered like 500 random battles.

Another Theme of Crisis core, also slow paced but this time with strings. If you compared the Theme of Crisis Core “Dreams and Pride” with the first version, you’ll probably already notice the similarity and thus, you will know what the main theme sounds like.

Ever watched the Final Fantasy VII 30 minute OVA? Last Order-crisis mix (“Last Order FFVII” remix) sounds just like the original song except there’s more intensity with the guitar synchs. Pretty cool.

A short piano melody, The Importance of Truth happens to be one of the many piano melodies in this soundtrack. It’s really slow but if you listen to the other piano melodies within the OST, I’ll say that this is my least favorite.

Another sinister but a bit happier song, Wandering in the Afternoon Sunlight is played when you visit Banora. Just listening to this song made crisiscorefinalfantasy7_1me a bit nervous on what kind of boss battles I would face in this place…

Conflict is another “random battle” song. I thought that this was more into the “battle mode” than Encounter since there’s no guitar riffs at the beginning of the song.

I thought that Manipulating the Iron Beasts sounded like Last Order because of the strong electric guitar riffs but if you intentionally compare the two songs, you’ll know the slight difference. One of my favorite fight songs.

Instead of the sad strings and piano arrangement,Theme of Crisis Core “Under the Apple Trees” sounds a bit laid back, now with light drums in the background. (Not my favorite version….yet.)

I liked the Black Mage’s version of “Those who Fight Further” the best but the The Summoned (FFVII “Those Who Fight Further” remix) track totally took me by surprise. I liked the new arrangement with the calmness in the beginning and then the entrance of loud guitars followed.

One of my favorite piano melodies ever, The Burdened One was really beautiful. It starts with the sad piano playing but then is followed by a series of really high notes on the violin. The sound of the violin totally refreshed me during the gameplay.

Now the Crisis Core version of “Those who Fight” is probably my most favorite version. (besides the piano version played in “Advent Children”) Just Before the Raid (FFVII “Those Who Fight” remix) actually makes a really uplifting entrance and instead of creating nervousness in a battle, it actually makes the battle more fun. Really fun song!

I never actually liked the “Turk’s theme” but I thought that the Secretly Maneuvering in Dark Suits (FFVII “Turks Theme” remix) sounded a bit catchy. Loved how the song was played when the returning characters from the original game , Reno and Rude, were first introduced to the game.

Another great arrangement is A Building of Iron and Pipes (“Last Order FFVII” remix) which was also played in Last Order. It pretty much sounded like the original version so there wasn’t really much of a difference.

I think that Combat is heard more frequently throughout the game than “conflict” and “encounter.” Pretty intense at the beginning but I think that “Conflict” is my favorite battle song. The last of the random battle songs.

Man, that’s still not my favorite Theme of Crisis Core version but the Theme of Crisis Core “Scar of Friendship” sounded better than the first few. The thing about this version is that it pretty much doesn’t sound like the original theme. I don’t know, I just can’t hear that original arrangement with thiscrisis_core-final-fantasy-vii-gran song…

The cool thing about Flowers Blooming in the Slums (FFVII “Aerith’s Theme” remix) is that it’s Aerith’s theme all over again except there’s a guitar playing in place of the original piano. Pretty sweet. (Especially with Zack’s romantic scenes with Aerith. Awwww…)

I wouldn’t exactly consider Sky Blue Eyes a piano melody but it has pretty much the same elements as “The Burderned.” With the piano and high violin. I’m so glad this song was used for one of the most touching moments of the game…it’s really beautiful.

Back with the original melody, Theme of Crisis Core “Together with Pride” sounds nice and all but I pretty much think that this was my least favorite of the Theme of Crisis Core tracks.

Yes, another piano melody. Except that Melody of Anguish sounds more sad compared to the first few.

I liked this song very much. But when Marching on the Frontier (“Last Order FFVII” remix) was played during the most critical part of the game (later on) I started to cry whenever I heard this song. (It’s a hint that you have to play the game in order to get this really sad feeling…)

Finally, a happy piano melody! A Moment of Courtesies lifted my spirits after the part when…..erm no more spoilers. I really like how Takeharu Ishimoto applies a nice feel to all of the piano melodies.

A electrical battle theme, Flapping Black Wings sounds pretty cool when you first hear it. I started to dislike it when I heard it during one of the most frustrating boss battles though.

Yes! My favorite Crisis Core theme!!!! Theme of Crisis Core “The True Project” actually doesn’t sound like the original arrangement either but doesn’t it sound beautiful with the suspenseful piano and violins? Totally worth a listen!Zack

Another one of my favorite boss battle songs, The Way Pride was Lost has plenty of guitar riffs at the beginning but after watching that “revealing the secret identity” scene, this song was probably the best song to suit the mood. Too bad it only plays for one boss battle.

Now everyone knows why Ayaka became so well known with Why (FVII Crisis Core mix). Actually ,this is a piano mix of it so there’s no vocals yet but it does sound like the original version.

Well, there’s my first soundtrack review. Expect a review on Disc 2 after my three day hiatus!

Personal Rating: 4.5/5