Tag Archives: music

Top 5 Songs From Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X was the first main title to feature composers other than Nobuo Uematsu. This gave the soundtrack a more diverse sound and featured multilayered melodies. It was also the first Final Fantasy game with voice acting. These are my top 5 songs from Final Fantasy X:

1. -To Zanarkand-

This is a deeply beautiful and sad song. With only the use of piano, this melody transports you to another world and takes you through the emotions of despair, regret, loss and hope. One of Uematsu’s greatest compositions.

2. -Suteki Da Ne-

The main vocal piece of the soundtrack, sung in Japanese. It is a tragic, but heartfelt love song featuring a sweeping melody and nice vocals. I would also recommend listening to the English version translated for the Final Fantasy orchestral concerts.

3. -Main Battle Theme –

The main battle theme of Final Fantasy X is very different to others in the series. It is more upbeat and rhythmical. It matches Tidus jumping back and forth getting ready for action. While the melody starts off calm and collected, it still includes enough energy to fit the harder battles.

4. -Silence Before The Storm-

An eerie and mysterious song, like you have just wandered into an enchanted forest. The melody is both comforting and intriguing. The composition features a wonderful chord progression that really makes the song stand out.

5. -Otherworld-

Something completely new to the series, the distorted guitar and grinding vocals came as a surprise to long time players, but the heavy metal sound was the perfect background for the final battle against Jecht as Braska’s Final Aeon.

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Top 5 Songs From Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX was a reflection on earlier games in the series and this comes through in its amazing soundtrack as it borrows themes and melodies from other Final Fantasy games. The music is diverse featuring arrangements of Spanish guitar, flute, piano and harpsichord giving it a unique feel. These are my top 5 songs from Final Fantasy IX:

1. -You’re Not Alone-

An impressive track for the weight it brings to the narrative. It is dark and melodic representing Zidane’s utter hopelessness towards the end of the game. It starts off simple and gradually adds layers of depth building into a complex melody. An expertly written piece of music.

2. -Melodies of Life-

As the vocal theme of the game, it is both sensitive and uplifting. The melody is repeated to great effect in a few other pieces, but the vocals add a more emotional attachment in this version. It is played during the ending and it is the perfect way to accompany the happy conclusion.

3. -The Place I’ll Return To Someday-

When I think of Final Fantasy IX, this is the song I associate with it the most. The simple melody reminds me of childhood and sets up a nostalgic atmosphere. The peaceful arrangement is both familiar and comforting, invoking the feeling of home.

4. -Dark Messenger-

An epic boss theme, but it is very different from what you expect. It starts off slow and takes its time to develop, creating a sense of tension and even adds a frantic piano passage making it feel unstable and keeps the listener on the edge of their seat.

5. -Hunter’s Chance-

A frantic and energising theme, that plays during the Festival of the Hunt. It perfectly captures the mood of danger and excitement, while keeping the player on their toes as the time limit counts down adding to the sense of urgency.

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Top 5 RPG Soundtracks By Yoko Shimomura

Shimomura has produced many fascinating RPG soundtracks over the years. She is known for her alibility to portray colourful worlds with her music as well as produce diverse themes. These are my top 5 Soundtracks from Yoko Shimomura:

1. -Legend of Mana-

The music in Legend of Mana perfectly paints a whimsical dream world. Shimomura created magical town themes, fast battle music, peaceful and beautiful piano tracks and a fantastic vocal piece to bring the magical world to life.

Best Compositions: “Song of Mana”, “Earth Painting”, “Cliff Town Gato”

2. -Radiant Historia-

The soundtrack of Radiant Historia is relatively small, but includes a lot of quality. Like the game itself, the music evokes memories of past RPG classics. It features mysterious piano and violin tracks as well as frantic battle themes that enhance emotional parts of the narrative.

Best Compositions: “Edge of Green”, “Memories of the World”, “Blue Radiance”

3. -Kingdom Hearts-

Kingdom Hearts soundtrack is an impressive achievement as it manages to blend the themes of Disney’s motion pictures with Square’s RPGs. Shimomura created careful arrangements of iconic Disney compositions as well as memorable original pieces.

Best Composition: “Simple and Clean”, “Dearly Beloved”, “End of the World”

4. -Xenoblade Chronicles-

Recently released, Xenoblade’s soundtrack is a collaboration between many composers including Shimomura and Yasunori Mitsuda. Shimomura contributes a magnificent main theme, stirring town music and energetic battle themes.

Best Compositions: “Main Theme”, “Colony 9”, “Time to Fight”

5. -Parasite Eve-

The oldest soundtrack on this list, but it really shows Shimomura’s diversity. The music of Parasite Eve is experimental and wonderfully combines beautiful piano melodies with techno electronic sounds. It creates the perfect haunting atmosphere for the more intense parts of the game.

Best Compositions: “Primal Eyes”, “Theme of Aya”, “Urban Noise”

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Top 5 Songs From Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII was a shift in the direction of the series at the time and this is reflected in its experimental and distinct soundtrack. The music is more serious than its predecessors and features love themes and more of an electronic influence to match the games futuristic settings. These are my top 5 songs from Final Fantasy VIII:

1. -Liberi Fatali-

This is played in the beginning FMV of Final Fantasy VIII and combines with the visuals to create one of the most impressive and powerful openings to any RPG. Utilising a full orchestra and choir, the music builds into an epic crescendo that leaves the player on the edge of their seats, eager for more.

2. -Eyes On Me-

This is a wonderful vocal piece featuring an upbeat melody and soothing lyrics that captures the theme of love present throughout Final Fantasy VIII. The song is actually important to the game as it fits in with plot, being written and performed by one of the characters, but also is used for the relationship between Squall and Rinoa. It is a memorable and endearing main theme.

3. -Don’t Be Afraid-

The battle themes in Final Fantasy VIII felt different to ones from the series past. As the name suggests, instead of being fuelled with intensity, this track starts off sounding cautious, before changing to a flurry of notes, almost as if you’re being chased. It changes again in the later part of the song to a more triumphant tune, signifying courage to stand and fight.

4. -The Man with the Machine Gun-

An energetic and frantic battle theme that has an electronic and techno flavoured melody. It is only used during certain parts of the game when the player controls Laguna and fits perfectly with his carefree and reckless nature. It is catchy, but constantly changes up its pace to keep if from growing stale.

5. -Waltz For The Moon-

This floaty waltz is played during the dance scene with Squall and Rinoa. It helps to show off Squall’s awkwardness, as Rinoa persists with him as he fumbles his way around the dance floor. It is a memorable piece that adds some fun to the soundtrack.

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Why I Prefer No Voice Acting in RPGs

There was a time when characters only “spoke” through dialogue boxes and showed all their emotions and charm through body language. In modern RPGs voice acting is the norm, but I find myself more immersed in older games where I am free to imagine characters personalities. At first I thought this was just nostalgia to games made from that era, but after recently playing the newly released The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword I have come to the conclusion that I prefer it that way.

Firstly, by having characters converse through written dialogue the player is free to input their own ideas of how they think the character should sound. This really helps with engaging the player in the story as they care more about characters they have helped conceive. It is also easier to identify with the protagonist of the story if the player feels like they can imagine themselves saying the characters lines or adding in a bit of their own personality.

With the emergence of voice acting, musical scores in RPGs have also seemed to take a backseat. In older games music was used to create atmosphere, highlight a memorable scene or to characterise an important party member. In Chrono Trigger we instantly knew Frog was a courageous and noble character just by the triumphant music that played with him and most players would also remember fondly each character from Final Fantasy VI just by hearing their accompanying theme songs. When an RPG features voice acting, it takes centre stage and the music is relegated to background noise, more like a movie. Most of the soundtracks I hear in modern games consist mostly of not very memorable ambient sounds rather than the catchy melodies of years past.

Voice acting can also be over the top, and may even lose the simplicity of scenes where characters show their feelings through their actions. In Final Fantasy VII, after Aeris’ death, each character has their own unique reaction to the tragedy. Some look to the heavens or stand in contemplation, others break down crying or try to hide their tears, but no one says a word and the whole scene is more powerful because of it. If it were remade with voice acting I fear it would lose a lot of the emotion by trying to be too dramatic. Even the cut scenes in previously mentioned The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword perfectly demonstrates Links insurmountable determination and his affection for Zelda without the need to reiterate it through having him speak. I guess a picture really is worth a thousand words.

There are many RPGs that have featured fantastic voice acting, but for me I would rather let my imagination fill out the characters personalities, let the enchanting music set the scene and have the characters show me their emotions.

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Top 5 Songs From Chrono Cross

The soundtrack found in Chrono Cross is often regarded as the epitome of video game music. Its combination of Celtic, Mediterranean and African themes produced some of the most mystifying music that can be appreciated regardless of one’s connection to the game itself. These are my top 5 songs from Chrono Cross:

1. -Scars of Time (Time’s Scar)-

What starts out as a haunting and beautiful introduction soon erupts into a flurry of violins and percussion, transporting the listener into another world. It’s impossible not to be mesmerised by its intensity and energy. This may very well be the best piece of video game music ever written.

2. -The Dream That Time Dreams (Time of the Dreamwatch)-

Played alongside scenes from the game if you wait for it at the title screen, I always thought it perfectly summed up the entire game. It builds up throughout the song into a magical melody. Like other pieces from the Chrono Cross soundtrack it includes arrangements from original Chrono Trigger music. It is an inspiring and motivational piece.

3. -Radical Dreamers-

The swirling melody is very thoughtful and emotional. The vocals fit the mood of the song well and will give you shivers the first time you hear them. I always envision reminiscing about the past when I listen to this fantastic track.

4. -The Girl Who Stole the Stars (Star-Stealing Girl)-

A touching and chilling piece that highlights the darker side of some of the music found in Chrono Cross. It evokes a sense of sadness and mystery and serves perfectly as Kid’s theme in the game. It is simple and beautiful.

5. -Chronomantique-

Like many of the tracks in Chrono Cross, it gives off an easy going vibe of a tropical island paradise. It is warm and inviting and it’s easy to just get lost in its melody as you start to daydream. It flows so well that it can get stuck in your head for days.

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Review: Why You Should Play Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII is a turn-based RPG released for the PlayStation which is often regarded as one of the best video games of all time.

Final Fantasy VII was a revolution in video games. It introduced RPGs to the mainstream, brought cinematic FMV sequences to the storytelling and took millions of people on an unforgettable adventure. The world of Final Fantasy VII is engaging and the various locations feel like people actually live there. Never before had interesting characters, a deep narrative, cinematic presentation and intuitive game play come together so well. Nor has it since.

The story begins as ex-SOLDIER Cloud Strife joins an underground resistance group attacking the corporation he once worked for. What starts out as a simple mercenary job, leads to a story of revenge, love, identity and ultimately a journey to save the planet’s life. The story includes some of the most iconic characters in RPGs, which are all well fleshed out and really make you care for them. There are so many memorable scenes; from the death of Aeris, to Sephiroth burning down Nibelheim, that are accompanied by thought provoking and emotional dialogue. Final Fantasy VII’s narrative will keep you thinking about it long after you have stopped playing.

Battles are fought using the Active Time Battle (ATB) system used in most games in the Final Fantasy series. Materia can be collected and equipped onto character’s weapons and armour, providing them with the ability to use various forms of magic and call Summon Monsters into battle. As Materia itself is levelled up, all magic can be equipped on any character to increase customisation and can be linked together to create unique combination attacks. Game play is reminiscent of many RPG’s but one area that Final Fantasy shines is in its extravagant mini-games. From snowboarding, to a motorcycle chase and even a theme park, many of the mini-games in Final Fantasy VII could be expanded into their own games.

The world of Final Fantasy VII truly comes alive when combined with its stellar soundtrack. The music is dark and emotional and adds as much to the atmosphere as the fantastic graphical design. “Aeris’ Theme” provides the most emotional and memorable song in any RPG, while “One Winged Angel” will put you on the edge of your seat in anticipation. The music is magnificent and escalates the game into the top of its genre.

Final Fantasy VII is most meaningful experience I have ever had with a video game. If you wish to play an RPG that has it all, then you should play Final Fantasy VII.

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