Category Archives: Reviews

Review: SQ Swing

Square Enix is keeping their SQ arrangement series alive, this time with what is supposed to be a swing-flavored edition. Like many of their past efforts, I can’t say the music here conforms to the style of the album’s namesake save for a few tracks, but I really do love the jazz and lounge arrangements presented here.

Read more below. Continue reading Review: SQ Swing

Review: Seiken Densetsu RISE of MANA Original Soundtrack

New titles in the Mana series typically don’t garner as much excitement as they once did. Rise of Mana in particular, as a free-to-play title, had people worried about the quality of the game, although I was personally excited to hear that series composers Hiroki Kikuta, Yoko Shimomura, and Kenji Ito were each contributing a song along with a main theme by ethereal vocalist Kokia.

Does the soundtrack live up to the musical legacy of the franchise? Read our review below. Continue reading Review: Seiken Densetsu RISE of MANA Original Soundtrack

Review: Square Enix Music Sampler CD Vol. 9

Each year for the past several years, Square Enix has released a sampler CD at their Tokyo Game Show, given to customers who make large purchases. This sampler has been used to preview upcoming releases, and more excitingly, announce albums that had not previously been announced. This year was no different, as Square Enix released their ninth such sampler.

This year’s sampler may be one of the best yet. So let’s dig right in to see what Square Enix Music is cooking! Continue reading Review: Square Enix Music Sampler CD Vol. 9

Review: Hyrule Warriors

Everyone knew from the moment Hyrule Warriors was announced that this game would be all about fan service. I’ve personally never delved into the Dynasty Warriors series, mainly because the setting didn’t appeal to me very much, but a similar game taking place in Hyrule with all my favorite Zelda characters? I knew I’d be in  for a treat.

One thing that was never discussed leading up to launch was the game’s soundtrack. Would there be an original score? Would we get renditions of our favorite Zelda tunes, and if so, in the rockin’ style that Dynasty Warriors is known for, or a more orchestral approach that we know from the Zelda franchise?

I’ll say I wasn’t disappointed. Read our review below. Continue reading Review: Hyrule Warriors

Review: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call and Remix Selections

Theatrhythm is one of the most exciting things to happen to Final Fantasy or rhythm games in the past several years. It was the sort of idea that I could imagine throwing around with friends and never expecting to be made, but here it is. I loved Theatrhythm, and even dabbled in some DLC on my mobile phone, so I was again surprised and excited to see that it had done well enough to warrant a sequel of sorts.

Curtain Call brings more of the same, or rather, a whole lot more. There are some great additions to the music roster, which boasts over 210 songs, and a lot more to see and do, so check out my brief review below. Continue reading Review: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call and Remix Selections

Review: Hideki Sakamoto Trio

Hideki Sakamoto hasn’t been in games that long, but he quickly became one of my favorite composers with his work on the Yakuza series, Echochrome, Toukiden, and a number of other titles that are obscure outside of Japan. His knack for memorable melodies paired with his use of live instruments and high production values is a perfect combination, and it’s for this reason that I’ve eagerly looked forward to his various arrangement projects, from his Hideki Sakamoto Orchestral Works featuring a full orchestra to TEKARU, his rock band that tackles many of his game themes. Now we get a more intimate trio approach, and like his other projects, it doesn’t disappoint.

Read more below. Continue reading Review: Hideki Sakamoto Trio

Review: Final Fantasy XI Musicbox Adventures

The music box, or orgel as it’s known in Japan, is quite a lovely sound. While I’ve always appreciated the chromatic tones, I’ve to this day not fully understood just why it’s so popular in Japan, but I’ve tended not to question it as many of favorite game soundtracks have benefited from a music box arrangement now and then.

This album continues that tradition, as was given away as a pre-order bonus for a Final Fantasy XI collection in Japan. So how does Final Fantasy XI’s music transition into the orgel format? Find out below. Continue reading Review: Final Fantasy XI Musicbox Adventures

Review: A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy

As a huge fan of music from Final Fantasy and the Distant Worlds tour, I was immediately interested in their A New World event, which is meant to be a much smaller, intimate ensemble-based affair. Their live performances were held too far away for me to attend, but I patiently awaited the release of an album so I could get in on the action, and that’s finally here.

What we have is a live recording from their London performance, which features the aforementioned ensemble complete with pianist Benyamin Nuss. Does the concert and recording live up to past efforts from the Distant Worlds team?

Read our review below. Continue reading Review: A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy

Review: A Composer’s Guide to Game Music

If you’re reading this blog, then it’s likely you have more than a passing interest in game music. It’s therefore likely that you’ve heard of Winifred Phillips, who’s worked on projects ranging from God of War and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation to Speed Racer and SimAnimals.

Through this new book, Phillips walks aspiring composers through the many practical and technical considerations that go into everything from picking out gear and finding your first job to how to compose great themes and create interactive music. While the target audience is aspiring composers, anyone with an interest in videogames and/or game audio should give A Composer’s Guide to Game Music a look.

Read our review below. Continue reading Review: A Composer’s Guide to Game Music

Review: Turrican Soundtrack Anthology

I never had the pleasure of playing many of the games that Chris Huelsbeck became world renowned for during my childhood. Most of my experience with his work has been through his original compositions, all of which I’ve loved. That’s why the Turrican Soundtrack Anthology was such a great opportunity for me to go back and enjoy all the Turrican classics that I missed as a young gamer, and I now understand why people have always been so enamored with these soundtracks.

The Turrican Soundtrack Anthology takes music from across the Turrican series and re-imagines it with upgraded sounds. But don’t let that scare tried and true fans of the classic Turrican scores, as these new renditions are still retro to the core with their catchy melodies intact, fantastic bass synths, and rocking electronic hybrids that are a retro game music fan’s dream.

Read below for more. Continue reading Review: Turrican Soundtrack Anthology