Category Archives: Reviews

Review: LIGHTNING RETURNS:FINAL FANTASY XIII OST PLUS

I quite enjoyed the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII OST. While it didn’t feature the catchy pop music that made Final Fantasy XIII-2 so endearing, it did sport its own unique blend of electronic ambiance that provided for a great listen.

As has been customary for the Final Fantasy XIII soundtracks, Square Enix released an additional disc of trailer music, instrumental versions, cut tracks, and variations on themes presented on this PLUS album. Is it worth picking up?

Read our review below. Continue reading Review: LIGHTNING RETURNS:FINAL FANTASY XIII OST PLUS

Review: PIANO OPERA FINAL FANTASY VII/VIII/IX

We waited a long time to get a piano collections album for Final Fantasy I – III. It then came as a bigger surprise that Square Enix was taking the Piano Opera concept and making it a series, revisiting Final Fantasy titles that had already enjoyed Piano Collections albums in the past. This installment covers the next three games in the series, Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX.

Read our impressions below. Continue reading Review: PIANO OPERA FINAL FANTASY VII/VIII/IX

Review: Mario Kart 8 Soundtrack

I always figured that Mario Kart would be the last hold out from Nintendo, doomed to host cheesy synth sounds for its soundtracks for all eternity. We’ve seen Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda get the orchestral treatment, but Mario Kart is a party game, so when Mario Kart 8 was announced, I didn’t expect anything new on the sound front.

I was mistaken, however, as Nintendo has really gone all out once again for this score. Given the time and attention that the large sound team at Nintendo put into the game, including contributions from Shiho Fujii, Atsuko Asahi, Ryo Nagamatsu, Yasuaki Iwata, and direction by Kenta Nagata, I thought we should dig in and take a look at what they’ve accomplished.

Read impressions below. Continue reading Review: Mario Kart 8 Soundtrack

Review: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

I had the opportunity to review the original Diablo III soundtrack, and I noted that while it was great in its own right, it didn’t feel like it belonged to the Diablo universe. More so, it felt like the world of Diablo told through the musical stylings of World of Warcraft. Diablo III: Repear of Souls takes a different direction, with composer Derek Duke acting as audio lead, allowing for a new soundscape to unfold.

Does this change have a lasting impact on the score? Read our full review below. Continue reading Review: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

Review: The Witch and the Hundred Knight

Nippon Ichi Software’s Tenpei Sato returns with another zany RPG score in line with a lot of his past works. This time, we get a playfully dark atmosphere with a strong western vibe that goes quite well together. There are two discs to dig into if you managed to pick up the limited edition, and a single disc sampler if you grab the standard edition on the NISA store.

What drew my attention to the score initially was a contribution by NieR vocalist Emi Evans. Does her track and the rest make for a memorable experience? Read more below. Continue reading Review: The Witch and the Hundred Knight

Review: M. Hamauzu Piano Works

After Masashi Hamauzu’s abrupt departure from Square Enix following the completion of the Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack, Hamauzu’s name has popped up through his unique music duo, IMERUAT, and for various arrangements he’s done in the videogame industry. This album, however, marks his first solo effort since that time, taking a nod from his past SaGa Frontier piano album and Vielen Dank to bring together a collection of short piano pieces.

Read our impressions below. Continue reading Review: M. Hamauzu Piano Works

Review: Sengoku Basara 4 Original Soundtrack

The Sengoku Basara series has generally been known to have great music. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of the powerful orchestral pieces and eclectic mix presented through the character themes, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have Shadow of the Colossus composer Ko Otani working alongside T’s Music and the rest of the large music team for Sengoku Basara 3.

Does Sengoku Basara 4 live up to the musical history of the franchise? Find out below. Continue reading Review: Sengoku Basara 4 Original Soundtrack

Review: memória! / The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura

I think most people will agree that Yoko Shimomura’s drammatica album was fantastic, and Square Enix has hinted at wanting to create a follow-up. When memoria! was announced, I hadn’t actually realized this was that follow-up, instead thinking it was a best of collection. However, you’ll be pleased to know that the music gets the full treatment in terms of arrangement for orchestra, piano, and live band.

It’s an eclectic mix with something for everyone. Find out what’s inside below. Continue reading Review: memória! / The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura

Review: Bubble Bobble and Bubble Memories Original Soundtracks

Here’s another taste of Taito after the review of Darius II earlier this week.

Bubble Bobble is easily one of my favorite games on the NES. An emphasis on food, secret levels, a drunken last boss, and of course, bubbles make it one of the most memorable NES games in my mind, so the music evokes a certain sense of nostalgia in me.

Taito has released the arcade soundtrack as well as that of Bubble Memories on iTunes Japan, so I thought it would be a good time to jump back into my youth and given them a listen. Continue reading Review: Bubble Bobble and Bubble Memories Original Soundtracks

Review: DARIUS II ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK -MD ver.-

Taito’s Hisayoshi “OGR” Ogura did quite a job on the Darius series. The quirky shooter title has some equally interesting music, and this version stands out even further as the Mega Drive version, so get ready for some tasty FM synthesis in our review below. Continue reading Review: DARIUS II ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK -MD ver.-