Tag Archives: Orchestral

Review: FINAL FANTASY EXPLORERS Original Soundtrack

While we’ve grown accustomed to Naoshi Mizuta scoring many of the smaller spin-off Final Fantasy titles over the past several years, Final Fantasy Explorers opts instead for composer Tsuyoshi Sekito, who’s probably best known for his rock-oriented work on The Last Remnant and various contributions to many Square Enix titles.

He delivers a fairly impressive mix of sweeping orchestral themes with the JRPG-standard rock-flavored battle music, which plays to his strengths. The regal orchestral main theme is big and bombastic, and is worked throughout many of the tracms, and there are a few Final Fantasy series references featured throughout in addition to the battle themes from Final Fantasy IV through IX tucked away at the end of the album.

There are playful marches, adventurous suites, droning ambiance, flamenco, accordion-laden Western, and tense espionage themes. The rocking metal take on the chocobo’s theme is a lot of fun, and one of my favorite tracks comes as an exotic piece with an unusual oboe melody that stuck with me. The then there’s epic rock throughout, particularly in the final battle theme, that should please fans of the epic battle themes of yore.

In all, Sekito delivers a fairly fun and upbeat Final Fantasy score that should please JRPG enthusiasts. It’s been a while since we’ve heard an entire score from Tsuyoshi Sekito, so his fans will definitely want to check this out. It’s available on CD Japan.

Review: Arcadia no Aoki Miko ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

We unfortunately don’t see a lot of mobile games that are coming out in Japan. One such game from Square Enix, Arcadia no Aoki Miko, remains a mystery to me, but Square Enix has released a soundtrack album featuring music by Naoshi Mizuta, and I think RPG fans may be surprised by what they hear.

Check out some impressions if this somewhat brief album below. Continue reading Review: Arcadia no Aoki Miko ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Review: Bravely Second End Layer Original Soundtrack

The Bravely Default soundtrack was widely acclaimed. It featured rock artist REVO providing some fantastic themes that earned the score a lot of praise in 2014. With Bravely Second on the horizon, Square Enix is going big once again with the soundtrack, this time by hiring ryo, the producer of one of my personal favorite acts in Japan, supercell, to score the game.

Can lightning strike twice? Does ryo have it it takes to give JRPG music fans what they so desire? Continue reading Review: Bravely Second End Layer Original Soundtrack

Review: BRA★BRA FINAL FANTASY BRASS de BRAVO

I’m probably not the only person who thought this album was going to be a brass album. It’s called Brass de Bravo, after all. What you’re going to get, however, is more along the lines of a small ensemble with, yes, a fleshed out brass section, performing mainly orchestral arrangements. Apparently there was a live performance featuring a brass group in conjunction with the Siena Wind Orchestra, which explains this sound. Fortunately the fun selection of arrangements and suites make up for the confusing album title, so let’s dig in. Continue reading Review: BRA★BRA FINAL FANTASY BRASS de BRAVO

Review: Bayonetta 2 Original Soundtrack

Listening to a Bayonetta soundtrack is always a huge undertaking. The first game’s soundtrack was five discs, and not to be outdone, Bayonetta 2 also clocks in at five. Still, much with the games, there’s a lot of quirkiness and charm found within the eclectic mix of electronic, orchestral, and jazz themes presented.

To go along with this large collection of music, there’s also a number of contributing composers from Platinum games and elsewhere who make this soundtrack what it is.

Does the Bayonetta 2 soundtrack surpass the first game’s effort? Read more below. Continue reading Review: Bayonetta 2 Original Soundtrack

Review: Dark Souls II Original Soundtrack

A lot of people were surprised to see Motoi Sakuraba take the helm of the Dark Souls series after Shinsuke Kida’s powerful score to Demon’s Souls. Would he take the franchise in a more progressive rock direction that he is known for, or stay true to the epic orchestral stylings that Kida established in Demon’s Souls?

I was personally surprised and delighted to see him take the latter approach. The Dark Souls soundtrack had a lot of standout music, and I was wondering if he could pull off a repeat with Dark Souls II.

The soundtrack album was included with limited edition versions of the game, so fortunately it’s pretty easy to find out! Continue reading Review: Dark Souls II Original Soundtrack

Review: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

I’ve finally dug through the 400+ songs featured in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I was particularly pleased with the Super Smash Bros. for 3DS soundtrack that I reviewed a couple months back, and the Wii U soundtrack is a staggering three-to-four times bigger.

Now, while many of those tracks are original soundtrack versions and returning arrangements from Melee and Brawl (which are excellent themselves), there’s still new arrangements to enjoy.

Let’s have a listen. Continue reading Review: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

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: 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: 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