I have a soft spot for Christmas music, and obviously game music. I generally break out the Christmas music on the ride home from Thanksgiving, and I have a playlist that contains lots of winter-themed game tracks to fit the mood. Square Enix has made finding game music to listen to for the holidays even easier with their annual X’mas albums, with two previous entries coming as compilations, and a surprise announcement this year: an entire album of remixes from Bravely Default arranged for the holidays.
The album is fantastic, and even more, Square Enix fans will appreciate guest arrangements by Junya Nakano, Motoi Sakuraba, and Yuzo Koshiro. The addition of bells, lots of reverb, and jingle bells could be viewed by some as gimmicky, but I certainly appreciate the effort. I particularly enjoy the bubbly opener, “Land of Beginnings,” the moving choir and piano in “Under a Hollow Moon,” and the majestic Christmas adventure, “Horizon of Light and Shadow.” There are a few picks that are more gamey and electronic in nature, such as “Baby Bird” with its quirky vocals, and overall, I couldn’t be more happy with this album and think it’s a perfect addition to any holiday play list. It’s out now on CD Japan, and here are links to the first and second X’mas albums from Square Enix if you want to dig deeper (Yuzo Koshiro’s arrangement of “Rydia” from Final Fantasy IV on the second album is my favorite).
Super Smash Bros. titles offer a rare treat for game music fans. While gamers get pumped to do battle with their favorite Nintendo (and guest) characters, this comes with musical arrangements that pay homage to all of these characters and their respective worlds.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii broke new ground by featuring arrangements from some of the top game music composers from Japan, and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS follows suit by including many of these arrangements along with new ones from the development team at Bandai Namco Games.
There’s a lot of music to hear (and even more will be featured in the Wii U version), so let’s take a look! Continue reading Review: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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