Dissidia Final Fantasy -Arcade- is back with more arrangements of Final Fantasy tunes from Takeharu Ishimoto. We thought the first volume offered a nice compilation of Final Fantasy battle music, even if the arrangements were somewhat straightforward, and that doesn’t change much with Volume 2.
After a dreamy orchestral/rock version of “The Prelude,” the opening track, “Title,” brings back the Dissidia main theme with big choir and orchestra. It’s then on to Final Fantasy arrangements with an uplifting ska-flavored take on the overworld theme from the original Final Fantasy and an orchestral/metal take on the Final Fantasy II overworld. “Crystal Tower” from Final Fantasy III gets into more ska territory, while “Within the Giant” from Final Fantasy IV gets thumping bass and dreamy guitars and synths. “Final Battle” from Final Fantasy X pairs Hamauzu-style piano with rock elements, while “Fighters of the Crystal” from Final Fantasy XI offers a nice blend or orchestral and rock that feels laid back despite the instrumentation. “Struggle for Freedom” from Final Fantasy XII also offers a measured rock/orchestral arrangement, while “Boss Battle” brings in glitchy electronic elements and rock to the original with a nice uplifting gallup. “Ultima” from Final Fantasy XIV gets a nice Celtic rock spin with some really driving metal moments, while “Servant of the Crystal” from Final Fantasy Type-0 gets female choral singing of the main theme with some excellent electric guitar work. Final Fantasy Tactics gets a metal version of the ominous battle theme, “Battle on the Bridge,” a bumpin’ dance version of “Unit Selection,” and a dance-y electronic/folk spin on “Ultema.”
It’s certainly a mixed bag, but there are some cool arrangements among the two discs of music featured. Grab the album on CD Japan if you’d like!
I remember when Dissidia was first announced. This was the fighting game Final Fantasy fans wanted (not Ergheiz!). The scores for the first two Dissidia games were fantastic, incorporating some lovely arrangements and original themes, so I was excited to get my hands on the soundtrack album accompanying the franchise’s first foray into arcades.
What you’ll find are pretty familiar sounds. Big, bombastic orchestral originals, and orchestral-rock hybrid arrangements of your favorite Final Fantasy battle themes. The opening theme takes a more melancholy approach with the series theme, but the glitchy “Prelude” will get the nostalgia and energy flowing pretty quickly. From there, the heavy metal flows, including a thunderous version of “The Rebel Army” from Final Fantasy II, which came as a surprise, a bombastic orchestral and synth version of the Final Fantasy IV final battle theme, the latter portion of “Dancing Mad” from Final Fantasy VI, and really cool spins on the main battle theme and “Fight With Seymour” from Final Fantasy X. “Flash of Steel” from Final Fantasy XII incorporates Hitoshi Sakimoto’s signature orchestral elements and adds in chugging bass and rock percussion on top, while *Eden Under Siege” from Final Fantasy XIII comes as a welcome addition, full of grit, wailing distorted guitars, rock percussion, and strings. “Antipyretic” from Final Fantasy Tactics also gets a slow and desperate arrangement with piano and sorrowful strings. The last track offers a remix of the Dissidia main theme, “Massive Explosion,” by SQ album series arranger Novoiski, bringing in synth sweeps, chiptune, and dub step elements.
There isn’t really anything groundbreaking here in terms of arrangements, but the rock-oriented takes on classic Final Fantasy tunes should please arcade-goers. Pick the album up at CD Japan if you’re interested.
The World Ends With You and Crisis Crisis: Final Fantasy VII composer Takeharu Ishimoto is back with his live band featuring female vocalist Stephanie and a standard rock ensemble. While the group has performed music from The World Ends With You in the past, this album revisits all sorts of Ishimoto material, including tracks form Final Fantasy Type-0, Dissidia Final Fantasy, The World Ends With You, and both Before Crisis and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII along with some original tracks.
There are excellent vocals throughout, with catchy chorus sections and some lovely orchestral-infused ’90s rock and grunge and ’80s-style synth work. There’s a nice aesthetic across the board, from the dark and moody opening track from Type-0 and the catchy guitar riffs and synth strings from Dissidia 012’s “God in Fire” to several tracks from The World Ends With You including “Revelation” with its ’80s atmosphere mixed with grunge vocals, two versions of “Hybrid” with glitchy grunge and Japanese acoustic takes, and a super-slow reverberating version of “Calling” which is my favorite version of the song yet.
The original tracks are also fantastic, with the haunting vocals of “DOO,” the dancey “MUSIC,” the industrial “Strange days” (my favorite track) with chugging pistons and aggressive layered guitars, the Nirvana-esque “Bubbles” with its weird and memorable lyrics, and several others.
Fans of ’90s alternative rock and grunge should appreciate this album. The arrangements of Ishimoto’s compositions are fantastic, and there’s lots to love from the originals as well. Stephanie is a very effective vocalist with a lot of range, and should provide adequate entertainment throughout.
Pick the album up at CD Japan if you’re interested.