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.

I think as has been true for most of these albums in the past, if you’re a fan of the original soundtrack, there should be some cool stuff to find here. I can’t say I’m as intimately familiar with the Lightning Returns OST as I was with the first two Final Fantasy XIII OSTs, but that’s likely because the original soundtrack was more ambient in nature. But I’ll dig in as best I can.

I think electronica fans will enjoy the explosive “High Voltage (Game Ver.),” the dreamy ’80s synth work in “Death Game (Synthesizer Ver.)” (one of my favorites), and the glitchy “The Ark (Soundtrack Exclusive Ver.)” with its tick-tock piano notes and cool atmosphere. The pounding percussion and gritty electronics of “Soul Seeds,” the powerful “Lightning Returns (Aggressive Mix),” and dark and ominous “A Dying World” also hit the spot.

But it’s not all electronics here. “The Captive Saint” surprises with its serene-turned-terrifying progression, while the playful and upbeat multi-part “Sazh and Dajh” also traverses a lot of territory. “Desert Lullaby (Instrumental)” is super dreamy and sleep-inducing, and while the vocals never bothered me, I think I prefer this version. There’s the melancholy “Lost Souls – Caius & Yeul,” the glorious and classy “Serah’s Theme (Piano Ver.),” and a tumultuous theme for Snow. There’s a marching band version of the Final Fantasy theme, a remix of Final Fantasy III’s “Eternal Winds” with English and Japanese vocal versions that don’t do much for me, and lots of kazoo arrangements of classic Final Fantasy tunes. Closing out the selection is a guitar and male vocal version of “A Home Far Away” from Final Fantasy XIII-2, the folksy “Ballad of a Vagabond,” and one of my favorite pieces of music to come out of Lightning Returns, “The Savior’s Words,” with acoustic gutiar and vocals that sound like an ancient lullaby. We get a Japanese version here along with a Christmas version that doesn’t really feel Christmasy, but more so ethereal.

In all, this is a strong PLUS album. There’s a lot of music that stands on its own, which is a criticism I could have raised against some past PLUS albums. Also, the fact that they used track titles instead of file names makes it easier to recall the various tracks featured here. In all, any fan of Lightning Returns will want to pick this up.

Available at: CD Japan

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