During the past three days we’ve declared the greatest Final Fantasy game of all, hand-picked the franchise’s best heroes and jeered at its mightiest villains. Today, we’re digging a bit deeper into the series and acknowledging the nearly unsung greatness of their rich, moving soundtracks.
Above: Final Fantasy OSTs – serious business
Each game in the series features an astonishing number of quality tracks, from burning guitar rock to tear-jerking ballad to rave-friendly electronica. There's probably no other game series in the world that's had as many real-world concerts in its honor, be they garage bands cranking out angsty riffs or a legitimate orchestra performing for a crowd of thousands. But which are the best?
Though it can be uneven, Final Fantasy X's soundtrack marks a number of important innovations for the series and offers some of its best listening. For the first time, series composer Nobuo Uematsu (who composed the vast majority of this list) was joined by other Square Enix musical talent. Despite not being in charge, he still managed to contribute two of its most memorable tracks:
Above: The haunting piano melody of "To Zanarkand," which plays when you first load game…
With a wide range of styles and, in contrast to the earlier PlayStation efforts, excellent sound quality, it's a truly enjoyable soundtrack that evokes the complex moods the game requires - most notably with the melancholy vocal track, "Suteki da ne."
Above: Apparently the power of love enables you to breathe underwater
For a game that redefined role-playing - maybe even the whole world of games - it's sure got some crap-sounding music. Hear us out - the only reason this isn't eclipsing the next game on the list is due to its horrible, horrible sound quality. The arrangements and melodies are top-notch, but everything sounds like it's been through multiple recordings and pumped through a hollow oil drum. Once you get past the tinny audio, you've got a real winner on your hands:
Above: Eerie-rave “Jenova” is a solid battle track
Above: “Cosmo Canyon” leaps to the opposite end of the spectrum with its tribal strings
As Jenova already displayed, FFVII has some powerful scrappin’ music. Even with shoddy sound, "Again the People Fight" sounds hot and, of course, "One Winged Angel" makes most other game music sound childish by comparison.
Above: Outrageously appropriate final battle music, and one of the most remixed and requested game songs of all time