The five greatest Final Fantasy soundtracks

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?

Final Fantasy X

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…

Above: …and the punishing metal of "Otherworld." It’s a little silly, but it managed to become one of the most known tracks

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

Final Fantasy VII

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


  • Conman93 - March 4, 2010 10:11 p.m.

    I love the ff7 boss music, and now I I love the ff4 boss music
  • Corsair89 - March 4, 2010 10:23 p.m.

    Terra's theme always reminded me a bit of Zelda and the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
  • kduff51 - March 4, 2010 10:50 p.m.

    Terra's theme is just so damn good
  • infestedandy - March 4, 2010 11:16 p.m.

    An excellent assortment Brett! I knew you were going to do this list. There is a ton of amazing tracks from all the games and you encompassed a lot of the best. The FFIV boss music is insanely good and Terra's theme from VI is just downright enthralling. BUT you simply cannot forget the epic track from FFX called Spiran Scenery. Also don't forget that Nobuo Uematsu created the band The Black Mages who go around performing Final Fantasy music rock-style. YouTube songs like Matoya's Cave, The Extreme and The Decisive Battle. You'll thank me.
  • Cyberninja - March 4, 2010 11:18 p.m.

    great stuff
  • Curtis_Stone - March 4, 2010 11:33 p.m.

    I KNEW FF III/VI would be number one, why?! One Word: "Terra." I don't know ONE person that hasn't heard that song and loved it...
  • Levy - March 4, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    Brett made a music article. If it was anyone else, I would slap GR staff. Great job!
  • TheHalfanese - March 5, 2010 12:24 a.m.

    The Advent Children versions of the FFVII music is seriously epic, especially One Winged Angel. Should of put those up!
  • rtotheb - March 5, 2010 12:29 a.m.

    Do you guys remember the Talkradar episode when Tyler was talking about looking for an apartment, and he met a cult or something, and they played some of the music that the leader had made? The Otherworld track, to me, sounds kind of like that music.
  • jimmeroo - March 5, 2010 12:55 a.m.

    i know ffviii doesn't have the best soundtrack, but it should get honorable mention for "eyes on me" alone
  • Sargasm - March 5, 2010 1:14 a.m.

    I'm loving all the FF articles this week. Looks like I'l be replaying FFIV again.
  • ThatsWhatSheSaid - March 5, 2010 1:32 a.m.

    FFIX gets the nod from me, followed by IV then VI, funnily enough thats the order of my fav top 3, its funny also while X has a great soundtrack i dont remember a single tune from 12 at all, i fear for 13 a bit, the soundtracks lost a bit of something, dunno what, from 12 on ...
  • Genericide - March 5, 2010 2:04 a.m.

    Wow, I forgot I had an account here. I haven't logged on since I supported talkradar 50. I don't do comments much, but something's been really bothering me since this week started. I checked and confirmed you did a week of final fantasy back in 2007. The annoying part, however, seems to be that the features are the exact same lists with more or less the same entries. Sometimes even the descriptions are copy-pasted. I can only assume at this point this was intentional. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind if you repost old features so they're more timely and I agree with you on most of the lists anyway (although I didn't like ff4 as much as brelston) but I think it was an odd decision to do things this way.
  • Amnesiac - March 5, 2010 2:19 a.m.

    So, FFVIII is my favorite FF soundtrack. Yeah.
  • ChristianityMakesMyTummyHurt - March 5, 2010 2:21 a.m.

    Damn fine selection of tracks but the exclusion of The Decisive Battle from VI made me a sad panda.
  • AnonymouZ - March 5, 2010 2:21 a.m.

    the song for the last battle on X (well, the one where you fight the dad, no the other 2 that come after him) was some heavy awesome shit. it justifies my liking rpgs and early slipknot music. xD but the only reason i was interested in the ff's was the intro to ff8. the music, along with the (back then) awesome graphics and very well done editing... it was just the meaning of EPIC when i was a kid. i would still get pumped if i watched it HD on youtube. good shit... now this... this is the more refined tastes and what not of the soundtracks, so i'll shut my peasant face about my opinion on them
  • netlatnu - March 5, 2010 2:26 a.m.

    Come on! You don't have to love FFVIII as a game to acknowledge that it has one of the best soundtracks of all time.
  • Harmonator - March 5, 2010 3:03 a.m.

    you know... if spin-offs were allowed, then I would cast my vote for Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles for the Gamecube. @_@ That music was PHENOMENAL...
  • Kenzo - March 5, 2010 4:34 a.m.

    i was waiting for this article, I love FF's music
  • drunation - March 5, 2010 4:56 a.m.

    oh wow Bret, great article. I always love the music you show us. Keep it up.

Showing 1-20 of 45 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000


Connect with Facebook

Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.