Apologies for the extremely long wait between posts. I’m sure the thousands of people were checking their RSS feeds constantly every Sunday for some update. I joke. Anyway, there are some reasons for me not really posting at all lately. The first is that I had an exam to study for, so I tried putting blogging on hold for a while. Of course, me being me, I done fuck all studying, so that’s not a valid excuse, but still. It was on my mind at least. I had a few essays and things to do as well, which took up a bit of brain time. The second is that I moved back home for Christmas just at the weekend, which was when I would have posted, but I was shattered, so nah. And, of course, I’ve just had no motivation for writing since Uni broke up for Christmas, which is something of a habit for me. I’ll try get out of it, promise. Actually, I’ll try writing at least two or three posts this week to make up for the absence. Don’t say I ain’t good to you!
Anyway, you might all be wondering what I’m posting about now. My first idea was to follow the trend that everyone else seems to be doing and go down the lines of a ‘2010 review’ post – but I’ll keep that until before New Year. The reason? Well, you never know, something absolutely awesome might just happen between now and then. I could be part of a train robbery. The Shins might play a surprise Scottish concert. I might become a super hero. These are things that could happen, and I’d be quite upset if I didn’t manage to post about them. Of course, there’s the edit button, but that’s not the point. Anyhow, this post I’m doing today came from me listening to my Game OSTs playlist on repeat for about four days straight. It kinda startled me, and this has happened to me a few times, just how amazing and atmospheric the majority of game music actually is. I mean, even if you go as far back as 8 bit chiptunes and the like – it’s quite extraordinary how good some of them are. Now, I promise I’m not gonna turn this into a Uematsu fanpost, because he’s not the only amazing composer of videogame music out there. There are tons more. Originally this was gonna be a list of Final Fantasy games and my favourite and most recommended songs from them, but I think now I’ll change the title and add some other games into the mix. Expect rambling and commas. Enjoy.
1. Final Fantasy VII
When it comes to me and videogame music, Final Fantasy VII is always the first game that comes to mind. Being the first FF game I ever played, it always holds some nostalgic value for me, which is probably one of the many reasons as to why I’m now on save number six on my newer memory card – and there were at least four on my older one. Final Fantasy VII, for me, is my favourite ever game – it mixes such a compelling storyline with great visuals for its time, excellent characters and a fantastic soundtrack. So, asking for a favourite song from this game is such a difficult choice for me to make, because there isn’t a single track on it that I don’t like. However, rather than listing a huge, detailed selection of tracks, I actually think I’m able to choose one that I absolutely adore – and it’s this one.
This song, for me, manages to beat every other FFVII song out there. Which is odd, because there isn’t a bad song on that OST, in my opinion anyway. Yet, this one eclipses them all. It’s just so pretty! It plays on the Gold Saucer date scene, where you end up on a date with either Aerith, Tifa or Barrett (lol), the date being decided on by a mixture of variables tied into character interactions. Most of the time I usually ended up with Aerith, which was nice on its own, I’ve been with Barrett once which was just odd, but as of late, I’ve ended up with Tifa on a number of occasions. For me, this song really brings out the romance between the characters of both Cloud & Tifa – because it is there. It wasn’t apparent to me the very first time I played it (I was unbelievably young at this point though), but the more you look into it, the more you can see it. The main reason I don’t agree much with the Cloud/Aerith relationship is that [spoiler alert] Cloud was living Zack’s life [/spoiler alert] – and it was Zack and Aerith who were together. I’m not gonna get into it much for fear of murder from Clerith fans, and I’ll get back to my point. This song encapsulates what I think is the romance of that entire game – and it’s just such a perfect little song, don’t you think?
2. Silent Hill 2
This is a newer game music entry for me, because I never really batted an eyelid at the OST before. However, Silent Hill 2 contains one of the most atmospheric and chilling soundtracks I’ve ever heard. Each song, even the really scary sounding ones, really sum up what’s going on, and brilliantly complement the setting. And the winner of this game comes to –
They really overkilled the song in the movie, playing it like every five minutes, but I’ve only ever heard it once in SH2. And, when you think of a horror game, a nice little piano number isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Silent Hill is one of the most metaphorical locations in a game, representing some kind of limbo between life and death, in which their own fears are manifested in the disfigured creatures and other weird stuff that goes on throughout the town. Of course, that’s just the psychological aspect of it, and I’m no psychologist, so what I just said may be a load of BS, but that’s what I like to believe. Promise really brings out the atmosphere surrounding the town – the thick fog, the characters, everything. It’s become somewhat stapled as Silent Hill’s theme ever since the movie, which for me is probably true. It’s always fun to walk around on a foggy day with this song on.
3. Final Fantasy XIII
What’s so difficult about choosing a favourite song from this game is that it is so different to other Final Fantasy games. FFXIII saw the complete departure of the ever brilliant Nobuo Uematsu, who’d become something of a master of the RPG soundtrack genre. The problem then, was the fact that now Masashi Hamauzu had a massive amount of pressure on him to create an OST that lived up to the heights of the previous installments. Now, Hamauzu isn’t a bad composer – take a look at the Sigma Harmonics OST and you’ll see why. But his style there doesn’t seem to mesh very well with the somewhat traditional soundtracks of the old FF games. However, for me, he delivers.
This little slice of fried gold seems to do the same thing for me that Promise does in Silent Hill – it perfectly encapsulates the setting and story. This is played when [spoiler alert] Vanille & Fang return to their hometown of Oerba, only to find everything destroyed and crystalline, and it somewhat overrun by Cie’th. [/spoiler alert] Graphically, Oerba is stunning. There’re little particles of crystal all over the place, snow on roofs and an amazing looking sky as the backdrop. And then there’s the sadness that comes with it, that this empty, desolate & beautiful place is the hometown of Fang and Vanille. And this song captures it so well. FFXIII made extensive use of repeating the same phrase of music in a lot of its songs, and, while not necessarily a bad thing, this song was a welcome break from this. Not only this, but the vocal track, something unheard of in previous OSTs, is perfectly fitting. What Hamauzu managed to do was strip down the traditional elements of a Final Fantasy OST and create something new, something unheard of. This is what I think the aim of FFXIII was as a whole, actually, and although many people disliked it, I think it worked perfectly. It is all about moving forward, after all.