No Spoony Bards Here
The Final Fantasy series of games have been around as long as I’ve been playing video games, and I have been playing them for just as long. The first game in the series was one of my first, if not the first, traditional RPG video game I ever played. I definitely remember it was the first Nintendo Power guide I ever received with my subscription. I have played most of the main series games and plenty of the side story ones. It isn’t my favorite collection of RPGs (that goes to Game Arts’ Lunar series), but I cannot deny its deep attachment to me, from the simple-but-perfect main theme to victory fanfare. Final Fantasy IV (1991) is the first game in the series (and second that US players ever experienced) that truly hooked me from an emotional story point-of-view and proved to me how beautiful the Super Nintendo’s graphics and sound chips were.
When you’re playing 100+ hours of any given game, the music in it is beyond important. This is more so when you’ll be facing thousands of small battles and dozens of boss ones. Of late I’ve been randomly sampling a lot of the more recent games in the series’ music to see what I have missed. See, after FFX (2001) I didn’t play another main stream title until this year, and even said title is already 5 years old (XIII). I adored FFX thoroughly, and is in my top 3 of the entire catalog. The company made an MMORPG for their next iteration, and after that I stopped caring. By the time XII rolled around (2006), I was onto other things.
</digress>, anyway, back to the music. Boss battle music is what I really care about in these games. A song that demands urgency, immediacy, a call to action, etc. You are, figuratively speaking, all in. These three songs are my favorites of the modern era of the series for boss fights. The PS2 games and later gave the audience a much richer and deep orchestral sound than before. Many of these pieces, if you didn’t know they were for a video game, you’d (probably) assume they would not be for a video game. They’re also great when I’m boxing training.
Final Fantasy X: Enemy Attack
Composer – Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu
Brass, cymbals and drums (Taiko?) when combined with the vocal chant give this a haunting feel of impending doom.
Final Fantasy XII: Boss Battle
Composer – Hitoshi Sakimoto
Snare drums and the string section make this feel so grand in scope. More like an actual call to arms piece when the drums begin.
Final Fantasy XIII: Sabre’s Edge
Composer – Masashi Hamauzu
Combines both snare and heavy drum right from the outset *shivers* and combines wonderfully with the piano until the horn section makes itself known. The most complex of the three.
For both curiosity and posterity the following is a list of all the main series games and my opinion of them. The list number denotes the game in the series.
- Played and beat. Bought it for the GBA to remember how much a p.i.t.a. the early games were.
- Played and beat only when released stateside on the GBA. Actual character names!
- Played but never beat on the Nintendo DS. The first game to introduce job classes, which I never get tired of.
- Played and beat on the SNES (also the GBA). Favorite in the series out of sheer nostalgia factor. Also famous for the best localization sentence ever.
- Never played. It was released for the GBA but I never picked it up.
- Played but never beat. I have it for the GBA but only got about 1/3 of the way through. I am beyond familiar with the soundtrack, however.
- Played and beat. The game that made me choose buying a Playstation over SEGA Saturn (console war glory days)
- Played and beat. Wasn’t a big fan of the Draw system, and it turned me off from the series for awhile.
- Never played, mostly because of #8.
- Played and beat. A favorite of mine. Blitzball was a fantastic side game.
- Never played. Machete don’t do MMORPG’s
- Played but never beat. Still unsure how much I like the battle system.
- Playing currently. Aiming to play trilogy.
- See #11