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LONG BLOG

The Music Game Volume #1: Final Fantasy X

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Welcome to The Music Game, my rather uncreatively titled once a week segment on memorable games music. Requests for what games you'd like to see my tackle next are welcome in the comments below, any request will be added to my list. Unfortunately, I know very little about music outside of what I can hear and the feelings I associate with various songs. This will not be a professional analysis of the video game music genre as a whole, more of a look at the various memorable songs that have swung our way over the years.



Final Fantasy X was a landmark game for the series in several ways. It was Square's first foray into sixth-generation consoles, it was the first Final Fantasy to inspire a direct sequel, and it was the last Final Fantasy that Nobou Uematsu would work on before leaving Square and working freelance. Join me as I try very, very hard to forget that Final Fantasy X is mostly loved by thirteen year old girls. *blech*

Final Fantasy X is one of my favorite games in the whole of the series, thanks in no small part to the fantastic soundtrack. Composed in equal parts by Nobuo Uematsu and Masashi Hamauzu, with several tracks composed by Junya Nakano, it's a diverse soundtrack with an organic sound intermixed with the techno-beats Final Fantasy VII popularized.

Uematsu is definitely the most prominent composer on this soundtrack, churning out the battle theme, boss themes, and other standard Final Fantasy fair, as well as the memorable title track "To Zanarkand" and various character themes. As with all of Uematsu's Final Fantasy compositions, it has a very distinct sound that gamers have come to associate with Final Fantasy, while still holding true to the tone of the game.

The first set of songs I'd like to point you towards are the various "Hymn of the Fayth" compositions. Each Aeon has his or her own hymn, while these are accompanied by several event specific hymns. Each hymn gave me the impression of something divine; while the underlying sense of hope in the face of eternal despair of that pervades Spira remains present. After hearing these various themes throughout the course of Final Fantasy X, it was made all the more disconcerting to hear Yunalesca's hymn. The distorted vocals gave it a sinister feel, and made me question the goal I had been striving for through the course of the game.

Hymn of the Fayth


Though the end-game of Final Fantasy X can turn into a grinding nightmare if you allow it, the main battle theme was enough to keep my grinding heart going. The use of what synthesized trumpets alongside the underlying piano relaxed me and helped to soften the overwhelming grind the game had become. The other battle themes present are just as enjoyable, with "Fight With Seymour" standing out as my absolute favorite boss theme in any Final Fantasy. I should point out that Enemy Attack was not composed by Uematsu, it was instead composed by Junya Nakano. Final Battle was also not Uematsu's work, it was instead the composed by Masashi Hamauzu.

Battle Theme


Enemy Attack


Challenge


Fight With Seymour


Final Battle


Moving on, we have the various themes of Final Fantasy X, and standing at the forefront, "To Zanarkand". It is a very simple track featuring only a piano. It does its job of setting a tone for the rest of the game well, showing the player the overwhelming sadness that surrounds the entirety of Final Fantasy X and Spira. Also showcased here are the various character specific themes, of which my favorites are Auron's, Seymour's, and Yuna's.

To Zanarkand


Yuna's Theme


Auron's Theme


Seymour's Theme


I'll finish off with what's left, various environmental themes and event-specific tracks. Each is well suited to its respective area or event, with "Suteki Da Ne'?, "Assault", "The Splendid Performance", and "The Unsent Laugh" stealing the show. It's in these individual moments that the strength of FFX's soundtrack really comes through, banking on its diversity and inherent charm.

Spira Unplugged


The Sending


The Splendid Performance


Peril


Assault


Suteki Da Ne?


The Truth Revealed


The Unsent Laugh



The Final Fantasy X soundtrack resonated with me in several ways, especially after reading this wonderful article local Dtoider Altered Beets wrote on how FFX is a jungian masterpiece. As a player, the soundtrack instilled in me a sense of adventure, mystery, and hope. It's unfortunate that so many gamers write it off as Square milking the Final Fantasy cow dry, and I should hope that if you've been on the fence about playing it, that the music you've heard here will inspire you to give it the fair shot it deserves.

For those of you who have waited so patiently, here's a video to cool your burning eyes.

To Zanarkand + Intro
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About Krowone of us since 6:05 PM on 08.15.2008



Favorite games:
Breath of Fire III
Breath of Fire IV
Chrono Trigger
Chrono Cross
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Final Fantasy series
Gradius III
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Mega Man series
Mega Man Legends
Mega Man Legends 2
Mega Man X series
No More Heroes
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Paper Mario
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
Persona 3
Persona 4
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star IV
Pikmin II
Pokemon Gold
R-Type III
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
An assortment of other games I'm forgetting

I'm an aspiring writer, musician, and artist. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm very talented in any of those fields, but that won't stop me from throwing the titles around. I'm presently a high school graduate who has no idea what he wants to do with his life.

Contact me. I'm bored.

AIM: clumsybigfoot
MSN: [email protected]
Gtalk: [email protected]

(Last Updated Saturday October 2nd, 2010)
Xbox LIVE:Clumsybigfoot
PSN ID:Clumzibigfoot
Steam ID:clumzibigfoot


 

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