Matt recommends: Final Fantasy X OST

In a new column that I just randomly created 7 seconds ago (and one that I’ll probably never return to), I am going to recommend a video game OST that you should listen to, either by purchasing said OST or… you know, “buying it on the Internet,” whatever that means.

So, for my first one evar, I’m going to suggest Squeenix’s Final Fantasy X. Most of you probably had your toes curl the moment you read that last sentence, but hear me out. I know it can’t come close to either Final Fantasy VI or VII’s soundtrack (which is debatable, I might add), but the musical selections that are found in the FFX OST are still some of the best songs you can find in the gaming industry.

The funny thing about FFX’s album is that it may be Nobuo Uematsu’s worst collection, depending on who you talk to. Apparently he was so swamped with FFIX’s music that he needed to bring in two other composers to help him out, Junya Nakano and Masashi Hamauzu.

But amazingly, after going to SoundtrackCentral and finding out who worked on what, it seems to me Nobuo Uematsu did a fantastic job on FFX. Songs like Calm Before the Storm, Zanarkand, Sprouting, and Way of Purgation are some of the best songs on display here, and easily some of the best songs I’ve ever listened to. The criticisms found on the Internets seem to be unfounded when Uematsu created the splendor that is Calm Before the Storm.

But that isn’t to say the other composers were slacking off, either. Nakano did the awesome and bustling Luca, while Hamauzu knocked our socks off with The Splendid Performance, as well as a few others. Basically, all composers were pulling their weight with this album.

And surprisingly, the entire selection is still very cohesive. The moment you listen to any of the songs, you know it’s from Final Fantasy X. And I love the feel of the entire album, which was created from the various instruments that they chose for the album. I am not wise in the ways of the instrument, so I’m not going to fathom a guess as to which ones they used, but they definitely chose right.

In a way, they conveyed the feeling of the gameplay into the music with X. With the tenth edition of the Final Fantasy series, Square went with a non-ATB battle system, whereby giving the player an infinite amount of time to decide what move to do next. It was the most laid-back battle system in a Final Fantasy game at the time, and I would say the most enjoyable, as well. You could manage what was going on much easier, advancing through the game at a much smoother pace. At least for me, anyway. I’m sure you diehard RPG nuts hated it.

As you played the game, the laid-back feeling you got from the gameplay was conveyed through the music, making the whole experience slow down for the most part. Just listen to Besaid Island and you’ll see what I mean. The journey through Spira wasn’t going over 20 mph, and for the most part, it helped flesh out the game’s universe more. Hey, we didn’t put Spira on our Top Settings List for nothing.

But just like every game, not every song is a winner. Games have to advance the plot, and some of the songs that play in pivotal plot points are not that enjoyable, but you should already know that by now.

If I had to recommend an OST to you to save someone’s life, I would immediately go to FFX. The vast amount of awesomeness that is flowing within this OST’s veins is something that no one should miss out on. Highly recommended.

And in my most scientific-sounding voice, I have this last thing to say: “I think you should buy this album. It’s just really, really good.”

[Warning: pic is from the US OST, not the Japanese one. The JP one has 4 discs with all the songs, while the US one had only one disc. Lucky bastards…]

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16 years ago

Matt you know I love ya, but we definitely have different opinions on what constitutes a good game OST. Also, the best FF song ever is “battle with a boss” or “battle 2 or whatever the hell it is called from FF4. you know, got the bitchin’ intro bassline and all.

16 years ago

I don’t own the OST, but from playing the game extensively I’ll say that I find it one of the better FF soundtracks period. It is a mostly calm blend of tunes that both blends and clashes with Spira, and it is honest to goodness music rather than a flurry of MIDI. I also feel Uematsu steers away from his sometimes heavy use of epic orchestra/rock tunes in favor of some more balance.