Final Fantasy XI -Rise of the Zilart- Original Soundtrack

Final Fantasy XI -Rise of the Zilart- Original Soundtrack Album Title:
Final Fantasy XI -Rise of the Zilart- Original Soundtrack
Record Label:
DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (2nd Edition)
Catalog No.:
SSCX-10093; SQEX-10034
Release Date:
May 21, 2003; October 23, 2004
Buy at CDJapan


With the Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack being largely a success, and with the game itself continuing to progress, add-on soundtracks were always on the cards. The first add-on was entitled Final Fantasy XI Rise of the Zilart, and Naoshi Mizuta was given license to express himself more freely in its Original Soundtrack, with Square Enix deciding not enlist the services of Nobuo Uematsu and Kumi Tanioka to assist him. Whether or not this was a good move on their part will be discussed throughout this review. Many people were critical of Mizuta for his work on the first soundtrack because his composition was so variable. Sometimes his composition would be sublime, yet it would be damn near awful at others. Unfortunately, this is just something that comes part and parcel with Mizuta, and you have to weigh the good with the bad.


The first piece on this album is one of Mizuta’s better pieces. It is a piece of music that accompanies a colloquial coastal village called “Kazham,” which is buzzing with life, and I think he captures this very well. The instrumentation is selected with precision, and everything about the piece just seems to work, from the ostinato, to the main melody. There is also enough diversity in the chord changes and melody to keep the ostinato flowing, even though it continues throughout the whole piece. This recipe seems to be used a lot of tracks to follow, but it doesn’t always turn out as favourable.

The next piece on the album, “Yuhtunga Jungle,” is more down to interpretation though. Mizuta sticks with the ongoing ostinato, but this time he uses a more ethnic feel to suit the setting of a jungle. Most of the instrumentation is fine, but I feel the main melody might have sounded better if they were on a stronger sounding instrument. The ostinato does appear to drag on though, and the inclusion of different sections unfortunately doesn’t always help to overshadow its repetitive nature.

Having said that, I feel that Mizuta does well considering the scenarios he has to work with. The majority of the situation pieces that he has composed suit the area that they are intended for. Yes, pieces like “Raboa,” “Altepa Desert,” and “Tu’Lia” might not sound all that fantastic on their own, but in context to the game, the music plays in relatively mundane boring places. “Ro’Maeve” and “Ve’Lugannon Palace,” in particular, are very serene places, and a brash piece of music would have been way off key for both of these places. Much the same also applies to “Grav’iton,” which uses an refreshing ostinato like many of Mizuta’s works, with some nice melodic tones to keep the listening experience pleasurable.

The rest of the soundtrack mainly focuses on specific events, with the inclusion of new battle music for different situations. “Battle Theme #3” continues on the same trends that Mizuta set when he composed the battle music originally, but “Battle in the Dungeon #3” seems a bit more upbeat than previous instalments of a similar format. “Tough Battle #2,” however, seems more experimental, and I am not all that convinced by how it has been composed. Usually Mizuta is praised for his good selection of instruments, but in this case I feel that he could have done better. The ostinato just seems out of place when put in context to the rest of the piece, and I feel he could have done much more with it. Overall, it is not a very impressive piece.

There are a few pieces of music that accompany cinematic events and they actually perform quite well. “Fighters of the Crystal” does generally create a sense of panic, which is its intention and “Eald’narche” certainly does depict a lot of uncertainty, which is perfect for the representation of this character. A mention should also be made for the reprise of the Chocobo theme in “Dash of Chocobo,” which makes an appearance on this album in a nice new acoustic guitar-led form, which includes much more of a rhythmic quality than previously seen.


Mizuta actually performs quite well for this soundtrack, with “The Sanctuary of Zi’Tah” being a particularly notable blessing in disguise. The majority of the music that he composed does the job it was intended to do, but sometimes this isn’t always enough when producing a mainstream video game music soundtrack. I feel that Mizuta used an ostinato far too much, with the majority of his pieces focusing on one. Ironically, when he didn’t use one, he produced the best track on the album, so perhaps there is a lesson to be learnt there. The absence of Tanioka and Uematsu certainly made the album less diverse, but it remains more than satisfying without them.

Final Fantasy XI -Rise of the Zilart- Original Soundtrack Jared Smith

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Jared Smith. Last modified on August 1, 2012.

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