Final Fantasy Explorers Original Soundtrack
Final Fantasy Explorers Original Soundtrack
Square Enix Music
December 17, 2014
Buy at CDJapan
Final Fantasy Explorers is a spin-off in the Final Fantasy series for 3DS, with an original score by written by Tsuyoshi Sekito. Although he has performed before for other Final Fantasy titles such as for the Crystal Chronicles series and the Final Fantasy XIII series, even composing a bit for A Realm Reborn, this is Sekito’s first full score for the franchise. Here Sekito provides a solid, well-produced score that is great at setting the tone in the game and giving it plenty of energy.
The soundtrack begins with the main theme “Explorers”, a rousing opening with swirling strings, strong brass, and militaristic percussion. Despite not having a real orchestra, the sound is pretty strong and dynamic, and the track feels big. This sound carries in the first few tracks of the album. “Time of Departure” fits a lot into its short runtime, starting with a fresh variation on the classic Final Fantasy “Prelude”, then a change of pace, the addition of a dance beat, then even an electric guitar before rather abruptly finishing. It all comes together in a tight and very entertaining package. “Living Ruins”, “Rainbow Skies”, and “Wind of Hope” are grandiose yet charming themes with playful sides to them that give the adventure its sense of scale and a dose of fun. “On the Path of Predecessors” is a great track that begins rather quietly and intimately before expanding on its sound as the track moves on with a nice sweeping feeling, while also carrying with it a sense of history.
Sekito excels particularly with the more emotional atmospheres, like the sombre “Vast Ends of the Earth” with its heavy strings and solemn bells reminiscent of some older Final Fantasy tracks. Then there is the mysterious and ominous “Between Dimensions” with a dash of electronic elements which help capture an eerie, alien feeling. The melodies of these tracks aren’t always stand-out, but elements like the mischievous oboe and plucked strings of “Suspicious Ground” and the lonely harp in the meditative “Fluctuations in the Clear Stream” make the tracks memorable enough. “Fluctuations in the Clear Stream” in particular I consider to be one of the highlights of the album, with an interesting composition surrounding the harp’s largely repetitious lines.
In the middle of the album we face the many battle tracks, along with others that have high energy and big sound. “Advance of the Brave” introduces this rock-orchestra segment of the album with an all-out track, even including choral elements in the mix. The beginning is fairly oppressive and dark, but the song morphs into a more victorious atmosphere in its latter half, which is a nice change-up. Some other notable tracks include “Flame Giant” with its heavy atmosphere, swirling strings, and a great little harpsichord insertion. “Awakening of the Phoenix” makes its mark with a dark organ opening, and “Heavenly Gods” has some oriental instruments to add some flavour to the standard rock orchestra proceedings. “Demiurge of Destruction” and “Magical Beast of the Wind” tone things down a bit to make room for folk and western influences, and I especially like the former with its solo guitar throughout. Most of the other tracks are decent with strong atmosphere, but perhaps are a bit too similar in style and without strong melodies to really stand out.
The closing tracks of the album begin with “Last Promise”, which include within it a quicker rendition of the “Explorers” theme. It’s an upbeat piece that benefits from passing the melody through various instruments while also building up its sound as it goes. Things hit an emotional peak in “Neverending Journey”, which is also the lengthiest piece on the album. After a dramatic introduction (with another loose usage of “Prelude”, which I quite like for not being too overt) the “Explorers” theme is repeated, then expanded upon in slower, more emotional renditions. Things become quite tender when the guitar takes lead on the solo, and then the track shifts to a more atmospheric and mysterious closing. Easily one of the album highlights. The other tracks here are bit too short to really make an impact, with “Willpower of the Crystal” and “Willpower of the Gods” both arranging the closing segment of “Neverending Journey” in similar styles (essentially identical in “Gods”), “Grand Fanfare” being the typical Final Fantasy victory theme, and “Brown Ghost” as the last short and dramatic track of the album.
The album includes nine bonus battle tracks from across the Final Fantasy series, albeit in 50 second shortened versions. There is no arranging here; the tracks are simply the originals cut short. They’re a nice inclusion for anyone who doesn’t already have theme, but they by no means constitute a reason to buy the album.
Final Fantasy Explorers is a fine score by Tsuyoshi Sekito, with a strong epic sound and a rousing atmosphere fit for an adventure. Although it is all synthetic, the tracks sound pretty great for the most part whether they are orchestral or a mix of orchestra and rock. The melodies are not always grabbing, and a large part of the album may sound a tad homogenous, but Sekito does a good job of crafting atmospheres, and throws in a few fun influences into the album. It may not do too much for those who didn’t play the game and there isn’t a whole ton of variation within, but otherwise it is a solid soundtrack that does a fine job accompanying its game.
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Posted on September 5, 2015 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on September 6, 2015.