Lord of Vermilion Re:2 Fan Kit
Lord of Vermilion Re:2 Fan Kit
August 9, 2011
Buy at CDJapan
The Lord of Vermilion series has aimed to appeal to mainstream RPG music fans ever since its inception. The original game featured a rock score by Nobuo Uematsu, while the similarly notable Hitoshi Sakimoto took a more symphonic approach for the sequel. To give the series even more popular appeal, the sequel’s new version Lord of Vermilion Re:2 featured crossovers from Square’s RPGs and various fighting franchises. The score for the title featured arranged medleys of music from the Lord of Vermilion, Final Fantasy, SaGa, Mana, and Valkyrie Profile series courtesy of Square Enix’s internal sound team.
The score opens with several orchestral themes created by Hitoshi Sakimoto. The opening theme “Dawn of Vermilion Re:2” blends Nobuo Uematsu’s extensively arranged main theme from the original Lord of Vermilion with Hitoshi Sakimoto’s tastes for fantasy orchestration. Shifting from serene to bombastic moods, the track creates a huge sound and is the ideal introduction for this crossover title. The other tracks are short pieces for the name entry, victory, and game over screens. These tracks present Sakimoto’s main theme for Lord of Vermilion II in conjunction with heroic electric guitar riffs and formidable percussion parts. While the final soundscapes are appealing — if rather too heavy on reverb — the tracks are inevitably too brief to appeal on a stand-alone basis.
The meat of the soundtrack are ten arranged medleys dedicated to Square Enix’s classic scores. Probably the most appealing aspect of these medleys — at least to mainstream gamers — are the way they preserve the melodies and moods of the originals, despite a shift to next-gen samplers. For example, Final Fantasy IV‘s quartet of battle themes sound bigger and bolder than ever thanks to Tsuyoshi Sekito’s rock-orchestral approach, while Yasuhiro Yamanaka’s punchy bass-driven sound nicely complements Kenji Ito’s lyrical battle themes on Romancing SaGa 2. Likewise, Ryo Yamazaki takes care to preserve Secret of Mana‘s more light and eccentric sound while treating favourites like “Flight into the Unknown” and Keiji Kawamori injects a darker progressive rock spirit into Valkyrie Profile‘s “The True Nature of All”.
If there’s one other good thing to say, it’s that the selections are generally delightful — placing the emphasis mostly on the most memorable action themes from classic franchises. Among other inclusions include Final Fantasy IX‘s “Vamo’ Alla Flamenco”, Secret of Mana‘s “Danger”, Valkyrie Profile‘s “Confidence in the Domination”, and even the climactic portion of Final Fantasy VI‘s “Dancing Mad”. The only more recent selections, Square Enix’s MMORPGs Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV are also given tributes; while the latter is still lacking a fanbase, no doubt selections such as “Awakening” and “Fighters of the Crystal” will be popular with those that continue to venture into Vana’diel. Even the classic Chocobo and Moogle themes receive a bow here, courtesy of Mitsuto Suzuki.
All that said, this soundtrack won’t appeal to all. The reasons the medleys are enjoyable is because of the source material, not because of the creativity of the arrangements. With the exception of the Chocobo medley, the arrangers — most of them synthesizer operators originally — essentially treat the originals in an orthodox way and spruce them up with high quality, largely orchestral samplers. There might be the occasional passionate violin lead and inspired guitar solo here and there, but no novel directions or mind-blowing moments. Also note that the medleys are actually multiple individual tracks, each lasting about one or two minutes, that are compiled together with pauses separating them. Thus, the individual items are often underdeveloped — particularly shorter scores like Final Fantasy IV, which are begging for a solos and extra sections — and there are plenty of jarring transitions here.
The Lord of Vermilion Re:2 Fan Kit will be fantastic for those looking for conservative treatments of classic battle themes. However, it is likely to disappoint those that are expecting a true arranged album complete with creative directions and developed pieces. It does feel like Square is trying to get the nostalgic vote here without doing anything new. With Lord of Apocalypse, Square Enix should focus on giving the series a unique identity without relying too much on rehashing melodies from established series or composers to death. Still, the soundtrack for Lord of Vermilion Re:2 Fan Kit still fits the game and should be a decent stroll down memory lane for many.
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Posted on November 28, 2015 by Chris Greening. Last modified on November 29, 2015.