Saturday, 8 October 2011

Lost Odyssey Soundtrack Review

From the moment the main theme begins on the games menu screen, I knew I would fall in love with the Lost Odyssey soundtrack. Not only does the soundtrack carry a rich, cinematic feel, but it is somewhat moving-should I say inspiring at points. For me, the Lost Odyssey soundtrack is one of my favourite game soundtracks (although personally the Zelda soundtracks still hold the top spots). Composed by long-time musician Nobuo Uematsu, Lost Odyssey's soundtrack comprises of a whopping 55 tracks, and surprisingly, all but two are excellent. 

Reviewing all 55 tracks will not only be an epic read for you all, but incredibly tiresome for myself, so join me as I discuss the highlights of this impressive soundtrack. 
The soundtrack begins with "Prologue", the main theme of the game. The song is rather slow paced, but has a miltitaristic feel to it. This militaristic feel is continued in the games following song, "Battlefield", a rousing song that brought to mind rows upon rows of soldiers marching into battle. This theme runs all the way through the next two songs, until we suddenly reach a different feel.

"An Immortal Life", a melancholy track that serves as Kaim's theme. The track is reminiscent of "Prologue", but the pace has been slowed, and the militaristic feel has been replaced. This melancholy mood continues through the next track, "Wohl Highlands", which carries a more laidback feel than the long list of battle themes the album contains.

This slow pace does not last for long though, as the next track, "Battle Conditions" destroys the ambience the previous two tracks had created, in favour for a fast paced, frantic sounding battle track which makes it's debut in one of the games first bosses. For anyone who has listened to Uematsu's soundtracks before, this is much more faithful to his normal sound, and contains the usual arrangement of synths, guitars and drum beats. "Victory" is a track that would be heard constantly throughout the game, as this serves as the victory music for whenever a battle has been won. It's a rousing brass-led song that fades out towards the end into the games main theme. (My geek moment comes in sharing with you the fact that this one is my alarm tone, and rouses me out of bed every morning). 
The next bunch of tracks comprises of a mixture of town/city themes. Each of these themes ranges from melancholic, relaxing to somewhat tense sounding, which helps to add a bit of variety to the proceedings. Each city theme really captures the essence of the city they represent too. For instance, "The Capital of Gohtza" sounds very sinister and cold, which reflects the cities ruler completely. Out of all the city themes, my favourite has got to be "The Capital of Numara", which is perhaps one of the most laidback tracks on the entire album. 

In between the various city themes lies a few journey inspired tracks. "Neverending Journey" is an acoustic and panpiped led track that plays whenever the players next destination is being selected on the world map. The song starts with a definite folky, eastern sound, but the typical Uematsu guitars weave their way into the song by the end, thus changing the sound completely. For the most part it is an interesting song, where the instrumentals really shine above many other songs on the album. "The White Mother Ship" (a personal favourite), plays during the sea exploration sections. It has a real heroic feel, but also holds the laidback feel that many of the songs on the Lost Odyssey soundtrack hold. "Yosolo" is another track that plays during the boat driving game play. A particular favourite on the album, this track encapsulates the sense of adventure with a cheerful, pleasant on the ears sound. This one is placed between two other cheerful tracks, which help to break up the sinister vibe of those immediately surrounding them. 
The album often dips back into this military theme that was hinted at from the beginning track, "Prologue." Every few songs a track is dropped in that fits with the war theme, such as "March of War", "The Mystery of the Death Machine" and "A Formidable Enemy Appears!." Whilst these are for the most part enjoyable, I prefer the more laidback tracks, or the songs that vary the album significantly. It is at this point that it is worth mentioning the more bizarre but fun sounding tracks on the album. The first of these being "Kelelon Forest", a goofy child-like track that has a Zelda-esque vibe to it. For those who have played the game and remember encountering the Kelelon's, I am sure you'll agree that the music fits perfectly with their characters. "A Tiny Memory", used frequently during the "A Thousand Years of Dreams" stories again adopts a child-like sound, and is a pleasant, smile-inducing track. 

There are plenty of sinister tracks filling up the album that add to the overall doom and gloom feel of a world struggling through a war. "The Witches Mansion" is the creepiest track on the album, performed souly on what sounds like a honky tonk piano. The plodding pace and careful consideration of the tempo creates a tense and effective piece.
For the most part, the album is fantastic, but there are a few tracks that can be missed on occasions. The first of these being "What You Are" by Sheena Easton. The track may appeal to some, but I found it incredibly cheesy, and, if I am being honest, a little irritating. The same goes for "Kaette Kuru, Kitto", the song which kiddie characters Cooke and Mack sing at one point in the game. Again, this I just found a little too irritating for myself.

So, on the whole, Nobuo Uematsu has created an excellent soundtrack for Lost Odyssey. Whilst fans of his previous work may feel that it brings nothing new to his repertoire, it certainly works for this four disc game. The soundtrack is a perfect blend of battle, character, city/town and situation themes, meaning that it does not suffer from too much repetition. It's a solid score that I find myself enjoying over and over again. 
Above: "Neverending Journey".

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