Out of all the Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy VII is the one that arguably has the most iconic number of melodies and individual tracks. From the opening pulsating pianos in “Bombing Mission” through to the menacing and intimidating final boss theme of “One Winged Angel”, FF7’s music is as much a part of the success of that game as the gameplay itself. With a mini-soundtrack released prior to release giving a taster of what’s to come, the official release of this mammoth 8 disk soundtrack dropped today and brings with it a lavish box-set, hefty price-tag and 8 disks of music. But is it worth its weight in gold?
The disk themselves follow a consistent musical journey as you progress through the game and each disk does a pretty good job breaking up each chapter of your adventure. Disk 1 encapsulates the opening Mako Reactor runs, including the iconic “Shinra Theme” which keeps the same motif from the original running through, and ending with these opening skirmishes of the game drawing to a close. Disk 2 features a fair few new themes and reworked originals as we follow the next few chapters, including Jessie’s fleshed out backstory and the Whispers invading Seventh Heaven.
Disk 3 is an interesting blending of ideas, as the final Mako Reactor missions pave way for the final 15 minutes that act as a proverbial deep breath, as you meet Aerith and her familiar theme song plays through. “Hollow Skies” will be familiar to anyone who played through the game, with its relaxing guitar strums and acting as the backdrop for much of the busywork and side quests emanating in this portion of the game.
Disk 4 is all about Wall Market, with numerous synth-driven and fast-paced tracks that utilize a much wider medley of influences including Jazz, EDM and house to match the array of influences in this neon-lit city. Disk 5 picks the pace back up again as you work your way through the train graveyard and ends with the battle atop the pillar while disk 6 is all about the assault on Shinra Headquarters.
Disk 7 sees those back-to-back boss fight themes playing out before ending things with a vocal rendition of the track teased earlier, using the same notes seen in “Hollow Skies” for the aptly titled “Hollow”. It’s a good way to end the disk and the final, stripped-back piano for the end-credits, teasing Aerith’s importance in the series ahead, is a nice touch too. The final disk then rounds things off with a collection of iconic songs collected through the game and played on the jukebox.
There’s certainly a lot of music to sift through and there’s a great array of tracks both old and new to sink into. The consistent themes between each disk is a really nice touch and there’s a clear musical journey here, with lots of upbeat and orchestral tracks countered by slower, more methodically paced songs. Some of the new songs don’t always hit their mark, in particular “Lay Down Some Rubber – Let’s Ride” which awkwardly combines the familiar synth from the original soundtrack for the motorcycle chase with heavy rock and this feels more jarring than it should.
Alongside that are a fair few themes that have been reworked multiple times through this soundtrack, some that work really well and others that don’t. The Turk theme inside Shinra feels way too minimalistic compared to its more epic counterpart in disk 3 while “Aerith and Marlene – A Familiar Flower” on disk 5 uses both violins and piano notes to accentuate the main motif for Aerith and it dilutes the impact the simpler theme has.
Having said that though, there’s a fair amount to like here and a lot of the tracks have the right balance between old and new. Much like the game itself, there are numerous bursts of nostalgia throughout the soundtrack and the enhanced versions of the Mako Reactor, Bombing Mission, Wall Market themes and J-E-N-O-V-A are excellent inclusions and really help to give some gravitas to the soundtrack, utilizing the numerous musical channels on offer compared to the original MIDI versions all those years ago.
The Collector’s edition has some lovely artwork and for big fans of the Remake, this is a quintessential purchase. The eyebrow-raising cost may put some people off but die-hard fans will certainly lap this up. As someone who owns a fair few of the Final fantasy soundtracks on CD format, this is a wonderful collection, albeit one that’s perhaps a little overpriced. There’s a lot to like though and given the many iconic themes that are still to come through the game hours ahead, I have no doubt that composer Nobuo Uematsu and his team will match expectations with that too.
Published: 27 May 2020 at 12:35pm on