12 Songs, 53 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

Elranzer ,

Best Arranged Album on iTunes

Final Fantasy VIII had a nearly flawless soundtrack to begin with, and this CD takes ten of those tracks and perfects them beyond perfection. There are three filler tracks on the CD that were already orchestrated since they were FMV sounds, but the remaining nine tracks (Track #4 contains two songs) make the CD worth purchasing. Probably the most impressive feat of the soundtrack is The Man with the Machine Gun, Laguna's battle theme. Countless remixes of this song tried and failed all over the music scene... this is the only remix that actually works for this particular theme. The surprising hit of the soundtrack is Fisherman's Horizen. You'll probably find yourself listening to that track repeatedly the most. This arranged album is the second best of the Final Fantasy series, seconded to Final Fantasy VI: Grand Finale (which, unfortunately, is not available on iTunes at the time of this writing).

Makosuke ,

Marvelous (but sadly edited) Arranged Soundtrack

This is another fine arranged album from Uematsu. Unlike most of his earlier arranged Final Fantasy albums, which use the original compositions as starting points for experimentation with various musical styles (Celtic in FF IV: Celtic Moon, sort of Nordic worldbeat in FF V: Dear Friends), this album presents straighforward enriched versions of the OST originals.

This allows for less creative variety, and seems almost superfluous since thanks to technology many of the original pieces didn't have much of a synthesized sound and at least two of the pices featured here were already orcestrated. Still, the OST has plenty of variety and meat all its own, and the richness and subtle depth that is added by the new orchestration and acoustic insturments make it all the more enjoyable, and a truly worthwhile Final Fantasy album.

Standouts for me include:
*The Oath, which benefits hugely from the additional orchestral swell to go from a mearly appealing piece to cinematic grandeur.
*Dance with the Balamb-fish, a fun traditional dance tune that is nearly identical to the OST presentation but benefits from the subtle richness added by an actual orchestra here.
*Fragments of Memories, which sees the biggest changes--the OST version was a touching little music box-esque piece that here is presented in a much broader orchestral rendition full of melancholy strings.
*Blue Fields, the "overworld" music--though the original didn't quite capture the wanderlust of some earlier Final Fantasy overworld themes (worth noting that up through FF VII they were considered the main theme of the game), it is still an affecting piece that is improved here by the richer presentation.
*Finally, Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec, though it included choral parts in the original, is given a proper orcestral backing here, and though this rendition tones down the drums for slightly less punch than the original, it adds a level of eerieness that I enjoyed.

Liberi Fatali and the Ending Theme are of course beautiful, but they are identical to the already-orchestrated versions on the OST, so while nice to round out the picture, they're nothing new.

However... what isn't reflected in the official iTMS description is that the standard vocal version of Eyes on Me *isnt'* included in the iTMS version at all (nor is it in the OST), and even more annoying, its appearance in the middle of the Ending Theme was hacked out leaving a painful gap where the transition should have been (again, identical to the iTMS OST version). The acoustic version here is intact, so I assume it was some licencing issue with Faye Wong, but it's a real tragedy that this couldn't have been worked out.

This sadly abridged version is still full of good stuff, and it's so much cheaper than an import CD that it's still a worthwhile purchase, but the lack of Eyes on Me and the awkwardly edited Ending Theme are a real disappointment.

invalidname ,

Fine but for one dreadful edit

For the FF completist only, this collection has arranged versions of FF8 melodies, from bucolic "field" songs to rousing battle themes. "Liberali Fatali" and "Ending Theme" were arranged on the OST and are thus somewhat superfluous here. Biggest problem is a misguided edit to remove "Eyes on Me" (licensing problem?) from the middle of "Ending Theme" - the thematic progression is ruined. It would have been better to simply pick up from the FF1 theme and re-cast this track as a "Staff Roll'.

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