Honestly, I'm of them mindset that had Chrono Trigger not had such a fitting soundtrack, it wouldn't be nearly as fondly remembered. I'm not saying it's just a good soundtrack -- it's a great soundtrack of course, don't get me wrong -- but it's more than that. Mitsuda's compositions for that game served as some sort of cohesive element, creating an ambiance, tying the world and story and characters and everything in the setting to it, and most importantly, providing a way for players to really latch onto the game.
Agreed. Too bad it was the only great soundtrack Mitsuda ever wrote, everything after that was down hill... and I mean DOWN.
But I agree, Sakimoto's work is incredibly vague. It fits much more closely to the kinds of stuff you hear from wRPGs. I was listening to the Fallout 3 soundtrack (which is rarely heard because I usually play with GNR Radio on) and it's actually quite good in context of the mood, but it is very bland on its own. FFXIIs music was similar in that it's completely forgetable, but works "okay" in context of the game.
This is why I'm thrilled that Hamouzu is doing the ST for FF13. Honestly, Uematsu was not at his best in FFX, and most of my favorite tracks in that game come from Hamouzu... things like "Assault/Attack" (the music you hear while fighting on top of Sin), one of my absolute favorite pieces in the series. The early trailer music for FF13 was in the same vain and I really was really buzzing. The newer trailers aren't quite as interesting, being more in the vain of Uematsu's dark choir work, which I've never really cared for... but I'm guessing that they're just hiring him to do the main theme and that's all.
I never thought I'd say this, but I've not really been all that fond of Uematsu's work since FF9, he seems too bogged down in orchestral and choral soundtracks when I think he's really in his element with rock. Why I love The Black Mages so much, I guess. I love classical music, but the kind of stuff I hear from him and other VG composers I'm not really that interested in. Sakuraba probably being the soul exception.