Steb get money for colege?
Stephen runs RPGFan Music, and as such, has his hand in everything that happens in the site-within-a-site, along with running Rhythm Encounter. Many of Stephen's fellow RPGFan editors lovingly poke fun at him for being an overly intense fan of all things Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy IX. And while it's all in good fun, it's not completely fair to the man.
He also really likes Xenoblade.
For all intents and purposes, those saying the Final Fantasy series hasn't been in top form recently simply aren't playing Final Fantasy XIV. Sure, it's an MMORPG, but particularly with the release of Heavensward, Naoki Yoshida and his team have been pumping out a numbered entry in the venerable series that's as memorable as many of the best that came before it, whether you choose to play or not.
Nowhere is that more evident than in Masayoshi Soken's phenomenal soundtrack. While his work on A Realm Reborn was nothing to sneeze at, Heavensward sees the composer taking his penchant for beautiful instrumentation and melody making to a whole new level. Several leitmotifs make up the basis of the journey through Ishgard, and hearing them expanded upon and danced around throughout the most poignant and exciting scenes in the adventure is an irreplaceable part of the experience. Whether it's the peaceful, sleepy xylophones in Ishgard's nighttime Foundation themes, or the soaring excitement of the flight songs, Heavensward is one soundtrack audio fans would be absolutely foolish to miss out on.
Have you heard...
After listening this album, you might want every symphony to be a Final Symphony!
I could be considered guilty of anti-hisptering Undertale. So much of the hyperbole around the game lead to me taking my sweet time getting to it, but once I finally did, it was obvious that this earnest, funny, and clever adventure was well worth the time and effort. Between creative use of the medium, a total lack of cynicism, and some of the best-executed sound design and music I've seen in some time, Undertale is the real deal.
Undertale's music is both nostalgic and undeniably modern. It hearkens back to the 8 and 16-bit eras when memorable melodies were king, its chippy backings giving way to electric guitars, pianos, and everything in-between. A core set of character and area motifs catch the player's initial attention, while masterpiece-level manipulation and reincorporation of those themes throughout story beats and boss battles gives them the emotional heft of a Hulk punch. This strong use of the core motifs is so intricate, there's an entire wiki page dedicated to the soundtrack and picking out all the little nods and borrowings in every track. Don't skip this one, or you're gonna have a bad time.
It's easy to forget that this game came out near the beginning of the year (or did it?), doubly so since RPGFan doesn't cover it. And yet, here I am, a dirty cheater, including it in my list anyway. Ori and the Blind Forest, much like the other fantastic albums on my list, makes exacting use of a core set of themes, branching outward as organically as the game world. The gameplay is fantastic and the visuals are a thing to behold, but it was the music that truly captured my imagination throughout this adventure. Few gaming experiences can reach the emotional heights of escaping the Ginso Tree to "Restoring the Light, Facing the Dark," and this is just the first track of many to make use of the game's main theme, "Light of Nibel." Months after playing this game, I can still hear the piano from "Escaping the Ruins" in my head, and it's hard not to feel moved every time I do.