SaGa 3 The Ruler of Time and Space Shadow or Light OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: SQEX-10221
Released On: January 12, 2011
Composed By: Kenji Ito, Ryuji Sasai, Chihiro Fujioka, Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged By: Kenji Ito, Ryuji Sasai
Published By: Square Enix
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD

01 - To a Shining Future
02 - Opening
03 - Fight!
04 - Eat the meat
05 - Oasis
06 - Setting Off Into the Future
07 - Holy Ruins
08 - Stronghold
09 - Pile-up Stack
10 - Dungeon
11 - Dark Zone
12 - Deep
13 - Insanity
14 - Hold Out
15 - Village in a Strange Land
16 - Theme of Another Dimension
17 - Gods of Another Dimension
18 - Warriors' Rest
19 - Hold Your Tears
20 - Steslos
21 - Laguna's Palace
22 - Divine Battle
23 - True Divine Battle
24 - The Ruler of Time and Space
25 - A Gap in Space-Time
26 - Window of Opportunity
-Bonus Track-
27 - Opening Arrange
Total Time:

It's another letdown, but at least I knew what to expect this time.

Square Enix decided to remake classic Game Boy titles SaGa 2 and 3 (known in the US as FF Legend 2 and 3) on Nintendo DS. I had extremely high hopes for the SaGa 2 DS soundtrack, but it was a true letdown. It's amazing that 3-channel hardware-generated "chip" music can present more dynamic variation and subtlety than a MIDI-controlled synth, but if you voice things all wrong with said MIDI, that's what you get.

And that's what we get again with SaGa 3. Even with a second composer who came back to re-arrange his own work (Ryuji Sasai, not just Kenji Ito), the quality of the music hasn't much changed.

There are a few tracks that did impress me, though. The arranged opening is a straight-up hard rock track, and it's really strong. Some of the other tracks at the end, which seem to be new compositions, are pretty enjoyable too. But the rest? Not very exciting. The Game Boy originals trump these new versions 80% of the time. I'm sure it services the remake fine, but it's not an interesting thing to listen to outside the game's context. And that's really too bad. Less synth, and more "true" arrangement (with live instruments, added beats, etc) would have helped this soundtrack go a long way. If every track had been in the vein of the final track, it may have been too homogenous, but even that would be an improvement over what we have here.

On second thought, this is still better than SaGa 2 DS. But only by a bit. I'm still not exactly pleased, but compared to SaGa 2 DS, I guess I can stomach this. I much prefer the original Game Boy audio, though. And the few peers I have that listened to this album have all agreed with me. Square Enix, please try to do better with these remake soundtracks in the future!

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann


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