7th Dragon III code: VFD is a mouthful of a title, which matches the massive amount of music present in the game’s soundtrack (two and a half hours!). I enjoyed 7th Dragon III code: VFD — which I shall refer to as 7th Dragon from now on, because I need to finish this review sometime this year — as a competent and comfortable RPG. My opinion on its music is a different story — which is to say, I love it. Yuzo Koshiro and sasakure.UK’s tracks come together to form an entertaining blend of catchy techno and epic orchestral arrangements, leaving us an eclectic OST to enjoy.
The album’s first disc opens up with “A Tale of Men and Dragons (code:VFD Ver.).” That version appended to the end of the track name leads me to believe that this is a track consistent with the 7th Dragon series as a whole. Regardless, it is a perfectly competent opener for the soundtrack, with an equal balance of swelling violin and electronic backing to give you a taste of what’s to come. Immediately after this track is “The Final Story Begins,” a short but sweet dance techno track. The pulsing beat is impossible to not nod your head to, and I would have loved to hear more variation. Instead, the track looks for two minutes, then fades away.
The third track, “Tokyo — The Trials Grow Complex” is a chiptune remix of one of the game’s main themes. This is not the last time you’ll be hearing this theme, and in my opinion, that’s a good thing. Immediately afterwards is the game’s first battle theme, “Battlefield — UE77.” The addition of the first guitar in the soundtrack so far really gives the track impact, and the main melody in the foreground of the track is catchy as well. “Cycle of Assaults” and “Battlefield — Tyrant Predator” both establish their unease and aggression, respectively, but I found both to get a little repetitive, especially the latter track. Afterwards comes my favorite track on the first disc, “Interwoven Work.” As one of the most addictive tracks on the album, I loved every second of it, especially the light-sounding guitar that weaves itself throughout the song. It Is definitely one of the tracks I come back to most often.
After a few more serviceable tracks, we come to “Atlantica — Jade Afterglow.” The melody here is also easy to listen to, and the relaxing nature of the track is a welcome change of pace after the intense feel of the first half of the disc. “Battlefield — Atlantis” has shades of Final Fantasy X layered on top of it with its sparsely laid out opening, and is also one of my favorite battle themes in the soundtrack. More electronic tracks follow from there; some fast-paced, some slow. These lead into “True Dragon — 1st Encount,” a complete shift in pace as far as the soundtrack goes. There’s not a single electronic instrument in sight as this track plays. All of that has been replaced with a classic orchestra. While the change in tone is jarring, I actually enjoyed it — not only for how entertaining and epic the song itself is, but because it establishes the importance of the song as well, in relation to the context of the game’s story.
This leads us to the second disc of the soundtrack, opening with “Kazan — The Future, Buried in Flowers.” This track is mellow throughout, with that same plucky guitar carrying the track and giving it an almost melancholy feel. “Battlefield — Eden” is reminiscent of some of Jet Set Radio’s darker tracks — which is fun, as the game itself is published by SEGA and includes references to Jet Set Radio. “A Place to Return To” is another of the album’s short but sweet tracks, that I wish was composed a little more and didn’t loop into faded obscurity. The next few tracks are another bit of a tonal shift, focusing on pounding orchestra and sorrowful piano in tracks like “Battlefield — Invasion of the 7” and “If this Hand Could Reach.” This leads to a lounge version of “Re:Vanishment,” which is another one of the more entertaining tracks. It’s a bummer it’s not as full an arrangement as “Tokyo — the Trials Grow Complex,” but I’ll take it where I can get it.
A trio of battle themes appear afterwards: “Battlefield — Extreme Predator,” “Battlefield — Hunters,” and “Final Decisive Battle — Grateful Seventh.” Of the three, I enjoyed “Battlefield — Hunters” the most, with its great electronic instrumentation, although the final decisive battle carries itself with an appreciable amount of bombast. That same level of intensity carries through all the way to “VFD — Vicarius Filii Dei” (so that’s what that means!). Some listeners may not appreciate the tonal shift, and I do agree that the tracks themselves don’t make for the most easy listening. But it also makes sense within the context of the game, so it’s hard for me to complain. “ChRøNiClESeVeN” makes its first appearance here, as an uplifting orchestral track. I’m a sucker for “the heroes have overcome the odds to save the world!” tracks, so this song really does something for me. Again, however, the track is too short! Let me bond with the song, composers!
“Our Future, Your World” is equally uplifting while being a longer track, thankfully, so I’ll take that concession. “Tokyo — The Trials Grow Complex” gets a Teddyloid remix to wrap up Disc 2. When I saw this song in the tracklist, I almost gasped in happiness. I love TeddyLoid’s music, and this track is no exception, continuing with his trend of bass-heavy dance music. If you’re a fan of the artist, you won’t be disappointed.
Disc 3 is the shortest of the collection, and contains the main themes of the game in both their regular and instrumental forms. Of the four themes present, I found myself going back to “Re:Vanishment” and “ChRøNiClESeVeN” the most often, both performed by Annabel. They’re your typical electronic Jpop fare, but Annabel has a great voice that leads to the tracks standing apart.
7th Dragon III code: VFD’s soundtrack is a mix of all kinds, from electronic to orchestra, to lounge to Jpop. And strangely enough, it all works for me. It’s a ton of music too, so the fact that so much of it is so great makes the soundtrack an accomplishment in my book. Some tracks are a little too short, and some might be too much of a tonal shift, but neither of these aspects lessened the appreciation I hold for the uniqueness of this collection.