Yasunori Mitsuda and Hitoshi Sakimoto. Not many can think of a better team of collaborators for a project. Now, throw the acclaimed Breath of Fire series into the mix. Surely it can be said there’s magic at work. Mitsuda, who is renowned for his work on Chrono Cross and Xenogears; Sakimoto, who left unforgettable tracks with the revered Final Fantasy Tactics; and Breath of Fire, which has following some role playing gamers’ through their youth and grown along side them. It goes without saying that the announcement of Mitsuda and Sakimoto’s joint effort on the newest installment in the series, Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter, would result in one of the most epic-sounding musical scores to a game ever. Suffice it to say, such beliefs are true.
Hitoshi Sakimoto’s distinct sounds is apparent right off the bat. Several tracks bleed with Final Fantasy Tactics reminiscence. However, they also carry a more mature sound to them, as if the score had grown up as well. In addition, a mighty slew of tracks that sound only vaguely reminiscent of any of his previous works make up the majority of the album. No one piece can be traced to cultural or ethnical roots, and other than a single vocal track, the compositions are synthesized, a series of ambient sounds accompanied by fierce, compelling drum loops. Despite a lack of diversity among the “sounds” in this music (that is, the absence of varying instruments that can be found in many of Mitsuda’s works), the soundtrack nevertheless wields an impressive ability to invoke the emotions within the listener, such as sorrow in some of the more melodic tracks, or even urgency as in the more intense songs.
Unfortunately, Mitsuda’s role in this project was kept solely to director. He played no part in the composition of these pieces, but lent his expertise in the form of guidance and advice, ensuring that every track Sakimoto produced was his best; Mitsuda is well-known for his relentless conviction during the creation of a game’s score. Whether or not Mitsuda pressured him, Sakimoto pulled through with some of this best work to date, offering music that will hopefully accompany scenes as memorable as these pieces.
Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter’s OST emanates an epic feel, and is a must-buy for any music lovers who enjoy passionate, movie-caliber quality in their RPG soundtracks. The album has become a favorite, and hopefully the game it represents will fall under the same luck, as well.