Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII is the third installment of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Unlike the compilation’s second part, the CG movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the soundtrack of this gun action RPG was not composed by Nobuo Uematsu, but by Masashi Hamauzu. The composer’s newest work is solid, but just like most other recent RPG soundtracks, definitely not awe-inspiring.
On the instrumental side, this soundtrack features eleven tracks recorded by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. One will find a good combination of slow compositions (such as track 5, disc 1), march-style music (for instance, track 7, disc 1), threatening and rock-inspired on the two discs making for a good variety of moods. The number of outstanding compositions is rather small, however. My personal favorites include the epic “Trigger Situation” (track 3, disc 1), the powerful and dynamic battle theme “Fight Tune Crimson Impact” (track 3, disc 2), the calm, yet subtly upbeat “Hope of the Future” (track 23, disc 2) and the two main themes.
According to Square Enix, the soundtrack’s highlights are the two main vocal themes performed by J-Pop star Gackt. I can’t say that I’m familiar with his past work, but both “Longing” (track 17, disc 2) and “Redemption” (track 22, disc 2) turned out to be solid. Unlike most RPG main themes which are ballads performed by female artists, Gackt’s contributions are straight rock songs. Gackt’s voice is great and, leaving aside the odd Japanglish, “Redemption” is an outstanding vocal theme: definitely much better than the Kingdom Hearts II main theme, “Passion,” as performed by Utada Hikaru.
Would I recommend this soundtrack? Yes, provided you like rock-inspired vocal themes and don’t expect an awe-inspiring album. As a buyer of the limited edition, I would recommend that you save 600 yen and pick up the standard release. The limited edition comes in a neat box which can hold the game (if one opts to purchase it), the Gackt single, and the soundtrack. The latter comes in an Amaray DVD case with a nicely done, but very thin, booklet. That’s all. Hence, if you don’t need a box to hold game and soundtrack, you might as well save some bucks and stick with the standard release.