The video game world is lucky to have the team of Yuka Tsujiyoko (the main Fire Emblem series composer), Hiroki Morishita (Paper Mario: Sticker Star), and Rei Kondoh (Okami, Bayonetta). If they ever decide to write for films, they will surely win Academy Awards and reach a wider, more accessible audience. Luckily, we get to keep these composers all to our nerdy gamer selves.
The Fire Emblem: Awakening soundtrack is purely cinematic, just as a large-scale fantasy movie would be. It bursts during battle sequences, swells at character deaths, and hops along during the cute and/or awkward support conversations. Three factors contribute to this epic sound: the writing, the orchestration, and the blend of real and MIDI instruments. The composers manage to weave in recognizable motifs in practically every song. The orchestration is interesting and exciting; if real musicians played these pieces, they would never be bored. And having an actual violin serenade me during a sad scene does so much more to help me cry than listening to MIDI synths. Trust me, there are a lot of feels in this game.
My only complaint about the soundtrack is that certain songs become repetitive and annoying. The world map music — “Oh, it’s not so bad, Lissa. Just a healthy little walk!” — is definitely not interesting enough to hear every time I choose a destination, especially if I take a long time figuring out supports and items. In my opinion, songs that the player is bound to hear a lot should be interesting and engaging. Consider every overworld song in The Legend of Zelda series: I don’t dread traveling between cities in Zelda because I have to listen to the world map song again. I think it says a lot if I turn down the volume of a video game because of an annoying song, and unfortunately, I had to do that a lot for “Oh, it’s not so bad, Lissa. Just a healthy little walk!”; “Assault,” which plays during every enemy turn in out-of-plot battles; and, god forbid, the traveling merchants’ theme, “Open for business!”
If my complaints about this 92-track original soundtrack revolve around just three songs, I think that’s a pretty good sign. The music of Fire Emblem: Awakening is one of the most magical parts of the game, along with the beautifully animated movie cutscenes, the fun and engaging character relations, and — let’s be honest — Lucina’s fierceness.