Tactics Ogre Unmei no Wa Original Soundtrack

 

Review by · December 25, 2010

Editor’s note: the PSP remake was localized in North America with the old subtitle “Let Us Cling Together.” However, said remake had a new subtitle in Japan: “Unmei no Wa,” which translates to “Wheel of Fate.”

Everybody loves the Final Fantasy Tactics OST. But before the founder of the Ivalice franchise, Yasumi Matsuno, was with Square, he was with developer Quest (which published under Enix, who would in turn join with Square in 2003). The first franchise Matsuno created was the “Ogre Battle” franchise. And from day one, the chief team for composition on this franchise was the Sakimoto/Iwata duo.

In other words, FF Tactics (and the Ivalice franchise) is pre-dated, in terms of its soundscape, by Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre. In a strange turn of fate, both franchises are under the same publishing house now. In fact, on the obi for this soundtrack, the advertised soundtrack on the back as a “related product” is the Final Fantasy Tactics OST. They are that similar. And, considering how well-loved the FF Tactics OST is, that should be reason enough to consider this one.

So, what is this? If you hadn’t been paying attention, Square Enix decided to remake Tactics Ogre for PSP. Originally a Super Famicom title, then remade for PlayStation in only a few years, this particular title comes back in 2010 for a new generation of gamers. The Tactical RPG style found in FF Tactics (which, remember, came after Tactics Ogre) matches Ogre Battle’s emphasis on the major arcana Tarot cards, its bestiary, its whole world.

This soundtrack is a solid four discs. The first three discs are the OST to the PSP version (new arrangements, or rahter, “updated synth” versions of the original), as well as a fourth disc with music as it appeared in the original Super Famicom version.

We, of course, have a review of the old Tactics Ogre OST. We as a site were fond of it then, and I can assure you that we’re still fond of it now. Though, perhaps I should only speak for myself. In which case, let me heighten the level of approval and enthusiasm in the review. This soundtrack is absolutely stunning. It’s an unforgettable achievement.

What makes it so remarkable? Perhaps it’s that spark of youthful energy that comes early in a composer’s career. Perhaps it’s the wonderful melodies in particular pieces, such as “Notice of Death” or “Passing Moment.” Perhaps it comes back to variation and balance: a nice balance of fast and slow, loud and soft, tense and soothing, intertwined and separated by one another from piece to piece. As a listening experience outside the context of the game, it’s surprisingly strong.

For newcomers, what you can expect is the most surprisingly life-like synth orchestra you’ve ever heard (unless you’ve heard FF Tactics, which is basically in the same boat). Veterans should know what they’re getting into, of course.

Now, if you’re a seasoned collector and already have the OST from the ’90s, you may be wondering: is this soundtrack worth getting for the remastering and rearranging of this new soundtrack? Let me answer that question with another question: how satisfied are you with the original? If the answer is “I am fully satisfied; I listen to it somewhat frequently and am ever pleased,” why let that feeling go? But for many of us, feelings are indeed ephemeral, and the desire for something new, combined with our highly-developed consumerist trait, will leave us yearning for more. For those people, I say, “yes, you’ll definitely want this one too.” The sound quality across discs one through three is marvelous.

As for disc four, it gives you a taste of just how “upgraded” we’re talking. The music sounded awesome 15 years ago, as evidenced on this disc. It sounds even better now.

This late in the year, I am more confident to say things like “this is a contender for soundtrack of the year.” And while I’m not saying it takes the cake, it’s certainly in the top ten, if not the top five, for 2010.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and cats.