Top 5 Nobuo Uematsu Game Soundtracks that Aren’t Final Fantasy
One of the most recognizable and longer-standing names in video game music composition, Nobuo Uematsu, was never formally trained. However, he began music at an early age. After being approached randomly by a Squaresoft employee while working in a Tokyo music rental shop back in 1985, he has since composed dozens of soundtracks. While the Final Fantasy series is his most popular, there are plenty of other OSTs which he has composed that are simply amazing. Here is our list of top five non-Final Fantasy, Uematsu soundtracks.
5. Sakura Note: Ima ni Tsunagaru Mirai
A neat little adventure game never released in the US – Nobuo produced a fun and, to me, 1980’s, PC-sounding soundtrack to this bright and colorful game. Sometimes the music even sounds as if he was inspired a bit by Keiichi Suzuki and Hirokazu Tanaka of Earthbound (Mother) fame. It may not be the best soundtrack to plug in and listen to while you drive across town, but for the game it is quite fitting and fun, and mostly bizarre. Travelling far from his other works, it’s a fun one to check out.
4. Lord of Vermilion
Lord of Vermilion emphasizes what Nobuo is most attracted to – heavy, dark guitars, often wailing, screaming, and pounding. A huge change from his RPG pieces, matching the fast-paced strategy elements of the game, the Lord of Vermillion OST gets the blood pumping. It is more akin to his Black Mages work, so any fan of Nobuo’s electric guitar will enjoy this. Though you might have to hit up a Japanese arcade (or head over to Tokyo) and brush up on your Japanese (you DID take Japanese in highschool / college, right?) in order to experience this great arcade game, you could also just import the soundtrack.
3. Lost Odyssey
With an addition to branch out into exotic instruments and sounds, Lost Odyssey’s soundtrack reaches the highest of happiest heights and the saddest, loneliest lows. Lost Odyssey’s soundtrack brings the world, revolving heavily around magic, to life with mystical and native sounds. Along with a rich composition are touching and gentle piano and instrumental arrangements, and fully voiced songs which bring this masterpiece of an OST together. A recommended track is ‘Neverending Journey’, which touches many of the elements heard throughout the soundtrack and is a piece that stands strongly on its own (go ahead, play this song for someone who isn’t a video game fan, don’t tell them it’s a video game piece, and see how they feel).
2. Blue Dragon
With epic, high-fantasy ambience and sound, along with righteous chanting and hard metal guitar for boss battles, Blue Dragon’s soundtrack raises the spirits and holds the familiar Uematsu compositions with which many of us are familiar. Blue Dragon’s soundtrack rivals even some of the best Final Fantasy soundtracks, matching the mood of this epic J-RPG to a tee. The pieces ‘Waterside’ and ‘Zola’ showcase the piano stylings of Uematsu, while ‘Nene’s Paradise’ bring back his wailing, dark guitar sounds he is such a fan of.
1. The Last Story
One of his newest, and probably one of his best, The Last Story OST is uplifting, complex, and airy. It tickles your emotions, both sad and happy. Sometimes the music drifts close to classic Final Fantasy sounds, while other times it touches new realms unheard in an Uematsu soundtrack. Either way, The Last Story OST is completely satisfying in creating a perfect, mystical ambience both in and outside of the game. Pieces like ‘Bonds’ bring you back to a more basic style of fantasy role-playing -- where four adventurers explore a fantastical world and shifted into taverns for a nights stay to drink ale. Other tracks, such as ‘Battle! General Trista’, with its pounding drums, bring feelings of grandeur into the heart and offer a powerful musicscape to a genre otherwise riddled with generic action or boss music. Though the game has not been released in the U.S. yet, the soundtrack can be imported and is worth doing so.
Three things describe Rando: Good beer, good food, and video games. On occasion, Rando flies a zeppelin through time seeking power crystals.
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