Friday, May 3, 2013

TOP Tracks #29 - "Fire Above the Battle"

Fire Above The Battle by OST Lost Odyssey on Grooveshark

If I had started TOP Gaming before 2009, I would have named Lost Odyssey 2008's game of the year. This game is the complete package. It has a great, epic story. It has really wonderful characters, some of whom are extremely well developed over the course of the game. The music is extremely well done. It covers all the bases I look for in a great game. Lost Odyssey plays more like a "Final Fantasy" game than any other "Final Fantasy" title in the last 13 years - which is incidentally how long it's been since Final Fantasy creator, Sakaguchi Hironobu left Square Enix. It's really not too surprising that when Sakaguchi Hironobu, Toriyama Akira, and Uematsu Nobuo get together they continue to create amazing results.

The game also hosts unlockable short stories that go into detail of the main character's incredibly long life, in a collection called Thousand Years of Dreams. These short stories are penned by novelist Shigematsu Kiyoshi and are each a delight to read, if you don't mind taking a break from playing a game to read a short story. Lost Odyssey really put Mistwalker Studios on the map for me. Their debut game Blue Dragon was cute and fun, but I felt it lacked some depth and maturity which is something I could not say about Lost Odyssey.

This particular piece of music I revisit fairly regularly. I am swept up by the strings. It's another great example of Uematsu battle music, and probably not the last example in this count down. As I listen to it, I think, "I need to play this game again." Lost Odyssey and Tales of Vesperia are perhaps the only reason I'm still hanging on to my X-Box 360. Along with Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii, these games stand as pillars of Japanese-style role-playing games (JRPG) that have come out in the last decade. There's sadly too few of their quality these days.


Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of playing Lost Odyssey. TOP said it was a great JRPG and one of the only decent ones on X-Box 360. I recall he told me it can be quick and simple if you blow through it, but also is deep and enthralling if you take your time and enjoy each facet of the game. I like that in a game. I miss the days of old where you'd have to wander around a game, talking to strangers for half an hour, and then piece together what the hell you were supposed to do next. I know games are evolving away from this, but in my eyes, exploration and discovery is half the fun.

I think I'd appreciate "Fire Above the Battle" more if I had played the game. It sounds fine and decent to me, but it doesn't drum up any emotion. Unlike many songs on this list, I don't get the urge to grab a sword and slay my enemies. It comes close, but it's not quite there. It seems more like a war room theme, playing in the background while generals furrow their brows and contemplate assault tactics. I'm sure it'd be a different case if I knew what trials and tribulations the player must endure throughout the game, but as of now it only seems a mediocre battle anthem. Feel free to comment if you disagree.

- Deez

Derivative Tracks

Sadly haven't found any, but I'll keep looking!

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