Final Fantasy XIII-2 Original Soundtrack Plus :: Review by Don
Similar to the Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack Plus, this album for the sequel features prototype versions, localized versions, and extended versions of tunes heard on the Final Fantasy XIII-2 Original Soundtrack. If you already have the original soundtrack, is this album worth getting?
Much like the predecessor, a lot of the music is essentially various versions of the themes before reaching their final mix. For example, there are two versions of "LocalCosmos," presumably a working title for "Neo Bodhum." However, in the end, these versions are a bit inferior to the original. The "soft 4 beat" version of this track sounds muddied and lacks clarity. The "other" version emphasises Mitsuto Suzuki's minimalist approach, similar to his original style heard in Neurovision. The same could be said for "Travelogue_GuideVocalDemo," a clumsy rendition of "Historia Crux."
While a lot of the music is a bit forgettable, compared to the original soundtrack counterparts, there are some nice little bonuses as well. One example is "Hopping Chocobo," a jazzy piano rendition of "Rodeo de Chocobo." There's also the "Starting Over_Goh Hotoda REMIX," a pretty fun rendition of the original that sports a much catchier dance beat. Another is the Western version of "Unseen Intruders," an entirely instrumental version of the controversial theme as heard on the original soundtrack. Of course, the long version of "The Last Hunter" is another track I feel that should have been on the original soundtrack. The extended play time certainly doesn't hurt and, in some respects, it surpasses the original.
However, the one truly new tune on the entire album also happens to be the best. The "Clash on the Big Bridge - Oriental Mix -," by Hiroyuki Togo, is the music featured in the arena when you battle Gilgamesh from Final Fantasy V. This mix is extremely impressive due to the intricate blend of Japanese instrumentation and slow rock. While it may lack the catchy rhythms of the original and even a slower tempo, it certainly makes up for it in creativity. The shamisen solo is truly spectacular, and I think that most people will enjoy the mix. It would have been nice to see other music from the series' past remixed for this special arena battles, such as the one against Ultros from Final Fantasy VI.
In the end, I think that the Final Fantasy XIII-2 Original Soundtrack Plus album doesn't really have much extra to offer, aside from the amazing "Clash on the Big Bridge" arrangement and the few other arranged renditions. In the end, I only recommend this album for those who want all the music of the Final Fantasy XIII-2 universe.
Overall Score: 4/10