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Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection :: Review by Trepe Groupie

Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection Album Title: Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection
Record Label: Avex
Catalog No.: AVCD-17444 (Copy Protected)
Release Date: March 31, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Final Fantasy X-2 was a change from the other Final Fantasy games. This instalment brought a different feel, this being a much more bouncy and somewhat comical one. The small party gave way to more character depth while the story focussed more on emotions and history. The music was composed and produced by Takahito Eguchi and Noriko Matsueda, no strangers to the composition world, but not on the same level as Nobuo Uemtasu.

As Final Fantasy had taken a different turn, the music had as well and not necessarily for the better. Electric guitars manage to work their way into too many pieces on the Original Soundtrack, much to my disgust. Electronics has affected this game's music too much; gone are the times of the simple piano-accompanied instrument that brought out melodies that could evoke every emotion. Now we have layer upon layers of beeps and noises with a melody lost in its own entirety.

So as you can see, I was less than enthusiastic about a piano arrangement. However, as a keen Final Fantasy music fan, I still ordered the album and found that my expectations were blown out of the water! This album contains everything I had missed from the Original Soundtrack, with its beautiful yet simple melodies, emotive harmonies, and arrangements that give a clearer image of the game than playing it itself. Eguchi and Matsueda teamed with Shinko Ogata, Masahiro Sayama, Hiroko Kokubu, and Febian Reza Pane to create this masterpiece. The pieces are all played with sheer brilliance and all contain their own unique qualities.

Track-by-Track Reviews

1) Wind Crest ~The Three Trails~

This disc contains two pieces from Final Fantasy X-2 International + Last Mission and this is the first of them. This piece is a perfect start to the album; it represents the tranquillity that many may remember from the introduction to the Final Fanatsy X Piano Collections, "At Zanarkand." It has a beautiful melody that is contrasted by an equally beautiful flowing arpeggio bass. This piece represents the closeness of Paine, Rikku and Yuna, while "At Zanarkand" represented the closeness of the Final Fantasy X party. At 1:50 minutes, when the piece picks up, you can really feel the emotion Ogata is pouring into the piece and this really reflects the strength of the three girls' bond. (9/10)

2) Yuna's Ballad

Another beautiful piece to move the album along, "Yuna's Ballad" was an obvious choice to arrange for the piano. Its strong melody conquers all, much like Yuna's determination. Kokubu works magic here by using some jazz techniques when playing the piece, but this only adds to the quality. While "Yuna's Decision," once again the Final Fantasy X Piano Collections, represented Yuna then, "Yuna's Ballad" shows the change she has gone through. The strong melody shows Yuna on the outside while the fragile bass line shows Yuna on the inside. This is another very strong one. (8/10)

3) Paine's Theme

This one is Paine all over; the strong yet passive melody shows Paine for what she is while the Bluesy tone shows her deep sadness. I fell in love with the original when words were put to it by the Japanese voice of Paine (Megumi Toyoguchi) in the Vocal Collection. However, the piano arrangement only adds to the effectiveness of this piece. Sayama should win some sort of award for this piece. (8/10)

4) Creature Create

After my delight with the first track, I expected too much from the second piece from Final Fantasy X-2 International + Last Mission. There's simply too much happening here, and less would be more in this case. It starts out well with a delightful jazzy basso ostinato. But then it repeats over and over again, and you get annoyed with it. The main melody is amazing, but when Sayama begins to improvise, this piece becomes cluttered and it seems like he is just trying to only show off. At 1:55 he plays many crushed notes in an aggressive way and I feel that he is insulting the piece by doing this. It's not one of my favourites. (5/10)

5) Calm Lands

After the track before, we swing back to excellence with "Calm Lands." The simple offbeat bass goes perfectly with the original melody and the new Calm Lands is created in your mind as you listen to this piece. The strength when the melody is played with chords on its own is magnificent. It's simplistic yet brilliant, and it is the first ever Piano Collections piece not have a specific ending; it just fades out while going on and on. (9/10)

6) Zanarkand Ruins

This piece is beautiful and elegant; the arranger knows when to slow down and when to grow louder, making it natural throughout, and ensuring the dynamics and tempo changes are the key to this piece. The melody is fairly hollow and it leaves no real impression. The chords are bittersweet, as they lack progression, and the atmosphere is created principally using low dynamic levels. However, there is no real climax and nothing else to it; it simply sounds nice, following a basic structure and sticking to it. (7/10)

7) Akagi Party

This is a favourite with many and I can see why, but it doesn't appeal to me that much. The introduction fits well and the chords are powerful yet quiet. The piece loses its structure when we get to the jazzier area of the piece, and we hear western style saloon chords that destroy the image created with the first part of the piece. However, after we pass through western town, we move to some pure chords that change the atmosphere again. It is only when we close the piece that we hear the melody that we fell in love with from the beginning and it finishes well with a low A. (7/10)

8) "Nightmare of a Cave"

This is another one of my favourites; some say that the length is not there to give a good impression of this track, however I disagree. This track is short and should be commended for containing within that short time limit the intensity of the piece and express as much as possible. The beautiful crescendo and decrescendo's add so much to this piece, they express the ups and downs of the moment. It is marvellous, creative, and original, yet some may judge on quantity not quality. (10/10)

9) Demise

When I noticed that Reza Pane had only arranged one piece on this track, I was expecting something very special. And I was glad to see that my suspicions were true. "Demise" is a refreshing change from the clichéd chord-filled, fortissimo battle piece. This piece opens oddly with repeated low notes that contrast well with the extended opening of high arpeggios. Reza Pane masterfully creates a tense feeling in the introducton with light unnerving notes. The introduction seems to have one very foreboding crecendo that builds to the core of the arrangement, which is still quiet. It is here that we see the original battle music come through with an intense moderate pitch and a high melody. It ends with a moderate volume and marvellous chords that evoke a 'what comes next feeling'. (10/10)

10) 1000 Words

Another one of my favourite tracks. After hearing the in-game version first, I wondered how it would sound orchestrated. I found that it sounded excellent orchestrated during the credits; this led me to the question how would a piano arrangement turn out. Well, my question was pleasantly answered with this beautiful piece from the word go. The passion and emotion is just emphasised on the piano with a delicate melody and an equally delicate bass line, which is rare. The bass holds the piece together while having it's own story to tell. I especially like the dischord at the 1:58 mark. The piece is evoking of Yuna and Lenne's hardships when the piece builds up and the chorus is belted out in octaves and the bass line creates a feeling of love in every bar. (10/10)

11) Epilogue ~Reunion~

One of the simpler pieces to album, this is also an arrangement of Besaid's new theme. It has that delicate melody featured in so many tracks, but the bass is somewhat different; it creates that island, off-centre feel. It has a nice structure, with an even build, climax, and resolution. There isn't that much to say about this piece; it is empowering and just nice to listen to. (8/10)

12) Eternity ~Memory of Lightwaves~

This track had to be here and it is quite fitting that it is the ending piece. What I loved about the original was the simplicity and in some respects such as the melody and dynamics it is still. However, it was the unforgettable bass that shone out in this memorable piece but alas it was not to be in the arrangement. The piece carries well throughout and maintains the same level of originality and flair, but it is the melody that sings in this piece. It finishes the soundtrack well and, although it lacks some qualities, it makes up for these flaws with new original improvements. (7/10)


This album is something that shocked most people. Who would have thought it came from the Final Fantasy X-2 Original Soundtrack? This album has something to offer for everybody, whether they love jazz ("Creature Create"), Classical ("Wind Crest ~The Three Trails~"), or pop ballads ("1000 Words). It is the Piano Collection album that features several arrangers, not just one, and this brings another level of diversity to this album. Past Piano Collections have had similar sounding techniques and arrangements, but this album moves forward into a new order of selection and difference.

Overall Score: 8/10