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Xenoblade Special Soundtrack :: Review by Don

Xenoblade Special Soundtrack Album Title: Xenoblade Special Soundtrack
Record Label: Nintendo
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: June 10, 2010
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Xenoblade is the work of Tetsuya Takahashi, one of the original people behind the Xenogears and Xenosaga games. Featuring a total of six composers, including Yoko Shimomura, Yasunori Mitsuda, Manami Kiyota, and ACE+ (Tomori Kudo, CHiCO, and Kenji Hiramatsu), it contains a blend of orchestral, rock, ethnic, and electronic music. A promotional album, the Xenoblade Special Soundtrack, was given to those who purchased the initial copies of the game in Japan. It features 12 of the best themes from the soundtrack, including Mitsuda's vocal theme and Shimomura's main theme.


The exquisite "Main Theme" opens up the soundtrack and is probably my favorite of all the Shimomura compositions on the soundtrack. It features stunning piano passages, sweeping strings work, and a very poignant, yet epic, atmosphere. It is truly one of the best things on the entire soundtrack and an extremely powerful piece of music. "Colony 9," a rustic town theme on the promotional soundtrack, adds a bit of a Spanish flair with the acoustic guitar and some electronic beats. I particularly enjoy the mix of woodwind and violin in the melody line. The last theme from Shimomura is "Fight!" It's a frenetic battle theme that focuses on strings to convey the most sense of urgency. There is a nice calming woodwind section to break the tension, however. The percussion and piano is a bit reminiscent of the accompaniment one might hear in a Kingdom Hearts, but the melody is fairly strong.

Manami Kiyota's primary duties for this soundtrack were event themes and area themes, three of which are featured here. "Memories" is a very poignant and emotional theme comprised of piano and strings work. It features a very strong melody as well and really knows how to get the listener to bring up touching and warm experiences. "Macuna Woods" features some beautiful strings and piano work which really help give it a soft soundscape, but I particularly enjoy the acoustic guitar and percussion featured in the piece. It really makes for a nice rustic listen. "The Awakening of the Giant" is a militaristic piece. Featuring brooding percussion, ominous organ work, suspenseful strings, and some choral work, it blends together these elements to create a very moving and powerful composition.

Moving to the contributions by ACE+, "Those Who Bear Their Name" is another one of the boss battle themes in the game. In fact, it's probably my favorite of the battle themes. It definitely sounds, to me, like it was partially inspired by some of Nobuo Uematsu's battle themes, particularly in the orchestral and more uplifting sections of the battle theme, but ACE+ manages to put its on spin on it. It's an extremely rock heavy theme with some excellent guitar sections. In particular, the powerful guitar riff intensive intro and the guitar solo make for some great rocking out! "Confrontation with the Enemy" is another of my favorites by ACE+. It features a nice rock sound with some beautiful electronic influences as well as some beautiful organic sounds, such as the piano and strings. Overall, it's a very dramatic theme, but in a not-in-your-face kind of way.

"Gaur Plains" is a very upbeat theme with a bit of an ethnic flair. I really love the combination of the dance beat with the strings work. It has a really catchy atmosphere and quite a strong melody line. "Field of the Machinae" is one of the more electronically oriented themes on the soundtrack. It features a very mysterious atmosphere, but the overall tempo of the theme is quite upbeat. I really enjoy this piece quite a bit and it's definitely one of my favorites on the entire soundtrack. It has some great electronic effects and the melody is absolutely superb! "A Farewell and..." is a very warm and touching theme. Primarily focused on a strong melody through the use of strings, it's a theme that really has a sense of closure. It has a very romantic tone to it as well. It's very powerful and one of the better emotional event themes.

Yasunori Mitsuda's sole contribution to the soundtrack is the ending vocal theme, "Beyond the Sky." Sung by Sarah Àlainn, it's an extremely beautiful and touching theme, both musically and vocally. Àlainn's vocals have a certain wispiness about them that just really heightens the emotions of the lyrics and the overall atmosphere. As for the music, it's not a complex song by any means, consisting of drums, piano, strings, and woodwinds, but they are marvelously layered and really carry a true sense of emotion. In the end, this is easily my second favorite Mitsuda ending vocal. I doubt anything will ever beat his Xenogears vocal theme, "Two Small of Pieces," but this one definitely shows that Mitsuda knows how to compose a compelling vocal theme.


In the end, I think that the Xenoblade soundtrack is a solid offering as a multi-composer effort. It features a variety of soundscapes, ranging from powerful to soothing, and a variety of genres, such as rock, electronica, and more ethnic themed sounds. Although Shimomura and Mitsuda played a limited role in this production, for the most part, their efforts were quite solid. The real stars of the show are ACE+ and Manami Kiyota who manage to capture the essence of the game quite well. This particular promotional album definitely features some of the best tracks and is a fine introduction to the Xenoblade score, but four discs of goodies await those who purchase the full soundtrack instead.

Overall Score: 7/10