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Dissidia Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack :: Review by Jared

Dissidia Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack Album Title: Dissidia Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Square Enix
Catalog No.: SQEX-10132/3
Release Date: December 24, 2008
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


This soundtrack is an interesting compilation of Final Fantasy music throughout the ages. Fitting for the game, which combines a number of prominent heroes and villains from Square Enix's beloved Final Fantasy series, this album has a mix of original compositions, arrangements of classic themes, and reprises taken directly from other soundtracks in the series. This makes for a rather unique soundtrack, which certainly has its ups and downs. The general rule of thumb from this soundtrack seems to be that most of the original compositions are decent, the battle theme arrangements are often outstanding, but the arrangements of non-battle themes are usually quite horrible. First, let's start with the original material.


The album opens with "Dissidia -opening-," a track that begins with the very familiar "Prelude" theme from past Final Fantasy games. However, the piece is mostly new material and is generally very interesting though not without faults. Occasionally it seems to shift gears too abruptly and ruin the tension it has built up over time. This piece is a great contrast to some other original tracks though, such as "Dissidia -menu-," "Quickening," and "Answer," which all suffer from poor melodies or annoying repetition. Among the decent original tracks are "The Order That Must Be Protected" and "A Moment of Rest." "The Order" is an endearing piano solo that, though simple, contains a haunting melody and appropriate pianistic accompaniment. "A Moment of Rest" is quite short, but is nicely developed despite its length. Neither of these pieces are truly extraordinary, but they are well-composed and a worthy addition to the soundtrack among the many subpar tracks.

The best 'original' track is easily "Dissidia -ending-," which features orchestrated arrangements of a variety of Final Fantasy pieces. The arrangements are often bombastic and dramatic, in true Final Fantasy ending theme style. This track is very entertaining to listen to and holds some very interesting arrangements, particularly the segue between "F.F.VII Main Theme" and FFVIII's "Eyes on Me". Overall this is a fine track that makes up for some of the mediocrity of some of the original compositions, as well as some of the horror to be found with the arrangements of various non-battle themes.

The worst parts of the album, by far, are the arrangements of the non-battle Final Fantasy themes. The best of these, which is actually decent, is FFIII's "Eternal Wind". The arrangement is very simple, but the main melody is beautiful as always and the flute helps counter the poor background synth that hurts the track. However, the other arranged pieces are not nearly as enjoyable; the "Main Theme" from both Final Fantasy I and II are downright terrible. They take a good original piece and make it much worse with horrible empty synth and poor rhythms. Somehow, these pieces sound more simple than their original NES counterparts, and the simplicity is not a good thing in this case. FFVI's "Tina" also suffers from poor synth, though at least it is combined with adequate backing strings. FFIX's "Over That Hill" is an extremely weak arrangement of an already weak piece, complete with more dull synth and poor rhythm that draw out any possible emotion from the melody and harmonies. Overall, the arranged portion of the soundtrack is incredibly weak, with an excess of terrible tracks and a few that are mediocre at best.

Some tracks are simply taken from their respective soundtracks and feature nothing new. However, this is a very welcome change. FFXI's "The Federation of Windurst" and FFXII's "Theme of the Empire" help to break the monotony of the arranged tracks, though these pieces in themselves are not terribly exciting either. In contrast, though, the unarranged battle themes were great choices for the soundtrack, such as FFVIII's "The Extreme" and FFX's "Normal Battle". These themes are much more enjoyable than most of what is found on the soundtrack, though showcase very little creativity as they are straight rips from other soundtracks.

The arranged battle themes are perhaps the best part of the soundtrack, though they are generally hit-and-miss. Some, such as FFIII's "This is the Last Battle" and FFII's "Battle Scene 2," offer substantial improvements over the originals through exciting arrangements with appropriate synths and engaging rhythm. Others, most notably FFVI's "The Fierce Battle," sound just like the original with a different sound set. However, the originals are generally better, because the new synth used tends to sound very muddy and unrealistic, and takes out much of the effect of the original pieces. "The Decisive Battle," also from Final Fantasy VI, is a decent arrangement that is about on par with the original version, and does not suffer from the new synth. The arranged battle themes are often decent, though in most cases the original piece is just as sufficient (if not much better).


All in all, this soundtrack is highly uninspired and doesn't really bring anything exciting to the listener. The arranged pieces are very inconsistent, with the battle themes being decent to good, and the other themes being mostly dreadful. The original pieces are adequate, particularly the opening and ending themes, though they don't even begin to make up for the ground lost by the arranged themes. Overall, the soundtrack is not a very exciting listen, though is probably effective in terms of the gameplay.

Overall Score: 3/10