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Thread: The RPG Sanctum - #20: RPG Music

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    Host of The Sectorcast Rosestorm's Avatar
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    The RPG Sanctum - #20: RPG Music

    In this episode of the Sanctum we discuss our favorite soundtracks throughout the RPG lands. We also talk about everyone's absolutely favorite subject, J-Pop.

    Listen: http://www.rpgamer.com/rpgsanctum/sanctum20.mp3
    Download: http://feeds.feedburner.com/rpgamer/DJog
    itunes: http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-...um/id416583261

    We are going to be trying some new segments for the next show, one of those being a new way to gather opinions from you the listeners ahead of time. Our next topic will be Best and Worst Villains. With that said tell us who you think the best and worst villains are.

    Also for anyone interested in seeing progress on the Sanctum's Minecraft project can find it here: http://rpgsanctum.blogspot.com/
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    Beard God VonBeardly's Avatar
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    Chrono Cross music was the only good part of that game. It is still my favorite video game soundtrack.

    oops forgot to answer the question. Not sure who I think the worst villian would be but I can say with certainty that Kefka is the best villian.
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    Smorgasbord Whoomp's Avatar
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    No one mentioned Nier? Best soundtrack. Period.

    First time I have ever heard so much hate on the FFXIII soundtrack and I have heard plenty (and plenty) of hate on the game itself. Personally I think it is the absolute best since FFIX (which is my favoirte FF). Then again, I actually find the vocal parts of Sunleth Waterscape and Coccon de Choccobo to be really fitting for their specific parts in the game. Out of context they are not all that pleasant though. Also, the soundtrack was of pretty much equal quantity as all the chronological FF games since VII.

    Yuki Kajiura did the soundtrack for Xenosaga Episode 2 too and while it may not be the best one ever there are plenty of great songs in there like Communication Breakdown, Fatal Fight and Chase. She really got it right with the soundtrack for episode 3 though, just which I could muster up the will to finally finishing episode 2 so I can experience it from its source.

    I don't know about worst soundtrack but one of the most forgettable I have come across is Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter but perhaps that is because its so mellow and hardly there big chunks of the game. It's a bit sad since the soundtrack for IV had some really nice tunes. Most "Tales of" songs by Motoi Sakuraba is pretty forgettable as well, I am currently playing through Vesperia a second time and even now I can't remember a single track outside of the battle theme and the opening from the top of my head. The only standout soundtracks by him for me would be Valkyrie Profile and Star Ocean 2 and those rely heavily on nostalgia.

    A final game series whose soundtrack deserves mention would be Shadow Hearts. It's really unique and interesting especially the battle themes are awesomely twisted (such as Near Death Experience and Brain Hopper). I would really like to see some more soundtracks in this style but until someone makes another RPG with such macabre horror themes as Shadow Hearts had I don't see it happening. A real shame.

  4. #4
    This show reminded me of how much hate JPOP. It's to bad nobody brought the Panzer Dragoon Saga soundtrack. It's very esoteric and bazaar. Plus made up languages for the win.

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    I wish soundtracks were more easily obtainable. I like when they are included with the game. I've been known to pay an extra $10 for premium editions of games to get at least 1 soundtrack disc. It just seems insane that some soundtracks can command $30-$50 on their own!

    No love for Suikoden's tunes?

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    Member Just Doug's Avatar
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    First:

    Best Villain: If Megaman Legends counts as an RPG, I'd like to humbly submit the Bonnes (Teisel, Tron, Bon, and of course the ServBots). I love those guys, and they're very good as the cartoony eternally-unsuccessful type of villain. Otherwise, I'd have to say... Sephiroth. I know that'll set off a lot of eye-rolling, but there aren't really any RPG villains I found more memorable. Yes, even more memorable than Kefka, though in my case it would be due to a combination of the generation gap between SNES and PSX and the fact that his kind of villain isn't my favorite.

    Worst Villain: There are plenty of RPG villains I didn't like or got forgotten in their mediocrity, but it always annoyed me how in FFIX, Necron comes (literally?) out of nowhere. Nothing in the game even hints at his existence--at least other games have the courtesy to have the final boss as a part of their lore if they don't make a personal appearance before the end (CT, FFT, FFVIII, Xenogears). Most contrived last boss that I can remember.


    No one mentioned Nier? Best soundtrack. Period.
    NIER had a surprisingly good soundtrack-- I liked it a lot. One of the most haunting songs I've heard in any RPG, actually, comes from NIER.

    I have a lot of JRPG OSTs that I like, and thus several composers I particularly enjoy-- Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, Hitoshi Sakimoto are the top ones for me. Some of my favorite game OSTs would be FFVI~FFXII (yeah I like them all!), FFT, Chrono Trigger/Cross, Xenogears, Xenosaga I & III. Yeah, a lot of SE franchises...but there's also Sakimoto's Valkyria Chronicles soundtracks that I like a lot. I'd also like to mention Eternal Sonata, NIER, FFXIII (it had pop songs in it?), and Legend of Dragoon (particularly the pre-title FMV/title menu), and SaGa Frontier 2 for being memorable in some way for their music to me.

    Obviously part of feelings for an OST is tied to memories for the game, but there are even soundtracks to games I've never played that I enjoy--for example, there are a number of tracks from FFXIV (listened to them on Youtube) that really get my toes tapping. I'll likely never know their context (and some of them, it's hard to believe they actually belong in FFXIV), but they are good tracks nonetheless.

    Lastly, Disgaea games get a special note from me simply for the amount of atmosphere they're provided by their music. Speaking of which... [Edit: nevermind, I got my Disgaea 4 soundtrack CD separately in the mail today--I guess they realized they didn't send me one and sent it! My faith in NISA has been restored.]
    Last edited by Just Doug; 09-24-2011 at 06:20 PM.
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    Your rss feed is messed up again. This episode is not showing up on itunes at all and even past episodes aren't showing up anymore.

    http://www.rpgamer.com/rpgsanctum/rss.xml
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    Host of The Sectorcast Rosestorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gold_guardian View Post
    Your rss feed is messed up again. This episode is not showing up on itunes at all and even past episodes aren't showing up anymore.

    http://www.rpgamer.com/rpgsanctum/rss.xml
    It's fixed.
    Last edited by Rosestorm; 09-23-2011 at 10:10 PM.
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    As for villains, I think Sepheroth is the most overrated villain ever. He has an amazing presentation, but beyond that, he's just there to be the bad guy who wants to destroy the world.

    I don't see a spoiler tag any more, and while everything I mention is at least 10 years old, just be aware there are spoilers ahead.

    Ghaleon from Lunar TSS (Sega CD, not psx) is my favorite villain of all time. He has a history in the world, an honored place at the head of the magic guild and he was one of the four great heroes. As villain, he was the first to make things personal. He used Alex to get to the Quark, whom he killed during his reveal. He kidnapped not only Luna, but later, your entire town. Meeting your parents enslaved in his mines was the last straw. Ghaleon made things personal like no other. Sadly, in the PSX remake, they add more vile tribe members, so he doesn't need to taunt you as much. They also tone down his actions. He captures the dragons instead of killing them, and enslaves the vile tribe instead of your entire home town.

    Suikoden II also had awesome villains. Luca Blight always gets first mention for his strength and cruelty. I love the sense of power they give to him just by the process to take him down. He survives 3 6vs1 battles, several rounds of archers, after which he can finally be taken down in a duel. There is also the pure glee he took in his work. Who can forget how he forced someone to act like a pig for a chance at survival, and one he had his laugh, killed them anyways.

    But Luca isn't the only villain. Leon Silverburg deserves as much recognition. He's not the big, powerful, bad guy that you fight. He's a strategist who believes that men like him use tools such as Luca Blight to make history. He's the brains behind the entire conflict, which he started just to get his name in the history books. And then there's Jowy, who, to make this short, makes the player question their perspective. Jowy is stuck playing a role that's required of him to truly end the conflict, not just the fighting, and he does it well.

    I also want to give props to Mother Brain in Phantasy Star II. The perfect example of killing with kindness. She spent generations to make the society on Motavia dependent on her, while the people built what she needed. Her influence was felt from the first moments of the game. This is especially notable for coming at a time when other RPGs couldn't must more than the bad guy in a castle for their ultimate villains.

  10. #10
    Member Zaku77's Avatar
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    Perfect timing for this! I've been really into soundtracks lately, so hopefully this gives me some new ones to get!
    Check out my fledgling youtube channel. It's small now, but if I get more subscribers I will start doing more with it, so stay tuned!

    http://www.youtube.com/user/HellDest...7?feature=mhee

  11. #11
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    FFXIII had amazing music, it kept me in the game. Without the music i would have put it down and played something else.

  12. #12
    Member zockroach's Avatar
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    This was probably my favorite Sanctum yet! Some of you have some excellent voices (I'm looking at you, Zoltan!)!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whoomp View Post
    No one mentioned Nier? Best soundtrack. Period.

    First time I have ever heard so much hate on the FFXIII soundtrack and I have heard plenty (and plenty) of hate on the game itself. Personally I think it is the absolute best since FFIX (which is my favoirte FF). Then again, I actually find the vocal parts of Sunleth Waterscape and Coccon de Choccobo to be really fitting for their specific parts in the game. Out of context they are not all that pleasant though. Also, the soundtrack was of pretty much equal quantity as all the chronological FF games since VII.

    Yuki Kajiura did the soundtrack for Xenosaga Episode 2 too and while it may not be the best one ever there are plenty of great songs in there like Communication Breakdown, Fatal Fight and Chase. She really got it right with the soundtrack for episode 3 though, just which I could muster up the will to finally finishing episode 2 so I can experience it from its source.

    I don't know about worst soundtrack but one of the most forgettable I have come across is Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter but perhaps that is because its so mellow and hardly there big chunks of the game. It's a bit sad since the soundtrack for IV had some really nice tunes. Most "Tales of" songs by Motoi Sakuraba is pretty forgettable as well, I am currently playing through Vesperia a second time and even now I can't remember a single track outside of the battle theme and the opening from the top of my head. The only standout soundtracks by him for me would be Valkyrie Profile and Star Ocean 2 and those rely heavily on nostalgia.

    A final game series whose soundtrack deserves mention would be Shadow Hearts. It's really unique and interesting especially the battle themes are awesomely twisted (such as Near Death Experience and Brain Hopper). I would really like to see some more soundtracks in this style but until someone makes another RPG with such macabre horror themes as Shadow Hearts had I don't see it happening. A real shame.
    Actually Yuki Kajiura only did the cutscene music for Episode II. Don't recall who did the actual in-game music though. Also the final boss theme for Star Ocean II is "Integral Body and Imperfect Soul". Awesome track. =D
    Some other good Star Ocean tracks would the arranged versions of "A Heavy Heart", "Sacred Ground", "Legacy from the Past", and "Every Extremity is a Vice" from Blue Sphere.

  14. #14
    Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderator ChickenGod's Avatar
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    I'll chime in here, although I didn't listen to all of it. +1 for the Star Ocean 3 praise though. Some of my favorite soundtracks include FF13, Digital Devil Saga 1+2, Ar Tonelico 2, and Persona 3. I remember a healthy amount of songs from all of these, and feel that they were all implemented very well in game. I'm also rather partial to Trails in the Sky SC's soundtrack which hasn't been localized yet. As for the villains:

    Worst Villain: Had to think about this one, as there are many good candidates. First off I'll mention SO3's Luther. Having loved Star Ocean 3 up until you learn of this guys' existence, I thought he was one of the worst villains of time. You know its sad when your plot twist changes the game from serious business into pure comedy. Really, the big bad was an angry MMO admin who was unsatisfied with his game. It doesn't get much worse than that. I'll also throw in The Killer and Lady duo from Shadow Hearts: FTNW. These villains were extremely unimposing, as one of them was completely silent and the other was a mindless killing machine with no real background. Neither of them really ever did anything besides traveling from point A to point B and stare at objects with a blank look on their faces. Literally no personality to speak of for either of them.

    Best Villains: My favorite type of villain has and always will be ones that a person can identify with. Psychopathic villains like Kefka can work, but there are very few who pull off being legitimately mentally disturbed. All too often you have antagonists who are otherwise sane that have the absolute stupidest motives for their actions. The player honestly questions how they can have accomplished whatever they did and yet still be a complete and utter moron. That said my favorites are from Ar Tonelico 2 Infel and Nenesha. Here are two people who were once literally in the same exact position you find yourself in during the game and failed to create Metafalica. Their motive is extremely understandable, the world they inhabit is literally falling apart and they tried their best yet failed to save those who inhabit it. They decide the only way to save these people from certain doom is to sublimate their conciousness through the tower. In a way this might have even been a preferred method to some as it is a method of attaining eternal life.
    Last edited by ChickenGod; 09-27-2011 at 09:50 AM.
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    too much crackling on this ep to spoil anything that was good

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    Sorry if I missed this, but I haven't had the time to listen to the full podcast yet.
    Anyway, nobody likes Tales of Legendia's OST? http://bluelaguna.net/music/tolost/mp3s.php
    It is by far the best soundtrack I've heard. Excellent jazz throughout the entire game. Sure, it's not quite as epic as a lot of other games, but they are excellent to set the mood for the game, and they all really stand out on their own as well.

    I also really like the Atelier Iris' soundtrack. The song that were played in the snowy towns just totally took me away.

    By the way, I sorta just skipped the beginning--does the talk not include wRPG? I haven't heard any song from wRPG 25min in..

  17. #17
    The Silly Adventurer Clix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xocolatl View Post
    Sorry if I missed this, but I haven't had the time to listen to the full podcast yet.
    Anyway, nobody likes Tales of Legendia's OST? http://bluelaguna.net/music/tolost/mp3s.php
    It is by far the best soundtrack I've heard. Excellent jazz throughout the entire game. Sure, it's not quite as epic as a lot of other games, but they are excellent to set the mood for the game, and they all really stand out on their own as well.

    I also really like the Atelier Iris' soundtrack. The song that were played in the snowy towns just totally took me away.

    By the way, I sorta just skipped the beginning--does the talk not include wRPG? I haven't heard any song from wRPG 25min in..
    It's more that most of us on this episode don't play wRPGs, or not many. The episode would have been very different with a different selection of guests, since our staff has become more diverse over the years.

  18. #18
    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    As one of our resident WRPGers, I probably wouldn't be much help in that department. I find a lot of modern WRPG soundtracks to be pretty unmemorable, though I have a lot of fondness in my heart for classic soundtracks like Might & Magic III and Ultima VI. Most of my favourite modern soundtracks are from JRPGs. That said, Bastion has a fabulous soundtrack, though not all the tracks are good for listening to outside the context of the game.

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    Host of The Sectorcast Rosestorm's Avatar
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    I love WRPGs, but I agree with Ocelot that I find many of their soundtracks forgettable. I love both of the Dragon Age games, but I can't remember hardly any of the music. Though the one exception for me is the soundtracks for The Witcher 1 & 2, they have some of the best wrpg soundtracks for the last 10 years in my opinion.
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  20. #20
    Releaser of Heavy Metal LegendaryZoltan's Avatar
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    It's not that WRPGs have bad music. It's that they take the cinematic approach instead of the melodic approach. Simple melodies are always more memorable than mood setting chords. But I freaking love the world music in Oblivion and all the music in Baldur's Gate 1. I can't wait to hear some viking-esque songs in Skyrim. You guys all heard the song in the trailer right?!
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