It’s another music post, internet. I know how much you enjoy them, and by that I mean I have no idea how much you enjoy them, but what are you going to do? Today I want to look at the music from a particular game: Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. This game is arguable the most successful addition in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII depending on how much you enjoyed Advent Children. An action RPG released for the PSP back when the PSP still had a shot of being relevant, Crisis Core managed to be a pretty good game even if it depended too much on Final Fantasy VII in order to push its story forward and obtain the emotional impact it wanted. However, the one thing that always stuck out in my mind in Crisis Core was how inconsistent its music is. Some of the tracks are excellent, while others are embarrassingly bad. Today I want to look at some of Crisis Core’s finer pieces, while also highlighting the total garbage that players had to deal with.
Do note, there will be some spoilers, but there really isn’t anything to spoil for those who have played the original Final Fantasy VII, which I assume is everyone.
|Inconsistent, like the entirety of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.
Good – The Price of Freedom
Let’s start this post off with by far the best track from Crisis Core. Bits and pieces of this melody score quite a bit of the main tracks, meaning when you finally get to the full piece at the end, it carries considerably more weight. This weight comes in at the most impactful time, as the track kicks in with Zack, the protagonist’s sacrifice at the end of the game. The whole thing is extremely well done, from the harsh violins to the acoustic guitar. It’s all very heroic, which is exactly what it’s meant to be, as a final realization of Zack’s dream.
Bad – Combat
Do you remember Final Fantasy VII’s combat theme? If you don’t, it’s pretty damn good and epic. We get the most intimate Final Fantasy VII spinoff only to receive one of the worst battle themes ever made. I don’t even begin to understand what happened. Did you listen to The Price of Freedom? How can a game that has that track have battle music that is so horrible. There is no melody here, just garbled attempts at something I can’t even imagine.
Good – Burden of Truth
This theme is the opposite of The Price of Freedom. Instead of being the major payoff piece, this track serves to underscore the inherent tragedy of the whole game. After all, from the first minute, players are aware that Zack isn’t going to make it through the game. No matter what his intentions or dreams are, he is going to die, and this somber theme acts to highlight that knowledge.
Bad – The Summoned
This is a boss theme of the game, and isn’t quite as bad as the main battle theme. It acts as a remix of the Final Fantasy VII boss theme, but it does the worst thing that remixes have a habit of doing: devolution into random heavy metal. Seriously, when the theme starts, it all sounds like its going to be awesome, but then as it goes further and further on, you start to realize that there is no payoff. It’s just the composer playing with themselves as they throw together a random heavy metal bridge in order to be different. This is so common in remixes that it hurts. There is no style or substance here, just sound for better or for worse.
Good – The World’s Enemy
Every Final Fantasy VII fan knew that a One-Winged Angel remix was going to be included in this game. After all, Sephiroth is at his prime as the hero of the Shinra army. Unlike The Summoned, whoever arranged this remix did it with considerably more care, and significantly less ego. There is no prolonged break for metal masturbation. Instead, what we have is a much tighter, more action oriented version of One-Winged Angel. Of the many versions of this song, this is one of the best and that’s saying something.
Bad – Chaotic Battlefield
I really need to stop picking on the battle themes, but they were designed by someone who doesn’t know what a melody is, instead favouring a random placement of electric guitar and drums with a dash or synthesizer. Looking at the Youtube comments, there are fans of this kind of music, but once again, I point to the original Final Fantasy battle theme, and the rest of the main themes from this game, and ask why are these battle themes so out of place. They might work in a different game, but they just don’t make any sense here.
Good – The Shrouded Village
I’m going to end this list with Crisis Core’s take on the Nibelheim theme. It isn’t really a remix as it’s entirely faithful to the original, but this arrangement is probably my favourite in the Crisis Core soundtrack. Before this, I never realized how hauntingly beautiful this theme is, and it hits you so much harder in Crisis Core than Final Fantasy VII because of the added nostalgia element as well as the feeling of impending doom. This theme is a great calm before the storm theme, and it was good that they didn’t saturate it with random techno for the sake of having a remix.
Well that’s it, internet. Another music post come and gone. There are plenty of themes other than the battle themes which aren’t any good, but I chose to highlight them because I found them particularly egregious. There seemed to be two sides to this soundtrack. One of them was striving for a melodic masterpiece, and the other one was trying for background music so generic that Call of Duty wouldn’t accept it. As such, Crisis Core is wildly inconsistent in its music, which is a shame because when it’s good, it’s very good.
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer