Game Music, Reviews

Square Enix’s United States of Odaiba Trio: SFX, SQ Chips, and Type-0 (Review)

August 3, 2011 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Square Enix’s United States of Odaiba Trio: SFX, SQ Chips, and Type-0 (Review)on Twitter

We mentioned a few weeks back that Square Enix was preparing a trio of albums to commemorate Fuji TV’s 2011 United States of Odaiba event. These included previews of the upcoming SQ Chips album and Final Fantasy Type-0 soundtrack as well as a sound effects collection CD. I was excited for all three, and the 500 Yen asking price made them an affordable treat for anyone who could make it out to the event.

So what do they offer? While you’ll be able to enjoy SQ Chips and Final Fantasy Type-0 in their entirety in a matter of months, the Square Enix Sound Effect Collection is a release that is unique to the event.

Are they worth you putting in the effort to track them down? Find out after the jump!

Let’s start with the Square Enix Sound Effect Collection. Yes, it’s called ‘Square Enix’ despite the fact that only Squaresoft games are featured (I would have loved some Dragon Quest sound effects).  There are 99 sound effects from Final Fantasy I-III, SaGa I-III, the first Seiken Densetsu, and Hanjuku Hero. I was honestly hoping for some Chrono Trigger sound effects when this CD was announced, but it appears as though they’ve gone in chronological order starting with Final Fantasy in 1987. While the album is a neat little novelty with 4-5 second sound effects (30 seconds for the ocean sounds from the first Final Fantasy), I just can’t imagine it getting much use. Still, the packaging is pretty fancy with a neat cover and a cool design on the disc itself with a reflective silver waveform on a solid gray backing. I actually did ask about the possibility of a Sound Effect Collection Volume 2 album delving into the company’s 16-bit catalog at Comic Con and was told they may consider it depending on the demand for this album.

Next up, SQ Chips Preview Mini Album. While many of the games featured on this album have already been revealed on the album’s official website, we still don’t have a final track list. Of the five tracks featured on the SQ Chips Preview Mini Album, however, two are from Secret of Mana, giving a nod to the series’ 20th anniversary taking place this year. Artist S_S tackles the popular “Meridian Festival,” which can be heard on the official site, and rocks thoroughly, but it’s the surprisingly formidable regular boss theme from the game, “Crisis,” that has me most excited for this album. The bass-heavy arrangement is really quite fantastic. “A Place to Call Home” from Final Fantasy IX, also by S_S, is equally impressive with its decisive chord progression.  High Driver offers “Battle 2” from Final Fantasy II, adding heavy electronic percussion and glitchy effects to a track that was originally an 8-bit composition. Finally, Mitsuto Suzuki offers a preview of “chip de chocobo,” a quirky and chaotic take on the highly overdone theme.

While the packaging on this one is simply a grayscale version of the final SQ Chips artwork, the disc is printed in brilliant pink with a teal trim and text, making for a nice contrast. The inside of the cover also lists the details for the upcoming full release which is noteworthy for the low price tag of 1,890 Yen when the album is released on September 7.  You can pre-order it now at CD Japan.

I think of the three albums here, people were most excited about hearing what Final Fantasy Type-0 would offer (SQ Chips already had a streaming sample on its website). All music from Type-0 is composed and arranged by Takeharu Ishimoto, and his signature bombastic orchestral style is featured prominently in “DEMO 01” (yeah, no track titles), which sounds like an epic main theme complete with brass and the addition of chugging electric guitars towards the end. It’s powerful, but not overly memorable.

The second track is one of my favorites, working in bits of the Final Fantasy “Prelude.” While this may not sound immediately exciting to those who’ve heard this theme a few too many times over the past two decades, the arrangement here is very mature and fresh. The third and fourth tracks rock out with catchy melodies and memorable chorus sections, taking on a grungy alternative rock sound, while the final track is an impressive live orchestral piece that almost feels out of place with its adventurous melody that could be from a Kingdom Hearts game. The packaging on this one isn’t anything special, featuring an image of the main characters from the game along with Type-0’s logo.  Still, if this preview has you interested in the full album, the limited edition is available for pre-order from CD Japan.

It’s nice to see Square Enix treating its fans to previews of some of their upcoming releases, and it’s even greater that they’ve done so at an affordable price of 500 Yen a pop. Unfortunately, as usual, fans outside of Japan have very little chance of ever getting their hands on these. That’s okay though, as SQ Chips and Final Fantasy Type-0 will be out in no time. These just wet the appetite for the main course which I’m looking forward to even more now. The Square Enix Sound Effect Collection CD is a neat little concept, but until they get into their 16-bit catalog and beyond, I doubt fans will have much use for the CD.

What do you think of the trio? Which of the three releases are you most interested in?

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