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The Way To My Heart: Square Enix Music Sampler CD Vol. 3 From TGS 2008 (Review)

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Call me behind the times, but I never realized Square Enix had put out so many music samplers and promo discs at their various events over the years. The annual Square Enix Party events and recent Tokyo Game Shows have each featured their own unique collections of music given to attendees as a preview of upcoming soundtrack releases from Square Enix.

So, what did they have in store for fans at the Tokyo Game Show this year? The Square Enix Music Sampler CD Vol. 3 of course, featuring music from both released and unreleased titles from the Square Enix catalogue. While the packaging isn’t as elaborate as the Square Enix Party 2007 CD (awesome!), the collection of six tunes do get me excited about a couple of Square Enix’s upcoming albums.

Hit the jump for impressions of Square Enix’s snazzy sampler.

The disc actually starts with its strongest track, courtesy of Masashi Hamauzu, who I see as the number one person over at Square Enix these days. The track, titled “Hope Given ‘Dance of the Dog’s Howl’” sports electronic percussion, violins, and clean electric pianos and synthesized tones that have come to define Hamauzu’s distinctive style. This is a groovy track, and the fact that the soundtrack is already out in Japan means those who are interested won’t have to wait to pick this one up. I can’t wait to see what he does with Final Fantasy XIII.

Next up is “Supernal Epic” from the recently released Infinite Undiscovery soundtrack, composed by Motoi Sakuraba. This soundtrack is available in North America through the Square Enix Store, so having listened to large portions of the score already, I’m not quite sure why they decided to highlight this track.  It definitely demonstrates that the album takes an orchestral approach rather than the progressive rock style that Sakuraba is most known for. Sakuraba handles the following track as well, titled “The Accused One” from the Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume soundtrack that was actually released today in Japan. It sounds like… Valkyrie Profile, but with some live guitar work, which is impressive for a DS title.

Tsuyoshi Sekito is up next with “Reversal!,” a typical sounding rock track from The Last Remnant. Even for rock fans, I don’t know if this track in particular is going to get you excited about the game’s soundtrack. Next is an arrangement of Uematsu’s Final Fantasy XI track, “Ronfaure,” arranged by Yuzo Takahashi for the upcoming Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales soundtrack due out in December. I love me some “Ronfaure,” but the arrangement is pretty straightforward, and sounds like a downgraded version of the original.

The last track is from the highly anticipated Dissidia: Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack, which will be scored by Takeharu Ishimoto. This album will apparently be out in December as well, and this unnamed track has a distinct live quality to it, although I’ll admit the recording doesn’t sound as polished as some of the other Square Enix live projects I’ve heard. The piece begins with “Prelude” before moving into an intense orchestral segment. From here, things quiet down with an interesting pairing of the orchestra with deep rhythmic percussion. This sounds like it’s supposed to be a main theme of sorts, as it drives home the message of an impending conflict, but I can’t say that it’s overly memorable.

So there you have it. There are some encouraging signs here regarding recent and upcoming releases from Square Enix, and also some straightforward previews that don’t exactly inspire me to break my wallet in the coming months.  Definitely keep an eye out for Final Fantasy XIII, and try out Sigma Harmonics to hold you over in the meantime. These sampler discs are definitely pretty sweet, and are a good sign that Square Enix is actively promoting its musicians and soundtrack releases. Try getting your hands on some of these if you can, as they’re sure to become collector’s items.

Are there any Square Enix soundtrack that you’ve looking forward to in the coming months? Do you think some of these Square Enix Music samplers are pretty cool?

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