Music to My Ears: Lost Odyssey

Lost Odyssey was one of those games that kinda flew under the radar. Even though it was released at a time when the 360 and PS3 were still relatively new and lacking in the RPG department, I’m not sure it got the attention it deserved.

LO was a solid, if unspectacular, game. It featured an engaging turn-based battle system with timed attacks to help keep the player engaged. The skill learning techniques were fun, but it also limited your party — when your immortal members could learn so many skills and your mortal folks were stuck with just two or three from equipment, it wasn’t a tough choice picking who to bring along. The story was decent, but where the game really excelled was in its side storytelling: a series of vignettes called “A Thousand Years of Dreams” that chronicled Kaim’s heartbreaking immortal existence.

Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi was the driving force behind Lost Odyssey, and in putting together the soundtrack for the game, he brought along a familiar face: Nobuo Uematsu. Uematsu, of course, was the mastermind behind every Final Fantasy OST through X, and he’s contributed a handful of other tracks to the series since then. More importantly, Uematsu is one of the best composers in video game history, and arguably the most recognizable.

Uematsu’s music in LO represented something of a change of pace. Limited by the technology of 8- and 16-bit video game systems, his earlier productions were much more based on melodies and ambiance, milking every last note he could out of bleeps and bloops. Fast forward 20 years, and Uematsu found himself with a full orchestra and advanced synthesizers to work with. The result is a strange hybrid of symphonic and progressive rock tracks with some piano and techno thrown in for good measure.

All of that added up to a 56-track, two-disc compilation featuring what might be Uematsu’s best work, even if it didn’t get the attention or accolades that many soundtracks from Final Fantasy did (and don’t worry, this feature will get to those eventually).

As usual with MtME, let’s take a look at five of my favorite tracks with commentary on each. Continue reading “Music to My Ears: Lost Odyssey”