JRPGs are known for a number of things, one of the prominent ones being their soundtrack. One of the most popular and well-known JRPG series is the Final Fantasy series. Each Final Fantasy has a unique soundtrack, with a few memorable tracks that will stir up some serious emotions within you (along with nostalgia, if you played the games years ago).
In fact, the Final Fantasy series has such great music that it has given rise to Distant Worlds, an orchestral concert that has gained a lot of popularity and is attended by thousands of people around the world every year at various locations. It is also interesting to note that Aerith’s Theme from Final Fantasy VII made it’s way into the Classic FM Hall of Fame, and is the first video game track to achieve this.
Here, I have selected what I believe to be the best song from each Final Fantasy soundtrack.
Final Fantasy I – Opening Theme
This track is simply iconic. A lot of people have not played the first Final Fantasy, but they’ve heard this track. Granted, this track has been repeated in other Final Fantasy games as well, but it originally belongs to the first one. This track defines Final Fantasy.
Honorable mention: Main Theme
Final Fantasy II – Main Theme
Unlike other series, each Final Fantasy has a different Main Theme, since each game is different. This particular track has a certain ‘fantasy’ feel to it. It makes you feel like you’re an adventurer, getting ready for an epic journey that awaits you.
Honorable Mention: Rebel Army Theme
Final Fantasy III – The Boundless Ocean
Although this is a very nice track, and quite soothing too, it has remain unrecognized. This is mainly because Final Fantasy III was not released in the West until much later when most fans were no longer interested in an old Final Fantasy.
Honorable Mention: Crystal Cave
Final Fantasy IV – Theme of Love
Beautiful. That is the only word that comes to mind when I listen to this. This is something you’d play at your wedding.
Honorable Mention: Battle with the Four Fiends
Final Fantasy V – Main Theme
Final Fantasy V wasn’t one of my favourite games, but this track definitely deserves praise. In some ways, it’s like a ‘typical’ JRPG track – and that’s a good thing.
Honorable Mention: The Decisive Battle
Final Fantasy VI – Terra’s Theme
In some ways, this seems majestic. In others, mysterious. But in all, a fantastic track.
Honorable Mention: Phantom Forest
Final Fantasy VII – One Winged Angel
This one game is the reason I didn’t want to write this article. Final Fantasy VII has a great number of amazing tracks and it’s hellishly difficult to select one. I’ve selected One – Winged Angel because it was the first track in the series to use vocals and has become something of a trademark. You know something bad-ass is about to go down when this tune plays. Nonetheless, I feel really guilty for leaving out other superb tracks. They will receive honorable mentions though, so do check them out.
Final Fantasy VIII – Don’t Be Afraid
I’ve heard a lot of battle themes from various games. This one easily makes it to my Top 5. This is just what a battle theme should be like; it should motivate you to keep the battle going!
Honorable Mentions: Eyes on Me, Liberi Fatali
Final Fantasy XI – Not Alone
This game brought Final Fantasy back to it’s proper ‘Fantasy’ roots, and this music is proof of that. It reminds you that this is a fantasy game. It may have sci-fi elements and what not, but at the end of the day, it is still fantasy.
Honorable Mentions: Crossing Those Hills, Pandemonium, Silver Dragon
Final Fantasy X – A Fleeting Dream
Many would argue that Zanarkand is the best track from Final Fantasy X, but I disagree. Zanarkand may be beautiful, but this is something out of a dream. The track plays when the party reaches the Zanarkand ruins, and everyone knows that Yuna’s life is about to come to an end. That part was very emotional, owing to this track.
Final Fantasy XI – Ronfaure
I know that a lot of fans didn’t play XI (mainly because it was online, required a monthly fees and was a little different in comparison to other Final Fantasies), but that doesn’t mean that it’s music is inferior. Ronfaure is a nice, serene track that reminds me of medieval fantasy, instead of ‘Final’ Fantasy. It’s still a track worthy of praise though.
Honorable Mention: One Last Time
Final Fantasy XII – The Dalmasca Estersand
An interesting track. It reminds me of the fun, yet dangerous battles of Final Fantasy XII in the Estersands. T-Rex, anyone?
Honorable Mention: Theme of the Empire, Main Theme
Final Fantasy XIII – Dust to Dust
Final Fantasy XIII had a few good tracks, but most of them sounded similar. Dust to Dust is different and carries a certain sense of serenity with it. It’s one of the few good things about the game.
Final Fantasy XIV – Answers
This seemed weird to me at first, but it fits the final cutscene of the game perfectly. Final Fantasy XIV was a bad game, but it’s soundtrack was remarkable, with this one being quite unique.
Honorable Mention: Twilight over Thanalan
We have Masashi Hamauzu to thank for the music from Final Fantasy XIII and the legendary Nobou Uematsu to offer our hearts to, for such spectacular music over the years.
Other noteworthy tracks from side-line Final Fantasies:
Eternity – Final Fantasy X-2
Price of Freedom – Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Pure Fire – Final Fantasy Type-0
What are your favourite tracks from the Final Fantasy series? Let us know in the comments below.