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  #361  
Old 09-27-2017, 08:37 AM
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One-Winged Angel is what's usually focused on, but the entire final stretch of the game is just full of great tracks. Judgement Day, Jenova Absolute and Birth of a God hone in on that certain mixed sense of melancholy and cosmic awe that fuels much of Final Fantasy VII's atmosphere and setting. A really strong note to head to the climax with.

I don't agree that it's an uneven work, or struggling against its sound technology—the interplay of artificiality and alien otherness juxtaposed with natural beauty and tenderness is what's at the heart of the game, and the music performs admirably at capturing both. Uematsu would chafe against outdated soundfonts later in his career, but not here.
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  #362  
Old 09-27-2017, 09:03 AM
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#23 — Nier: Automata
164 points • 6 mentions • Highest rank: #2 (Adrenaline, Thraeg, Zef)

Featured Track:

The Weight of the World


Amusement ParkA Beautiful SongCity RuinsFortress of Lies

Composed by:

Keiichi Okabe
Keigo Hoashi
Kuniyuki Takahashi

Platforms: Playstation 4, PC • Release date: February 23, 2017
In the Nier future…

When Nier: Automata was announced, I was quite excited. Not so much because of the game itself, but because it meant another excellent soundtrack would be forthcoming. See, I hadn't (and still haven't) played Nier… but I did listen to its soundtrack, enough that it's become a bona fide favourite of mine. So I greeted Automata's announcement as if it were an upcoming, long-awaited follow-up album— perhaps fitting, since it's technically credited to Okabe's band, MONACA.

Maybe that's not the worst way to approach Automata's music, though. According to Okabe, Yoko gave him no real direction, only saying "do what you think is the best for this title"; by some indication, Okabe didn't even know when or where a song would play. That Okabe is writing in the dark is likely why players remark on the curious (and striking) juxtaposition between the music and what's happening on screen… and also, why the soundtrack works so well on its own merits.

Compared to the first game's soundtrack, Automata is more stylistically consistent; every track is within his classical-influenced style (now with a light electronic touch, to suit the setting) and slots in neatly alongside one another. But don't mistake this for a lack of creativity or ambition. Automata brings in a host of new vocalists, each of whom contribute different textures to the music: compare, for instance, the use of vocals in "City Ruins - Rays of Light" (sung by J'Nique Nicole) versus "City Ruins - Shade" (sung by Emi Evans).

nother contrast can be seen in "Amusement Park" and "A Beautiful Song"— which play one-after-the-other both in-game and on the soundtrack. "Amusement Park" sounds appropriately like a carnival— from its accordion to its swaying rhythm that calls to mind a carousel— but also has an air of mystery that's accentuated by Emi Evans' airy voice and unintelligible lyrics. Then comes "A Beautiful Song", which turns up the heat considerably, swaps out Evans for J'Nique Nicole, whose deeper and more confident vocals are much more appropriate (to say nothing of the operatic chorus). It's hard to imagine either song being as good without their respective singers.

The most marked departure, however, is Automata's expansion into atmospheric, ambient tracks. I think this are some of the most important songs in the soundtrack; they're evocative in ways the vocal tracks aren't, and do a great job at establishing the mood and setting. Also, on the soundtrack release, they serve as a sort of palette cleanser and prelude to help those big vocal songs really pop. ("Forest of Lies", "The Color of Depression")

Several tracks from the original reappear in arranged form, such as fan favourites "Dark Colossus" and "Song for the Ancients". My personal favourite arrangement, though, is "Emil - Despair", which takes the original to new heights.

Despite its length (3 CDs!), I think Automata's soundtrack flows better as a standalone album than the original Nier.

The featured track is "The Weight of the World", which is effectively the game's theme song. A piano pop song, it's sung from 2B's perspective of her insecurities and optimism. It's the kind of song that could easily be too cloying and schmaltzy in the wrong hands, but vocalist J'Nique Nicole handles it masterfully, lending true weight (heh) to the song. The chorus is particularly good: "I hope that someway, somehow / That I could save every one of us / But the truth is that I'm only one girl." I understand it's the credit song in-game, and I bet it's absolutely wonderful there; it certainly makes for an excellent closing track.

"Weight of the World" actually exists in three (main) versions, each with a different singer and language: J'Nique Nicole sings the English version, as I went over; Marina Kawano sings the Japanese version; and returning vocalist Emi Evans sings a version in her own made-up-but-vaguely-French language. (There's also a fourth that's a combination of the others). None of them, it must be said, are replacements of each other: all three exist both Japanese and English copies of the game, and moreover, each have their own distinct performances. The Japanese version is extremely pessimistic, to the point Kawano is singing through tears by the end of it, while Evans is as ethereal and opaque as usual. All three are worth a listen.

~ conchobhar
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  #363  
Old 09-27-2017, 09:15 AM
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You know, for what it's worth, i didn't really love the original Nier soundtrack. It's full of great tracks but nothing really grabs me. Probably makes sense that I chose Fortress of Lies. Probably the first time in the two games that something really grabbed me. Maybe also worth mentioning that my other consideration was 8bit Sound of the End.

now just waiting for the weg tribute
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  #364  
Old 09-27-2017, 09:19 AM
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now just waiting for the weg tribute
This needs to happen.
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  #365  
Old 09-27-2017, 09:36 AM
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Very glad this made it in. Confident in calling it a masterwork, and hell of a follow-up to something that was already precious for existing. J'Nique Nicole's addition as a main vocalist is so crucial to Automata's sound, and I'm glad they weren't content to just let Evans take the lead for most tracks again. Linking particular tracks feels slightly futile now, because the soundtrack is so consistently good in spite of its expansive nature. Treasure it all.
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  #366  
Old 09-27-2017, 10:48 AM
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I picked "Amusement Park" because it jumped out when I first heard it and I still love it, but "The Weight of the World" is definitely the most important song. Especially the way they use it in Ending E. The music makes the whole thing work.
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  #367  
Old 09-27-2017, 10:52 AM
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I'm conflicted with OSTs like Nier: Automata's. Like they are full of songs with really beautiful vocals, but at the same time it feels they don't fit into a game. It actually changes the whole game's feeling from "I need to focus and save the world" to "I just chill, listen to good music and play a good game all at the same time".

Of course if we are just rating OSTs standalone here, it's definitely one of the best.

Last edited by Rya; 09-27-2017 at 12:58 PM.
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  #368  
Old 09-27-2017, 10:56 AM
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Final Fantasy 7 was also in the middle of my list (which I didn't submit) and also wasn't my highest FF. There are a lot of tracks I love though. I really like the music around cosmo canyon. I love the battle music. I like the chill costa del sol music. Gold saucer is perfect for some crazy theme park music. I like Aerith's theme... Lots of good music and good variety. I don't really enjoy the JENOVA music or the stuff that plays at Shinra tower or much of any of the bad guy music. Its fitting and helps set the scene, I just don't enjoy listening to it.

I also like a lot of covers of FFVII's tracks (which don't suffer the old synthy sounds). Brentalfloss's FFVII with lyrics is fun. A band I saw at a convention, Random Encounter, does a mashup of One Winged Angel and Purple Haze that is... interesting

I haven't played N:A at this time and I haven't listened to much of the music, so I didn't vote for it, but I have enjoyed what I've heard and I intend to play it at some point.
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  #369  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Rya View Post
Of course if er are just rating OSTs standalone here
It's however you want it to be!
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  #370  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Taeryn View Post
Gold saucer is perfect for some crazy theme park music.
My main beef with Gold Saucer is that, like "real" theme park music, it gets old fast. And you listen to that song a lot.

That's one of my main issues with the FFVII track - I find many songs tiring after a while. The synth is part of that, but also has to with the composition. There's only so much "Anxious Heart" i can take before I need to put something more cheery... This is both an strength and a weakness of the OST as a whole!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rya
It actually changes the whole game's feeling from "I need to focus and save the world" to "I just chill, listen to good music and play a good game all at the same time".
There are games - and soundtracks - that want you to feel both! I'm really curious what you'll think of my personal #1...
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  #371  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Hazama Kuro View Post
Oh man, I didn't think Suikoden 1 would show up since II already did. This is the one I voted for! It's incredible, and I love the variety of styles and instruments used.
Yeah. Suikoden II is fantastic, but Suikoden I is even better, when it comes to the music. As a game it hasn't aged as well as Suikoden II has, but the music is the one aspect which has lasted oh so well. This is where a lot of the tone for the whole series was set, and in music I feel the later entries always tried to imitate the successes of the very first one, while in gameplay they lean more heavily on the advancements made in Suikoden II.

All in all, this is a very powerful pair of soundtracks, and like with the games, probably best played back to back.
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  #372  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Positronic Brain View Post
My main beef with Gold Saucer is that, like "real" theme park music, it gets old fast. And you listen to that song a lot.

That's one of my main issues with the FFVII track - I find many songs tiring after a while. The synth is part of that, but also has to with the composition. There's only so much "Anxious Heart" i can take before I need to put something more cheery... This is both an strength and a weakness of the OST as a whole!
You aren't wrong. Its always a challenge for an RPG where the music loops around a lot. After about 100 random battles, that opening of battle music starts to get associated with frustration. Certainly something like Gold Saucer, which loops around in a quick little tune is catchy but gets old fast.

I still really enjoy as someone who's not currently playing it and can just load up a cover on youtube and then move on.
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  #373  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:22 AM
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If you're just playing through the game, you don't hear Gold Saucer's music that much. If you're trying to raise a Gold Chocobo, however, you'd be better off muting the game and putting on a CD instead. Otherwise Gold Saucer and chocobos with banjos is all you'll be hearing for a week straight, and that way lies madness.
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  #374  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:22 AM
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#22 — Persona 5
166 points • 6 mentions • Highest rank: #1 (Positronic Brain)

Featured Track:

Life Will Change


Beneath The MaskWake Up, Get Up, Get Out There
The Whims of FateWillpower

Composed by:

Shoji Meguro
Toshiki Konishi
Kenichi Tsuchiya
Atsushi Kitajoh
Ryota Koduka

Platforms: PS3 / PS4 • Release date: September 15, 2016
You’ll never see it coooooomi ~ *gunshot*


Usually in these lists I try not to include anything too recent, because who knows how will it age? But this soundtrack is so good that I just decided to ignore that rule.

Shoji Meguro’s Persona compositions usually revolve around a mix of rock and some other genre. He doesn’t shy away from vocal tracks, either, usually all of them sung by the same person and with lyrics that don’t stray from the themes of the game. He chooses a few solid leitmotifs and weaves them masterfully into the tracks. The end result are soundtracks with a rich but very cohesive personality..

Persona 5’s genre is acid jazz, perfect for a game set in modern day Tokyo. This style is most prominently in display in “Beneath The Mask”, a subdued song with vocals by Lyn, perfect for those calm nights that you’ll spend exploring the city. Like many other tracks, this song has several variations - in this case, a moody one for those rainy days, and an instrumental one for nights when the presence of lyrics is too much, focusing instead on the melody underneath.

The entire soundtrack is full of jewels like that - songs that just never get old, all of them creating a single, very cohesive texture. All the songs have great instrumentation and they feel as if you were the privileged witness to an improvised jam session (and good lord, that bass - do yourself a favor and listen to the tracks with a good set of headphones). But don’t think that they are all calm, no. One of the main themes of the game is “youthful rebellion”, and that theme is full on display in the lyrics of the opening theme, “Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There”, with an energetic melody that dares you to do just that. How about the excellent and playful “The Whims of Fate”, the background music to a casino-themed dungeon where the singer taunts you to roll the dice? And in case you miss your rock anthems, the boss battle theme “Willpower” will scratch that itch.

Our featured track is “Life Will Change”. This is the first song you hear in-game, right as you’re running through the opening level and facing some mysterious mooks. The lyrics carry the theme of rebellion (even sharing phrases with “Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There”) while the melody leaves you little doubt that, yes, time is running out - for your enemies! It is a treasure of a motivational song, so it is not a surprise that it is used later in some situations where the stakes are high and personal.

But there are plenty of more great melodies in this soundtrack. How about the day exploration theme “Tokyo Daylight”, highlighting Lyn’s great vocal performance. The rhythmic beats of the dungeon theme “Price” are so catchy.... The orchestral “Swear To My Bones” works great on its own, and it is unforgettable in-game. Hell, even the recovery item store theme is excellent (“Butterfly Kiss”) - pay particular attention to how the track changes at 0:45. Aaaahhh, that’s the stuff.

But the greatest achievement is that the soundtrack never gets old. I’ve listened to this soundtrack dozens of times, both on its own and as part of a 177 gaming session, and I still can’t have enough of it. Even with the repetition from having several versions of the same songs, this one is one the most fun and satisfying tracks to listen to both in and out of the game.

~ Positronic Brain
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  #375  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:26 AM
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By the way, it's true that when I walk around my city I usually heard headphones, but you can't prove I'm listening to a playlist of nothing but Persona 5 exploration themes
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  #376  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:26 AM
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Huh. I've never played a Nier or a Persona but what I've heard from them is pretty good. My only knock against Persona games is they started the whole "lyrics during battles" trend and while the Persona series itself pulls it off, the trend overall has been a net negative.
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  #377  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Issun View Post
Huh. I've never played a Nier or a Persona but what I've heard from them is pretty good. My only knock against Persona games is they started the whole "lyrics during battles" trend and while the Persona series itself pulls it off, the trend overall has been a net negative.
I can't be mad at any trend that gave us the Blue Dragon boss music.
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  #378  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:33 AM
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My only knock against Persona games is they started the whole "lyrics during battles" trend
I guess you never saw it coming
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  #379  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
I guess you never saw it coming
You sit in the corner and think about what you've just done.
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  #380  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:40 AM
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My only knock against Persona games is they started the whole "lyrics during battles" trend and while the Persona series itself pulls it off, the trend overall has been a net negative.
Pulling off "lyrics during dungeons" without them getting tiresome is one hell of a greater achievement.
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  #381  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:44 AM
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Never saw it coming.
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  #382  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:47 AM
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I've been out of town all week and haven't been able to keep up but hey something I voted for finally showed up! Final Fantasy 7 was the lowest ranked FF on my list but it was there nonetheless. And "J-E-N-O-V-A" was my chosen track. So good.
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  #383  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:56 AM
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I'm so happy that both NieR: Automata and Persona 5 made the cut. I voted for both, but I ranked them both lower than I would have otherwise because they just came out this year. They're both tremendous background music and great to listen to at work, on a walk, wherever, but also deeply attached to the games they're from.

As an aside, I'm now poring over the list I sent in, trying to pick out which games I voted for that are looking unlikely to make it given the ringers we're already seeing.
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  #384  
Old 09-27-2017, 12:10 PM
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I didn't vote for Persona 5 as at this point I'm kind of super tired of Meguro's compositional quirks and stylings when it comes to Persona but there's still a certain affection for some of its tracks. The Days When My Mother Was There is a standout dungeon theme (partly meaning: no vocals) and Layer Cake displays his adeptness at groovy shop themes.
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  #385  
Old 09-27-2017, 12:43 PM
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I somehow managed to overlook this BEST OF thread entirely, and now I'm really REALLY hoping someone out there held out a torch for KILLER7
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  #386  
Old 09-27-2017, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozacrot View Post
As an aside, I'm now poring over the list I sent in, trying to pick out which games I voted for that are looking unlikely to make it given the ringers we're already seeing.
Looking at mine, six have made it so far and there's ten left that I'm pretty darn sure will show up.
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  #387  
Old 09-27-2017, 01:01 PM
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Did Persona really start the lyrics on battle music trend?

I always thought Disgaea did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcBfdFn0sU8
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  #388  
Old 09-27-2017, 01:10 PM
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#21 — The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
167 points • 7 mentions • Highest rank: #4 (Healy)

Featured Track:

Dark World

Lost WoodsBattle with Ganon

Composed by:

Koji Kondo

Platform: Super Nintendo • Release date: November 21, 1991
Koji Kondo's proudest achievement: The chicken noises (no, really)


Link to the Past is often hailed as one of the greatest Zelda games of all time. Certainly, it is one of the most important; serving as both a return to form after Zelda II, while also representing a major step forward for the series and its identity. The soundtrack is no different; after an absence in Zelda II, Koji Kondo returns to the series, seemingly on a mission to take the series' music to unseen heights. Armed with the Super Nintendo's sampling capabilities, Kondo assembled a synthesized orchestral sound, befitting of any fantasy work.

Right from the beginning, Link to the Past makes an impression. Heading out from his hut in the middle of a storm to answer the Zelda's telepathic pleas, Link is accompanied by "Time of the Falling Rain"— a song that's tense and dreary, but that periodically gives way to a hopeful melody within. Link then braves the grand, regal and imposing Hyrule Castle, making his way to the castle's jail to rescue the Princess. For a series that stuck to straightforward adventure and dungeon themes, the whole prologue sequence is as if Kondo is flexing his musical muscles and showing just what Link to the Past has in store.

Consider also this game's Lost Woods. Redesigned as a confusing tangle of trees blanketed in a heavy fog, it's awarded its own theme song as well. A simple piece lead by a flute, it has a certain mystique to it that suits the area nicely; much more appropriate than the overworld theme still blaring in a land of confusion.

Another example of Kondo's new approach is the Hyrule Field overworld theme. It's a remix of the original Zelda's overworld theme, but— thanks to the Super Nintendo— it's given a lavish new treastment: getting a harder edge, but sounding more heroic and triumphant than before. This also marks the overworld theme's first of many returns— setting the stage for its legacy.

In fact, the establishment of a musical legacy is a big part of Link to the Past. This game served as the introduction to several songs that would become mainstays: "File Select/Fairy Fountain", "Zelda's Lullaby", "Kakariko Village", "Hyrule Castle" and "Ganon's Theme". Just as Link to the Past defined the series' dungeon design and mythos, so too did it define its music.

Our featured track is the theme of the Dark World. "Dark World" is the second (actually third) overworld theme in the game, but it's definitely the most memorable one. Part of that owes to the way it's introduced, with Link being dragged into the Dark World by Agahnim and finding himself on top of a massive pyramid, as the theme blares in the background. But most of it, I think, owes to the song itself, namely its drums. Their steady marching beat gives it a militaristic quality, but the quick tempo adds an air of adventure to it. Consequently, the song can conjure both images simultaneously, which suits the Dark World perfectly: it's dangerous, to be sure… but it's a whole new world of adventure. Literally.

Despite its popularity among fans, "Dark World" never became a musical mainstay of the series. It took until 2004's Four Swords Adventures before "Dark World" made its second appearance, in a very reserved arrangement. But it's been on a bit of an upswing since then, appearing in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. 4 in all-new remixes. But of course, the most prominent later use of "Dark World" is in Link between Worlds, where it serves as the field theme in Lorule. Because Lorule isn't a dark world, per se, it has a bit of a different tone to it: less mysterious, more upbeat, yet— I think— with a tinge of sadness to it. It's a great arrangement, at any rate.

~ conchobhar
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  #389  
Old 09-27-2017, 01:15 PM
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I'm not big Zelda fan, but I love the OST of A Link to the Past. I listened to the OST without ever playing the game. Dark World is my favorite too. It has such a unique sound to it.
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  #390  
Old 09-27-2017, 01:33 PM
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I'm personally quite fond of the tune for the mountain and forest in the dark world, or as I like to call it "I find your lack of farts disturbing"

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