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01-03-16 02:55 PM
01-03-16 02:55 PM

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Game Review: Final Fantasy VII piano collection


01-03-16 02:55 PM
janus is Offline
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Final Fantasy VII was really the first modern RPG, not only because it looked like it was in the 20th century (rather than medieval times) but also because it really inaugurated the 32-bit era. Despite underwhelming arrangements (early PSX games did not fully exploit the machine’s capabilities) it still had memorable tracks, some of which were done with the piano. Here is my review of the album.

1- Tifa's Theme

I was never a fan of that track, but the piano version is still beautiful. One can see the evolution of piano arrangements from Final Fantasy IV. They seem to be more focus in playing the original theme than in improvising new arrangements. Beautiful overall, with a nice slow tempo.

2- Final Fantasy VII Main Theme

Main overworld themes are usually not suited for pianos, and this one is no exception. It’s too slow and does not carry the epicness of the original one, and much less of the orchestrated version. Plus, with only one instrument you have a hard time conveying all the emotions evoked with the original track. Just skip it.

3- Cinco de Chocobo

Even though the track is faithful to the original one, I thought it actually sounded better on the PSX. The piano version doesn’t translate the usual light-heartedness of the chocobo theme; it sounded better with the “flute” and the synthesized beat in the background.

4- Ahead on Our Way

THIS track profited from a piano facelift. It is much quieter and slower, perfect for the usual “quiet village” theme Final Fantasy games usually have. However, the second part is much louder, which I think spoils the track a little.

5- Those Who Fight

Most people’s favorite track from the album, and usually what Final Fantasy concerts host when playing the battle theme. While not my favorite track, it is nonetheless excellent and profits handsomely from this modern facelift. I always found the synth arrangements annoying; they are much better and quicker on the piano. The notes are loud without sounding like the pianist wants to smash the keys.

6- Valley of the Fallen Star

It has been a while since I played the game so I do not remember this track (is it Cosmo Canyon?). Nevertheless, it sounds very beautiful; the arrangements flow well together and are at just the right volume.

7- Gold Saucer

Because it is on the piano the tempo is slower than the original. However it still retains its “carnival” feel and is done very nicely. The notes are played joyfully, as one can only be happy when in a video game arcade!

8- Farm Boy

The original track sounded like it was a scene from a “Deep South” farm with its banjo. Unfortunately the piano version does not capture that feeling. The tempo is much slower, and I guess that piano is just not the right instrument to play a farm theme. Just skip it.

9- Rufus' Welcoming Ceremony

This track will forever remain special in my heart. Once upon a time I ate breakfast in a Quebec City restaurant (Manoir Victoria I believe, in their breakfast buffet) and the music I heard seemed vaguely familiar. Then, I swear to whatever you want that I heard this very track playing! I asked the waitress, “Is it just me or I am hearing the piano version of a video game track?” “Oh, it is possible, we play it because it’s relaxing.” Anyway, while it sounds less triumphant than the original track it is still excellent. It still sounds triumphant and grand, and even has a good military feel to it even without drums.

10- J-E-N-O-V-A

It is BY FAR the best track of the album, it sounds infinitely better than the original one and is one of the best piano remix ever done – I even prefer it to the orchestrated versions. Only the most skilled players can honor this excellent track with its quick tempo and loud notes (without trying to destroy the piano) that carry the drama of this “major boss battle” theme. See for yourself:

11- Aeris' Theme

While the original version sounds grander, the piano version is nevertheless good. The tempo is slow, giving more attention to Aeris’ more fragile nature. The end of the track is louder, making it sound as epic as can be with a piano.

12- One-Winged Angel

While the intro was very nice and dark (and at a decent tempo), I thought it was not quite up to the original, and much less to the orchestrated versions. The core of the loop is too slow to carry the right feelings, although the “Sephiroth” lyrics are translated well with very loud notes.

13- Descendant of Shinobi

That is Yuffie’s theme, right? I never found it interesting in the first place – I preferred the Wutai theme. But in itself the track is good. It is light and cheerful, the kind of track you would hear in a piano bar.

Final diagnosis: this album is definitely a must, if only for the JENOVA track. It will be a good addition to your collection, and adds a touch of reality to an otherwise “artificial” soundtrack.


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