The Themes & Tracks That Define The Many Final Fantasy Games

With the release of Final Fantasy XV on PC, I feel that I should fill this week up with some Final Fantasy truth bombs. I’ve done a video about the best and worst numbered Final Fantasy games. Now let’s talk about the musical track that defines their respective entries.

Because these game’s soundtracks are so good, it’s not that hard to pick one theme or significant tune that symbolizes that entry’s place in the JRPG world. There’s always that one song that clicks in your head, the one that reminds you of the good and bad times of an FF game.

These are my personal choices of songs that clicked with me when I play a specific entry. Your choices may vary; let us know which tunes did that to you on this here article and Kakuchopurei’s Facebook page.

Also, it’ll be a while until I can do something Final Fantasy-related, so cut me some slack.

Final Fantasy I – “Overworld Theme”

The first Final Fantasy title didn’t have a lot to work with. So Nobuo Uematsu made up a simple inspiring and adventure-laden theme that set the stage of FF1’s heroics and eventual time-travelling nonsense.

Final Fantasy II – “Rebel Army”

The theme that plays when you end up in the rebel camp fighting against the Palamecia empire is rather uplifting. However, it’s probably the only motivating tune since the game’s overworld theme and every other piece of music that isn’t from a town is dark and dread-inducing.

Final Fantasy III – “Eternal Wind”

Honestly, it wasn’t until part IV where things got interesting and that Nobuo Uematsu’s potential was fully realized with better sound chips. But hey, you get some nice minimalistic gems like this overworld theme.

Final Fantasy IV – “Main Theme”

The ballad of Cecil Harvey, all crammed into one motivating-yet-insurmountable-odds-filled theme.

Final Fantasy V – “Ahead On Our Way”

As soon as I press the start button on the PS1, this song played. And holy crap I was already hyped to see where this chocobo-riding hero will take me. This tune from Nobuo Uematsu is just so inspiring and sets the light-hearted swashbuckling tone of this entry. Is it any wonder why I used this theme for my Nobuo Uematsu tribute video?

P.S: If you haven’t seen that video, go watch it here and give it some love, thanks.

Final Fantasy VI – “Omen”

What’s the best way to start one of Square Enix’s masterclass JRPG? With escalating organs, duh! Before you press the start button, you’re treated to a scary and shocking little number that sets the dark tone of the game. Then you proceed to the narration that shows a world that’s pretty messed up, then get treated to a title crawl with a music of hope amidst the bleakest of times.

This is FFVI’s Omen, and it is perhaps one of THE most epic ways to start off a JRPG journey.

Final Fantasy VII – “Opening Theme, Bomb Mission”

This one’s a no-brainer. That intro at the start of the game along with the musical build-up, leading to a climactic terrorist moment from your heroes (still subjective at this point in the game); it all clicks.

Final Fantasy VIII – “Man With The Machine Gun”

FFVIII was bold, crazy, and most importantly fun. The game took standard JRPG conventions and flipped them upside its head. How else is it going to follow up after the juggernaut that is FFVII?

This theme for secondary protagonist Laguna Loire perfectly encapsulates the thrill ride and bold new direction it has taken the series to. It’s a great mix of disco pop, techno, and video game synths all rolled into one infectiously catchy battle theme. Sometimes I just let this Laguna battle theme play on, monsters killing me be damned.

Final Fantasy IX – “Crossing That Hill”

Once you’re out of that damn castle, this music kicks in. This song just says “yep this FF throwback game is your oyster. Try not to get killed by all the huge number of random encounters we’re going to throw at you!”

Final Fantasy X – “The Sight Of Spira”

The changing of the guard was official. Junya and Masashi Hamauzu are taking charge of FF’s music from here on out after Uematsu passed some leitmotifs over. Personally, this one set the stage of FFX for me; the sombre nature of the game’s story is played out bit by bit with this “Suteki Da Ne” melody prelude. With ukuleles.

Final Fantasy XI – “The Sanctuary Of Zi’Tah”

The best game music that defines an RPG are usually the ones that set the tone for the whole series. Nothing quite beats this FFXI flute-and-guitar-heavy “kampung” ditty.

Final Fantasy XII – “Giza Plains”

This Final Fantasy took some bold steps in being different. A fresh cast, a fresh take on the existing world of Ivalice, a new open world to explore and fight seamless battles in; this deserves a soundtrack unlike any other. Hitoshi Sakimoto and his Basiscape crew pulled off all the stops in filling the world of Ivalice with breathtaking orchestra and grand-sounding tunes like our pick: Giza Plains.

It starts off whimsical and playful, then bombards you with brass and epic overtures. Just like the rest of the soundtrack, FFXII’s music plays with your expectations and then surprises you in the best way possible.

Final Fantasy XIII – “Blinded By Light”

The FFXIII theme that will stick to you like glue. The build-up, leading up to those blaring horns playing out the main melody accompanied by strings, and the chorus medley of violins and drums that hit you like Lightning’s Army of One: pure magic.

Final Fantasy XIV – “Answers”

This is the one song everyone remembers about FFXIV because it’s the one that plays when the Realm Reborn trailer hits. What better way to send the garbage fire that was the original FFXIV than with an epic fantasy ballad sung by Susan Calloway?

Final Fantasy XV – “Sunset Waltz”

People like Somnus more, but this one showcases Yoko Shimomura’s preference for opera-style ballads and slow ballet pieces.This one plays while you’re traipsing around Eos with your bros; this short but sweet piece couldn’t be more fitting.

Bonus Track
Final Fantasy Tactics – Antipyretic

The many themes of Final Fantasy Tactics, from its political intrigue to fantastical elements and Shakespearean machinations, is all summed up in this strong dramatic orchestral piece. The determination of making it out of that battle alive; the emotional sorrow of the never-ending war in the game’s narrative filled with betrayals and broken friendships. Truly this is the apex of Final Fantasy music outside of the mothership titles.

Author: Mr Toffee

Jonathan "Mr Toffee" Leo is a writer, editor, & all-around video game words guy for 9 years, give or take. He also did some story for games like Chain Chronicle and some podcasting on the side. Likes: bacon, Metallica, jogging. Hates: raccoons, oblivion.

Leave a Reply