Hello and welcome back to P-Vock's Music Box. If you don't know (and I wouldn't blame you if you know me from stupid rants about video games you've never heard of), I'm a big fan of hockey. I am extremely excited about the NHL playoffs this year, even though my beloved Calgary Shames missed the big dance. I'm excited for the goals, the hits, the upsets, and the chance that Edmonton and Matthew Tkachuk could lose embarrassingly. More than anything, however, I am excited for the inevitable rise of an underdog that people aren't taking seriously to make a serious push for the title. I'm thinking it could be the Wild this year.
Anyway, speaking of underdogs that really shouldn't be underdogs...
After leaving Square Enix, the man credited as the Father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, would release games here and there. None would ever reach the sales numbers of the series he once helmed, but a few titles would receive some acclaim and love from critics and fans alike.
One such game is the oft-neglected title, The Last Story.
Yeah, he wasn't even subtle this time when he named it.
Not only does this name share some massive "You can copy my homework but change it so no one can tell" energy with the RPG powerhouse, Sakaguchi also brought on Nobuo Uematsu (the man behind almost every great FF track) to helm the music.
Uematsu once again flexed hard on us immediately.
It's so somber. So full of emotion. So instantly memorable that you can't help but sit on the title screen for a long time and just take it in. You immediately know that you're in for something emotional and gripping.
Once you finally gain the courage to press the A button and begin, Uematsu hits you with a remix that delivers the same catchy melody, but with a motivating drum line that is sure to take you from feelings of sorrow to feelings of motivation, which is perfect for starting a new adventure.
Once you actually begin the game, you're greeted with a varied and interesting score that has your toes tapping and your head bobbing along for every moment of gameplay.
Usually, Sakaguchi and Uematsu's FF games are not so much high fantasy as they are a mix of high fantasy, steampunk, and some other weird ideas. The Last Story is probably the most High Fantasy game Sakaguchi has ever made and music like this really captures that sense. I don't think anyone would be surprised to learn that this is a track that accompanies you in a bar setting as our lovely band of merry and not-so-merry adventurers like to, as the kids say, get absolutely turnt, yo!
As if it's something straight out of a Tolkien work, it instills a primal desire to slam back the mead in whoever is fortunate enough to listen to it. It screams of drunken stumbling, outrageously hilarious arguments, and an overall jolly atmosphere, perfect for the tavern it accompanies.
But, I think that's enough merriment, for this is a rather serious story that is full of twists and turns and some rather intense conflict.
Because Uematsu likes to play with your expectations, he delivers an absolutely rockin' banger for the final boss that feels straight out of a completely different game. The sheer variety of instruments and sounds alone is enough to make this an earworm of astronomical proportion. Mix in the shifting melody, the lightning-fast tempo that elevates the player as they make quick decisions, and the sheer betrayal our heroes experience just literal moments before the finale and you have a recipe for a piece of music and a moment in media that will not leave my head, not that I am complaining.
Sometimes, I'm just reminded of something I enjoy and I think "I want to talk about that shit." The Last Story is a criminally underappreciated gem that I yearn for a remaster of so people may bask in its unique gameplay, excellent cast, and absolutely top-tier OST. This is yet another game that was honestly difficult to decide on precisely which tracks to play, but I hope the ones I chose were a pleasant listen for you and I hope your weekend is as enjoyable for you as I find all of this music to be.
Thank you so much, as always, for checking out my nonsense, and I hope to catch you back here next time with another suggestion from my Music Box.