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  #1  
Old Dec 11, 2016, 07:24 AM
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Blackiris Blackiris is offline
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Default Best Releases of 2016

2016 is coming to a close, and many soundtracks, arrangement albums and other stuff has been released again this year.

What are your personal favorites of 2016?

These are my favorites:
Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna by Tomoki Miyoshi
Beautiful piano melodies, mostly calm and melancholic. Although the entire soundtrack only uses one instrument (plus soft percussion in the battle themes), there is enough variety. Quality is very consistent, and there are many notable highlights.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius by Noriyasu Agematsu
Totally surprised how good this one is! I liked some of Agematsu's compositions before (e.g. for Wild ARMs 4), but this was my first soundtrack done exclusively by Agematsu. In addition to pretty good arrangements of Uematsu tracks, there is an amazing range of high quality tracks with memorable melodies and good production values.

Final Fantasy XV by Yoko Shimomura
No brainer. Not officially released yet, but from playing the game I know I'll love it. Memorable and epic battle themes of course, but I also like how Shimomura tried different styles from her usual compositions. This year's biggest highlight.

Adventures of Mana by Kenji Itou
Good arangements by Itou himself and great production value for a small-scale remake. Nothing new (except for the previously unused town theme), but still a great release because the original tracks are so amazing.

Ori and the Blind Forest Additional Soundtrack by Gareth Coker
Includes many unused tracks, or music from trailers, and other new compositions from the Definitive Edition.


Other games I played:
- Bravely Second's OST was much weaker than Revo's soundtrack for the first game. Not bad, but not remarkable.
- World of Final Fantasy's OST has some hit and some miss arrangements, but I'm not the biggest Hamauzu fan, so nothing from the original tracks stuck with me.
- Dragon Quest Builders contained good arrangements of classic Dragon Quest tracks, but nothing truly outstanding.
- Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir has some really good tracks, but the majority of the pieces are not very memorable.

Last edited by Blackiris; Dec 11, 2016 at 07:27 AM.
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  #2  
Old Dec 11, 2016, 10:34 AM
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Teioh Teioh is offline
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2016, absolutely devastating year, glad it's over in a few weeks. At least we got some great soundtracks so far.

Fire Emblem if ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
My soundtrack of the year, if only for the fact it took me completely by surprise.
Didn't like the earlier Fire Emblem soundtracks for GC and Wii, but this was consistently so good. Many different composers but at no times this soundtrack feels incoherent. I love how the main theme comes up every now and then.
At 8 discs, it's also the size of two epic RPG soundtracks.

GRAND KINGDOM Original Soundtrack
Another highly enjoyable RPG soundtrack, signature Basiscape sound on 3 discs.
Yoshimi Kudo and Azusa Chiba contribute some of the best tracks, so hopefully they get to work on a few more RPGs.

Traveling Stars Original Soundtrack
Actually the game was released last year in August but the soundtrack officially came out in January, so I'm counting this in. Aside from some OP/ED composition, Takao Matsuura returns for Hooksoft's 10th Anniversary project with a 2-disc BGM soundtrack and lots of memorable themes.
I was hoping for Sound Studio B to work on this, but with release of the first BGM samples it was clear this would be great nonetheless. Now it's been in my playlist for 12 months already.

Honorable mentions:
ISLAND Original Soundtrack - I feel like this was overlooked, despite being a major Front Wing game. Finally a full game soundtrack by Hijiri Anze again, albeit only a digital release.
Sekaiju no MeiQ V: Nagaki Shinwa no Hate Original Soundtrack - 3 more discs of Yuzo Koshiro's music, awesome battle themes again.
Sorcery Jokers Special Compilation SoundTrack - 3 more discs of mamomo's music aren't bad either.

Still looking forward to:
Kirby: Planet Robobot Original Soundtrack
Kanojo*Step Original Soundtrack
VenusBlood -RAGNAROK- Original Sound Track

And some disappointments:
Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK - sorry :P
Sengoku † Koihime X Original Soundtrack
Atelier Firis Original Soundtrack

Where are the one disc soundtracks this year? I feel like every major game nowadays has to have at least 2 hours of music.
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  #3  
Old Dec 11, 2016, 12:44 PM
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There's been some pretty good orchestra albums this year:
The Orchestral SaGa
Tales of Orchestra
Granblue Fantasy Orchestra

There seems to be an orchestral renaissance in Japan right now. There were a ton of symphonic concerts/albums this year and I expect the trend to continue into next year. It's a real pity that Game Symphony Japan hasn't released any CDs (or even video) of their concerts. They had a Sega concert and an Atlus concert this year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teioh
Where are the one disc soundtracks this year? I feel like every major game nowadays has to have at least 2 hours of music.
The Last Guardian is one disc. I've listened the digital soundtrack a few times already. Definitely a strong contender for best of 2016.
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  #4  
Old Dec 11, 2016, 01:57 PM
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eduhunter eduhunter is offline
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I hear lots of albums this year. I'm bad to explain album per album, so i've give the good, bad and surprise works of 2016 for what i hear the most, per order of release:

The Good

Street Fighter V Original Soundtrack
BREATH OF FIRE 6 Original Soundtrack -Myakudou-
Shin Megami Tensei IV FINAL ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Heavensward: FINAL FANTASY XIV Original Soundtrack
FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS Original Soundtrack
Dragon Quest X: Inishie no Ryuu no Denshou Original Soundtrack
Street Fighter II The Definitive Soundtrack
Fire Emblem if ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Killer Instinct Super Nintendo OST
Motoi Sakuraba Band Arrangement Album / STAR OCEAN & VALKYRIE PROFILE
ROCKMAN.EXE SOUND BOX
BREATH OF FIRE 6 Original Soundtrack -Ryuushou-
The Sound of Kirby Café
Ys VIII -Lacrimosa of DANA- Original Soundtrack
Sekaiju no MeiQ V: Nagaki Shinwa no Hate Original Soundtrack
WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY Original Soundtrack
FINAL FANTASY XIV: Duality ~Arrangement Album~


The Bad

MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY Original Soundtrack
V.D. -VANISHMENT DAY- SOUNDTRACK
Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Recore Original Soundtrack
Nintendo 3DS Pokémon Sun & Moon Super Music Complete (yeah, din't like this one)

Took me by surprise mot******* (so it's good in a way -or not-)

Monster Hunter Explore Original Soundtrack
METAL GEAR SOLID V ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK "The Lost Tapes"
ADVENTURES of MANA Original Soundtrack
Quantum Break Original Game Soundtrack
DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY -Arcade- ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Neon Drive OST
GRANBLUE FANTASY ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACKS Lyria
VALKYRIE ANATOMIA -THE ORIGIN- Soundtrack
Atelier Firis Original Soundtrack
8BIT MUSIC POWER

P.S.: waiting for the release of full osts for FFXV and Last Guardian to decide.
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  #5  
Old Dec 11, 2016, 04:19 PM
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Will update list as I remember all the good stuff I've listened over the year. In no particular order:

BATTLE GAREGGA COMPLETE SOUNDTRACK
DOOM Original Game Soundtrack
ODIN SPHERE LEIFTHRASIR Original Soundtrack
Hyper Light Drifter
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  #6  
Old Jan 9, 2017, 07:19 AM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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I still have to listen to a large bunch of album from 2016, so consider this list preliminary. I have listed below some candidates, which might potentially move into this ranking.


Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna Original Soundtrack
My number one album of 2016. A beautiful piece of work, that really wants me to play the game. Can only second here what Blackiris already said.

World of Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack
The original tracks by Hamauzu that is, so about two discs of the total four. The arrangements/remixes are not bad, but I also don't consider them outstanding. Well, mabye except for Prismelody: Blitz Off! / Zanarkand, that one is pretty amazing.
The score sounds like a blend of old Hamauzu, think Sigma Harmanonics, and his work for FF13. An album release that definitely surprised me this year.

Sorcery Jokers Special Compilation SoundTrack
The second album by mamomo, after Shinigami no Testament ~menuet of epistula~, which I listened to. Has one of the finest battle tracks, check out e.g. Counter rockets, that I have heard in 2016. Looking forward to hear more from this guy (or gal?).

Hajimari no Kaze -Crossroad-
Iconic tracks by Michiko Naruke performed live? Yes, more of that please! ;-)

Proposition to the Holy Key Contractant Original Soundtrack CD
Another mamomo entry for this year. I like this one, also because it is so vastly different from his/her works for 3rdEye.

Beast and Princess Original Soundtrack
Not sure, but I think this is the first time that Shimotsuki is doing the entirety of the music for a VN. A pleasant surprise to see here step back from the usual vocal work.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Original Soundtrack Extended Edition
Heard a lot of bad review for this album, even before the extended CD edition came out. Honestly I can't follow the critique. The album is not as strong as the one for Human Revolution, but it manages to retain the style of ambient scoring of the first album, which I very much enjoyed. I think what this one lacks is cohesiveness.

Atelier Firis Original Soundtrack
Gust Sound Team changes once again, goes four discs now and introduces day/night versions of the tracks. Yeah!

Moshi, Kono Sekai ni Kamisama ga Iru to suru Naraba. Original Soundtrack
At least someone at Procyon Studio is still making music! Nice soundtrack with a beautiful main theme for an otome game.

Flowers Original Soundtrack -Automne-
From otome to shoujo ai. Third volume of the Flowers soundtrack. Winter is coming!

V.D. -Vanishment Day- Soundtrack
The album is OK, but it heavily suffers from its length.


Disappointed by:
The Orchestral SaGa -Legend of Music-
I think the review on VGMO nails it. It's pretty much color-by-numbers arrangements, with little to no "creativitiy" present. Disappointing because the arrangers could definitely do better than this. Seems more like a management decision.

20th Anniversary Tales of Orchestra Concert Album
Same here. Listened to this once, but never had the urge to come back to it. The only glimmer of light was the shrines medley. Chapeau to Miss Miyano!

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Original Soundtrack
I had this impression that this album was incredibly hyped. No idea why that is, I find it pretty lackluster. Well, at least I'm not alone why my opinion. Also I'm not sure when I last heard a good soundtrack by Agematsu. Must have been Wild Arms 5 or so...

Yuukyuu no Tierblade -Lost Chronicle- Original Soundtrack
Sounds like MANYO on auto-pilot. Nothing here that wants me to revisit the album.

Mighty No.9 Original Sound Track
I don't know what I expected this album to be. I'm not even sure that I had any expectations at all. And even with this low entry point, the album falls flat. Hell, even the main theme is a joke *goes back to MM2* *sigh*

Alice Order Original Soundtrack
I don't know why, but Hayashi's works in the TV drama department are just so much better. If I look up "boring music for cheap mobile game" on Wikipedia, then it should redirect me to this album...

Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen Game & Anime Original Soundtrack
Had high hopes for this after White Album 2, but half-way through this album I was barely awake. And I don't mean that in a positive way...

Quantum Break Original Game Soundtrack
Woah, but a bunch of crap. Please give me back the old Petri Alanko from the Alan Wake times.


Have yet to listen to the following albums (probably in that particular order):
- Final Fantasy XV Original Soundtrack
- Hitokui no Oowashi Trico Original Soundtrack
- Maji de Watashi ni Koishinasai! A Music Collection
- Grand Kingdom Original Soundtrack
- Fire Emblem if Original Soundtrack
- Gyakuten Saiban 6 Original Soundtrack
- Mirror's Edge Catalyst Original Soundtrack Score
- Recore Original Soundtrack
- Heavensward: Final Fantasy XIV Original Soundtrack
- Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Original Soundtrack from the Video Game


In my opinion 2016 has been OK in the videogame music department. Things were a bit more on the quantity than on the quality side. And like I said before, I still have some backlog to go through.
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  #7  
Old Jan 9, 2017, 04:55 PM
Ramza Ramza is offline
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I can't weigh until I get some real listening time with FFXV and SaGa Scarlet Grace.

But generally, Adventures of Mana was IMO the pinnacle of how to do a *good* remake soundtrack.

(ironically, the pinnacle example of how NOT to do a remake soundtrack was that other Kenji Ito one, SaGa 2 DS)

Oh, and Steins;Gate 0 soundtrack, I just started listening to that today, and I dig it.
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  #8  
Old Jan 9, 2017, 05:07 PM
Ramza Ramza is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidAcid View Post
Disappointed by:
The Orchestral SaGa -Legend of Music-
I think the review on VGMO nails it. It's pretty much color-by-numbers arrangements, with little to no "creativitiy" present. Disappointing because the arrangers could definitely do better than this. Seems more like a management decision.
This album has proven to be rather divisive among SaGa fans. I think Chris' statements in the VGMO review make sense. But I really think it is simply a matter of expectation, and whether or not we can value what's there. "color-by-numbers arrangements" -- or to use another phrase, "phoning it in" -- is the sort of critique I've heard from different friends and family who cared about this album.

But even if the arrangements don't deviate from source material, even if they don't do the super-cool layering that Valtonen and Wanamo do on their "Symphonic [x]" projects, the work of transcription and of assigning the proper voices to the proper parts of a symphony orchestra is *not* *easy*. I can say with some certainty that lesser arrangers could have truly f*cked this project up, and there a handful of orchestral arrangements in the world of VGM where I would point and say "see that there? THAT is how you f*ck it up."

At the end of the day, the two main arrangers did great work, the orchestra performers did their jobs well, and the album is enjoyable to listen to. AND, I never ever in a thousand years expected SaGa to get dedicated orchestra music.

So for me, that still makes it a win.
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  #9  
Old Feb 26, 2017, 03:14 PM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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I found some time to work on my 2016 backlog again, so here is an update to my ranking from above.

Hitokui no Oowashi Trico Original Soundtrack
This one gets first place together with Setsuna. I honestly can't decide which one of the two I like better. Beautiful orchestrations together with the intelligent use of only a few themes. I hope to see Furukawa return to score another videogame.

Maji de Watashi ni Koishinasai! A Music Collection
Mostly composed by Basiscape's Azuba Chiba, but compared to the last Majikoi soundtrack more on the rocking side. Which I find a bit sad, since Chiba doesn't have any chance to display her versatility.

Disappointed by
Final Fantasy XV Original Soundtrack
This album is mess. So, I waited like 8 years for this album. Well, not exactly 'waited' (which I usually understand as an active process), but I looked forward to the soundtrack since I heard Somnus on Shimomura's drammatica arrange album. I really looked forward to hearing what else was in store for us on this new FF title. And thus, it pains me that Somnus is still, by far, the best track on the album, in its original version with vocals that is.

Don't get me wrong, there are a number of really good tracks on the album. Also by the composers that joined much later. But everything feels so disconnected and fluctuating in production quality. One track, you have the impression that, yes, that's what a FF title should sound like, and the next one, you think that you're hearing some unfinished temp track, which was copy&pasted together in the last minutes before the album went into production.

And what I also don't understand is the following. If you have some characteristic themes, like the aforementioned Somnus, why is used almost nowhere in the rest of the album? I have the impression, that a theme usually pops up once, and if we're very lucky, you hear it a second time. It's almost if the composers weren't confident in what they had created?

I mostly blame these issues on the development problems. Like the game, also the soundtrack feels like a patchwork puzzle. I dont't see where the music is supposed to take me. It's meandering around, throwing blues, filler tracks and epic orchestral renditions left and right, leaving me in a floating state and when it's over, I feel... nothing?

I guess that happens if you mostly scrap a game, but desperately try to re-use as much material as possible. A clean cut would have helped here. Shimomura could've released a Final Fantasy XIII Versus Image Album album, and done something completly different for FF15, together with the rest of the composers (which joined much later).

I mean, we had this other game this year, which took a very long time to develop, but the end results turned out great. I guess things can work out, if you just do it right. Here too much simply went wrong.


EDIT: Another thing that was going through my mind, but which I didn't note down last time.

The use of character themes. We have themes for Noctis, Luna, Cindy and Ardyn. But if my information about the game isn't totally bogus, then there's four guys around Noctis almost the entire time. Why didn't anyone from the development team say: "Hey, aren't these guys so important that we should give them each a musical theme? I mean, just something to highlight each of their personalities."

So I came to the conclusion that either:
(a) There's no personality to write any theme against. (BAD)
(b) They're aren't that important after all. (BAD)

Last edited by LiquidAcid; Mar 3, 2017 at 05:02 PM.
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  #10  
Old Jan 15, 2018, 01:17 PM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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Yo, just asking if we're doing another one of these for 2017? I would, but I don't have my ratings finished yet
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Old Jan 15, 2018, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidAcid View Post
Yo, just asking if we're doing another one of these for 2017? I would, but I don't have my ratings finished yet
Indeed, i already have my list hahaha
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