Best Music
Chrono Cross Best Music

Musical score in an RPG tends to take on a very distinct role within the game itself. Unlike most game genres, an RPG's soundtrack must not only be appropriate to the current mood of the game, but also plays a major part in setting that mood. The songs have to be varied enough to properly suit the various situations which arise in the course of the plot, but similar enough that nothing feels out of place. A successful RPG soundtrack must affect the entire gameplay experience.

Yasunori Mitsuda, the game's composer, has achieved all these things and more in the soundtrack for Chrono Cross. A masterfully orchestrated musical score pervades throughout the game, intertwining itself among elements of plot and character development and bringing an amazing depth to the world. Where some games merely provide background music to accompany what's happening in the game, Chrono Cross utilizes its soundtrack to pull the player further into the game world. Every major area has a unique musical theme which brings the entire game to life. In a deep, dark forest, the music will set an appropriate mysteriousness atmosphere, playing subtly against the character's footsteps across the soft ground. Upon entering the small ocean fishing village, steady tribal drum beats accompany the gentle creaking of the wooden piers. And during the ascension of Terra Tower in the game's finale, a deep bell rings steadily in the distance, while the moaning wind composes an ambient tune around the characters. Throughout this epic tale, soundtrack continually plays a key role.

The title's 3-disc soundtrack contains some of the most gorgeous and moving orchestrations ever composed, and not just in terms of video game music. The masterfully written harp and violins in "Scars of Time," the album's opening track, play off of and into one another, beginning as a gently plucked melody and building into a sweeping tempo of what can only be described as raw musical intensity. This energy is carried through the soundtrack's entirety, settling down into some slower piano ballads, and then rising up again into celtic-styled arrangements, filled with stringed and percussive movements. While the tracks are appropriately varied to suit game's plot, they flow together extremely well.

Mitsuda has created nothing short of a masterpiece in this work. A must have for RPG soundtrack importers, it should come as no surprise that Chrono Cross is granted RPGamer's Best Soundtrack of the Year award.

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