Grandia III ~Original Sound Tracks~ - Soundtrack Review

No Surprises Here

Track Listing
Disc 1
1.The Legendary Pilot King
3.Miranda's Theme
4.Yuki and Rotts
5.Tension 1
6.A Trap Hidden in the Dark
8."All Right! We Made Another Breakthrough!"
10.Fun Mushroom Hunting
12.Alonso's Theme
13.The Gambler
14.Gambling House
15.A Sailor's Spirit
16.Bianca's Theme
19.Requiem of Birth
20.Theme Arrangement 1
21.Morning of Departure -for Piano-
22.Where is the Right Path?
23.Morning of Departure -for Euph-
24.Spread Your Wings, to the Heavens!!
25.Believe in the Future
26.Tension 4/Emelious' Theme 2
27.Arcliff Forest
28.Sacred Soul
29.Sacred Beast Gryph
30.Forest of a Fantasy
31.Tension 3
Disc 2
1.To the Moon
2.Alfina's Theme
3.Alfina's Sorrow
4.Attack with Conviction!!
5."Will the Airplane Crash to the Ground!?"
6.Landlady of the Inn
7.Raflid -Crowded Town-
8.What do you Fight for?
12.Requiem of Birth (reverse)
13.ATTACK OF A FLASH -for Synth-
14."Hey, That Wasn't Possibly Serious, Was it?"
15.Tension 2/Emelious' Theme 1
16.An Older Brother and a Younger Sister
18.E VS D
19.Decision in Moonlight
20.Feeling Eternal Love...
21.ATTACK OF A FLASH -for Orch-
23.Raflid -Defeated Hope-
24.Theme Arrangement 2
25.The Pilot King
26.Zone's Restoration
27.Great Man Schmidt
29.Theme Arrangement 3
30.Thank You...
31.Theme of GRANDIA III
Total Playtime: 142:14
Noriyuki Iwadare
Noriyuki Iwadare
Two Five Records

   Grandia III, Square Enix's latest North American offering, has come and gone, but will its music continue to live in the hearts of gamers? Can the craft of composer Noriyuki Iwadare save an otherwise mediocre RPG? The Grandia 3 soundtrack has the distinct Iwadare taste that most RPGamers should be familiar with by now, which is good for his fans, but perhaps not-so good for others. Unfortunately, most of the music may have trouble reaching those who aren't already fans of the composer. There are still, however, several tracks that can reel in even the most stubborn listeners.

   The music of Grandia 3 has two distinct flavors, as does most of Iwadare's music. The first has a very old school sound. It's poppy, cheery, and uplifting. It's the kind of music one might choose to play at the happiest place in the world. It's also a bit cheesy, but that old school sound is rare these days, so it's welcome in this case. To some, though, the old school sound may be regarded as annoying and repetitive. The other flavor is a more modern and orchestral one. It's very well-done and sounds like it was ripped from a movie score. The intro song and most of the emotional themes are of this variety and will likely appeal to most video game music fans.

   There's no question that Iwadare is a talented composer. He's scored countless titles and many of these soundtracks were well-received. His formula is the same with every game, with a few updates here and there for added flair. Unfortunately, the Grandia 3 soundtrack does little to set itself apart from other Iwadare soundtracks. One could listen to tracks from Grandia I, II, and III, and have a difficult time telling which track came from which game. Though this could be considered a good thing when playing through the games, as it adds uniformity, it's not good for those just listening to the soundtrack. In the latter case, it means repetitive music that has been heard several times before in previous Iwadare scores. Granted, there are a few new sounds and the quality improves with each successive album, it's just not enough for someone looking for a new musical experience -- unless they're a die-hard Iwadare fan of course.

   This is not to say that the music is bad and not worth listening to. The tunes are well-done and very catchy. The craft behind the music is the same high-quality Iwadare craft people have come to expect from all of his albums, only better. It's just not a step in any new directions, although such a step may have angered more people than not. So in this case, it really depends on if the listener is an Iwadare fan. It can safely be said that Mr. Iwadare stayed true to his roots and he did it quite well.

   The quality of the sound is where this album loses points. Better-synthesized sounds can be found in the soundtracks of many other current generation RPGs and even in some of the previous generation. At times, this felt like it could have been the Lunar soundtrack. The instruments don't sound real and it's painfully obvious to anyone looking for an album with a more realistic sound. This, of course, doesn't apply to the tracks orchestrated with live instruments, such as the introduction theme. Though they sound much better than the rest of the music, even these tracks don't feel like they sound as good as they could.

   All of the pieces are mixed well and evenly balanced. There weren't any times that I felt I couldn't hear one instrument over another, and the effects used on the instruments are clean and sound quite nice. The entire package is put together nicely with pretty-but-simple artwork and designs for the packaging. It's nothing spectacular, but it's not bad.

   For the most part, the Grandia III soundtrack is good. For fans of Iwadare, it's great, and for non-fans, it's alright. The music is crafted beautifully and sounds just how one would expect a really good Iwadare album to sound, which is where fans and non-fans will divide in their opinions. There's no argument that a lot of talent went into the production, however. The synthesized sound isn't terrible, but anyone can hear much better examples in most other soundtracks. In this day and age of video game music, it should have been better. Though fans of Iwadare may not be able to agree with others on matters concerning some of the songs in this album, the more mature, emotional themes will be the ground on which everyone can agree that this is indeed good music.

Sound Quality
Production Value
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