It should come as no surprise that this is in my Top 10 for the year given who it's composed by. The themes and motifs here are top notch Hisaishi. Kingdom by the Sea is one of, if not the best, town theme that I've ever heard in a game. A lot of peoples opinion of this soundtrack negatively suffered because they only listened to it in-game and thus only heard very short phrases (usually the beginning of songs) when they're quickly going in and out of town of from overworld to battles, or the repetition of the theme that plays when you build your Kingdom. It is much, much better as a standalone listen, as all Hisaishi compositions are.
I have been eagerly awaiting this release and wasn't even sure if it would happen but I'm really, really glad it did. After purchasing the Brave Frontier Soundtrack Box last year and falling in love with it shortly before Brave Frontier 2 was released, I started following all their social media presences for news and info about the game and they started promoting Brave Frontier 2 shortly thereafter. The more I looked in to the game through videos on YouTube and the more news I read about it, the more I wanted. The music is partly composed by one of my new favorite composers (Minako Seki) *and* it's orchestrated by Tokyo Philharmonic. What's not to love?
Final Fantasy VII is the game that introduced me to this hobby and it's the first video game soundtrack I owned so suffice to say the game and it's music holds a special place in my heart. I normally despise brass instrumentation but I think this is really well arranged to not be annoying. I'm eagerly awaiting the February Bluray release of the live performance.