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Adam Corn Jan 5, 2013

With 2012 behind us and the world still turning, let's look back at everyone's favorite VGM soundtracks for the year.  Any game soundtrack released in 2012 is eligible, whether CD or digital.  Unreleased soundtracks for games from 2012 are eligible as well, just mark them with (game rip) at the end.

Please don't include catalog numbers - just the title - and use the drop-down autocomplete list where available.

Results will be tallied January 31, 2013.

Adam Corn Jan 5, 2013 (edited Feb 28, 2013)

1. Symphonic Fantasies Tokyo - The original Symphonic Fantasies was an unprecedented arranged album, featuring ambitious, dramatic orchestral suites for four beloved Square Enix series.  And as much as I love that original release, the much-improved Final Fantasy suite, added encore, and generally superior recording make this the definitive edition, and as much a must-hear as ever.

2. Beer SQ - I can't claim there's anything life-changing about my number two pick Beer SQ, it's simply a well-arranged album of some excellent themes with some nice musicianship on display (and in a genre I happen to like). The festive Celtic "Can You Fly Sister?" is probably my favorite new VGM arrangement for the year.

3. Dragon's Dogma Original Soundtrack - For an album almost entirely composed of orchestral battle music, it's much more listenable than you'd expect.  The battle music is indeed epic, the occasional quieter moments are nice, and the memorable main theme is implemented perfectly throughout the album - most of all in the dramatic finale.

4. Piano Collections Final Fantasy XII - Lacks the poignant moments of FFXIII PC and some other previous piano collections but offers perhaps the most consistently high quality of the bunch, with a refreshing new, jazz piano-influenced style to boot.

5. Genso Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki Original Soundtrack & Drama CD - This surprisingly neglected soundtrack doesn't quite match the world music splendor of the first two Suikoden OSTs, but it comes close enough to make for a nice dose of nostalgia and a much more listenable album in full than most JRPG OSTs.  Suikoden fans would do well to check it out.

6. We are Rock-Men! 2 - Lacking any single killer track like the first album's "Darkman Stage", but a more solid effort overall.  The arrangements could be more elaborate but the combination of high-energy rock, gamey synth and catchy hooks seems spot-on for a Mega Man album.

7. Metal Gear 25th Anniversary: Metal Gear Music Collection - Less focused on vocal themes than the 20th anniversary album and with a bit more to offer in its exclusive material (both the MGS Online and "Alerts and Cautions" medleys are surprisingly solid).  Having not paid much attention to MGS Peace Walker, the orchestral medley and vocal theme from it both make very nice additions.

8. Synthesized 4 - Sota Fujimori - The Bemani mainstay offers a nice balance of gamey energy and melody with modern EDM production values (even if the scattered anime voices cheapen the product a bit).  "[E] -Extended Mix-" very much lives up to the title - one of my favorite tracks of the year.

[Honorable mention]
-Journey

[Not bad but not great]
-Bravely Default: Flying Fairy Original Soundtrack
-Final Fantasy Orchestral Album
-SQ Chips 2

[Disappointing]
-Piano Opera Final Fantasy I/II/III
-Piano Opera Final Fantasy IV/V/VI
-Final Fantasy Tribute ~Thanks~

Jodo Kast Jan 5, 2013

I have a lot of listening to do in order to make a qualified decision. I won't vote until February, since I'm getting some more 2012 releases from AMZ JP.

Adam Corn Jan 6, 2013

Go ahead and get some tentative picks in by the end of the month if you can since I plan to tally the poll then.  As long as you've submitted some picks before then you can go back and revise them anytime after.

Judgment Day Jan 16, 2013

I also missed out on quite a bit in 2012, as I was still catching up from what I bought in 2011, specifically with SQ Chips 1. Speaking of which:

Adam Corn wrote:

And biggest disappointments for the year:
-SQ Chips 2 (not bad but a huge step below the first)
-Piano Opera Final Fantasy I/II/III
-Piano Opera Final Fantasy IV/V/VI

I really hope to see everyone chime in with their own picks as I'd love to catch up on the ones I've missed out on.

I'm indifferent with the Piano Opera, as they are good listens as ambiance music when I'm doing web developing. But I totally agree with you on SQ Chips 2. I've listened to most of it, and the first thing that comes to mind is "I don't get it". Even unfamiliar titles in my gaming days (most notably Brave Fencer Musashi, which I never played) came off as good in SQ Chips 1; not so much here. Track selection also killed it a bit. Almost reminds me when the Mortal Kombat movie came out and was good, but everyone wanted to see more characters. Then 2 came out, and we got more characters, but resulted in one big cluster(blank).

I've unfortunately been unable to enjoy any track thus far. It's a shame because SQ Chips 1 was probably the best find since I discovered the SaGa series in the mid-90s. Final Battle / Mana Palace is one of my personal all time favorites (probably Top 20). They really got everything right there.

Judgment Day Jan 16, 2013

By the way, Rebirth II: Romancing SaGa Battle Arranges is pretty good, and warrants my vote.

James O Jan 16, 2013

1. Bravely Default: Flying Fairy Original Soundtrack
2. Final Fantasy Orchestral Album
3. Final Fantasy Tribute ~THANKS~
4. Re: Birth II Romancing SaGa Battle Arrange
5. Linked Horizon: Luxendarc Daikikou
6. Beer SQ
7. Final Fantasy XII Piano Collections
8. Final Fantasy XIV Eorzean Frontiers
9. Piano Opera Final Fantasy I-II-III
10. Kid Icarus: Uprising OST

Still have not played Journey... need to do that sometime but since I hear you really need to do it in one sitting I just haven't found the time to do it.

Smeg Jan 16, 2013

1. Bravely Default: Flying Fairy Original Soundtrack
2. Kid Icarus: Uprising OST
3. Sekaiju no MeiQ 4 OST

Not gonna agonize over it, just going with what immediately springs to mind.

PerfectZer0 Jan 19, 2013 (edited Feb 3, 2013)

1. Gunlord Original Soundtrack
2. SYNTHESIZED4
3. Rainbow Moon Melodies Original Soundtrack
4. HALO 4 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
5. Dragon's Dogma Original Soundtrack
6. ASURA'S WRATH Original Soundtrack
7. Mushihimesama Special Arrange Album

Gunlord being friggin awesome as hell! big_smile

vert1 Jan 19, 2013

1. Senko no Ronde DESIRES ROULETTE Soundtrack x Novel
2. ROCKMAN EXE TRANSMISSION SOUND TRACK

Jodo Kast Jan 26, 2013 (edited Feb 3, 2013)

Re-voted, based on new acquisitions. Kokuga made me change everything.

Namorbia Jan 27, 2013

1. Bravely Default: Flying Fairy Original Soundtrack
2. Final Fantasy Solo Guitar Collections Vol. 3
3. NES Jams
4. Symphonic Fantasies Tokyo
5. Final Fantasy Tribute ~THANKS~
6. Beer SQ
7. Ys Foliage Ocean in CELCETA Original Soundtrack
8. 25th Anniversary Rockman Rock Arrange Ver.
9. Final Fantasy Orchestral Album
10. Final Fantasy Dimensions (game rip)

Maybe some of the FF Piano albums should be here, but I just can't get a grasp on them. I feel like I should sit down and properly listen to them.

Bravely Default has amazing music. I always jump around to it.
All the FF Solo Guitar Collections are great, listen to them!
NES Jams by Shnabubula is chiptune+piano arrangements of NES classics.
The encore of Symphonic Fantasies Tokyo should be #1 on this list.
FF Tribute and Beer SQ have some really nice tracks in great styles.

Ys Foliage Ocean in CELCETA is the only Ys soundtrack I've listened to and it really grew on me. I've heard a few Ys tracks on some podcasts before, but not a full soundtrack.

Half of the Rockman Rock Arrange is really great, the other half mediocre/bad.
FF Orchestral Album is nice. Yeah, I love FF music.

FF Dimensions has really good music. I haven't played through the whole game yet and don't want to rank it any higher because of that. The FF Legends OST is different and not as a good. It's for the Japanese mobile version and the sounds are a bit different.

Smeg Jan 27, 2013

NES Jams is badass. Shnabubula is some sort of wizard and/or demon.

Sami Jan 29, 2013 (edited Jan 29, 2013)

1. Crimson Shroud OST - fantastic album by Sakimoto & crew.
2. Sekaiju no MeiQ 4 OST - superb evolution of Etrian Odyssey by Koshiro.
3. Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 OST - it had a slow start, but eventually got up to speed. More Koshiro greatness.
4. Darksiders II OST - very atmospheric soundtrack, one of Kyd's best.
5. 25th Anniversary Rockman Techno Arrange Ver. - even with Megaman music, its success wasn't guaranteed, but it turned out great.
6. Symphonic Fantasies Tokyo - inspiring Square orchestral arrangements.
7. SQ Chips 2 - this too in a different way, with several fantastic chiptunes.
8. Battle SQ - maybe Square should put these in Theatrhythm or something?
9. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance OST - Shimomura and co. in fine form. The best KH soundtrack by far.
10. Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!! OST - a zany, humorous and surprising mix of several different styles by virt.

Adam Corn Jan 30, 2013

Thanks for the responses thus far, it is appreciated. smile  I'm gonna keep the poll running till Monday, for any of you who would still like to submit or tweak your picks before it gets tallied.

Jodo Kast Feb 3, 2013 (edited Feb 3, 2013)

1. Takeaki Kunimoto WORKS ~Hitsuji no Oka~
2. KOKUGA Original Soundtrack
3. FALCOM BOSS ZANMAI
4. Kyokugen Dasshutsu ADV Zennin Shibou Desu Soundtrack
5. SOULCALIBUR V ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
6. Mahoutsukai no Yoru Original Soundtrack
7. Maji de Watashi ni Koishinasai! S Music Collection
8. COZMO ~ZUNTATA 25th Anniversary~
9. ZONE OF THE ENDERS ReMIX EDITION
10. Okami Goju no Onchou

I still haven't listened to the 25th Anniversary Rockman albums, UNCHAINBLADES EXXIV, BlackLute ~Monster Hunter Guitar Arrange~, Ys Foliage Ocean in CELCETA, Bravely Default Flying Fairy, Beer SQ, Tekaru Mechanical, and Tekaru Technical.  Another 2012 album I won't hear for several weeks is Dangerous Mezashi Cat's latest.

As for other 2012 releases, I thought the Romancing SaGa Battle album was enjoyable, but not as good as DMC's effort from several years previously; in other words - nothing new. Etrian Odyssey IV was incredibly boring music, although the arranged album was good. All of the piano albums were shoddy and nothing compared to older piano albums, such as Brandish Piano Collection.

the_miker Feb 3, 2013 (edited Feb 3, 2013)

1. SONIC GENERATIONS ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK BLUE BLUR
2. FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 Official Soundtrack
3. MAX ANARCHY ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
4. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 4 EPISODE I & II Original Soundtrack
5. Rainbow Moon Melodies Original Soundtrack
6. We are ROCK-MEN! 2
7. Silent Hill Downpour Original Soundtrack
8. Gunlord Original Soundtrack
9. Rhythm Kaitou R Koutei Napoleon no Isan ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
10. Double Dragon Neon Official Soundtrack

- Kinda surprised that 8 of my picks don't appear on anybody else's list, only the two Rafael Dyll soundtracks, Rainbow Moon and Gunlord.  Definitely gonna be watching what this man does in 2013.
- As for Final Fantasy XIII-2, the "Official Soundtrack" is the US release that came with the Collector's Edition of the game.  The game itself was released in 2012 over here, I played it in 2012, and I listened to the soundtrack in 2012, so that's why it's on my 2012 list and not 2011.
- I think this is the first time I've only had one arranged album in my top 10.  There are a few in my "runners up" list but they couldn't quite compete with the 9 original soundtracks from above.  We are ROCK-MEN! 2, however, blew me away.  Stands tall right up there with the original.
- This is the third year in a row that a Sonic soundtrack is in my #1 spot, and this year I have two of them in my top 10.  Guess my avatar is kinda fitting, huh?  Sonic Generations was a 3-disc musical love letter from Sega to all the true Sonic fans out there.  Doesn't hurt that my copy is signed by Jun Senoue, either. big_smile
- Daniel Licht had big shoes to fill on Silent Hill Downpour and he did an excellent job, especially when you consider it was his first video game score.  Not quite as listenable outside of the game as Yamaoka's previous entries, but still very solid.  Hated the idea of this song at first but I ended up very much enjoying the title track, "Silent Hill" by Jonathan Davis.
- This isn't the first time I put a Silent Hill soundtrack in the #7 spot.  Much like Downpour from above, I had Silent Hill Homecoming at #7 back in 2008.
- I didn't finish listening to or playing Rhythm Thief yet but from what I've heard so far, it easily deserves a spot in my top 10.  Naofumi Hataya and Tomoya Ohtani make me very happy.
- Double Dragon Neon wouldn't be here without track 4, City Streets 2 (Mango Tango - Neon Jungle), better known as my guilty pleasure of 2012.  Not ashamed to admit that I've sang along to this song more than a few times.
- I can see why most VGM fans wouldn't enjoy Max Anarchy, but man do I love this soundtrack.  It took what MadWorld (my #2 pick back in '09) did and ran with it.  This is my "blast in the car while speeding on a warm summer day" game soundtrack of the decade.

Runners up: Beer SQ, FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 Original Soundtrack Plus, Minna no Golf 6 Original Soundtrack, Piano Collections FINAL FANTASY XII, ROCKMAN HOLIC ~the 25th Anniversary~, Tokyo Jungle

Didn't listen to yet: 25th Anniversary Rockman Rock Arrange Ver., 25th Anniversary Rockman Techno Arrange Ver., Bravely Default Flying Fairy Original Soundtrack, Journey Original Soundtrack, Lollipop Chainsaw: Music From the Video Game, Sekaiju no MeiQ 4 denshou no kyoshin Original Soundtrack, Shin Hikari Shinwa Palutena no Kagami Original Soundtrack, WANGAN MIDNIGHT MAXIMUM TUNE 4 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Yotsuya Feb 4, 2013

1. SYNTHESIZED4
2. Jet Set Radio Original Soundtrack
3. Live A Live Original Soundtrack

This is all I picked up printed in 2012, don't know if Live a Live or Jet Set Radio count being reissues, but its all good stuff. Hopefully I can check out some of the albums people have mentioned above.

Pellasos Feb 4, 2013

1. Dragon's Dogma Original Soundtrack
2. BLAST FROM THE PAST
3. Ys Foliage Ocean in CELCETA Original Soundtrack
4. Metal Gear 25th Anniversary ~ Metal Gear Music Collection
5. GRAVITY DAZE Original Soundtrack
6. Double Dragon Neon Official Soundtrack
7. Genso Suikoden Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki Original Soundtrack
8. Uncharted: Golden Abyss Original Soundtrack
9. FALCOM BOSS ZANMAI
10. We are ROCK-MEN! 2

i think Dragon's Dogma is hard to appreciate if you haven't played the game. it works so well in there. i just wish some of the themes were longer.

Adam Corn Feb 25, 2013

I'll finally be posting the results in the next day or two if anyone wants to make any last submissions or tweaks to their picks.  Thanks to everyone who has participated.  It may not seem like much but I really appreciate it. smile

STC Poll System Feb 28, 2013

Top poll results out of 60 unique answers submitted, as calculated by Soundtrack Central's automated poll system.  In parentheses are the percentage of respondents who selected that answer and the average ranking it was given.

1. Bravely Default: Flying Fairy Original Soundtrack (27%, 1)
2. Dragon's Dogma Original Soundtrack (27%, 3)
3. Symphonic Fantasies Tokyo (27%, 4)
4. Beer SQ (27%, 4)
5. Synthesized 4 - Sota Fujimori (18%, 2)
6. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan Original Soundtrack (18%, 3)
7. Rainbow Moon Melodies Original Soundtrack (18%, 4)
8. Final Fantasy Tribute ~Thanks~ (18%, 4)
9. Gunlord Original Soundtrack (18%, 5)
10. Ys: Memories of Celceta Original Soundtrack (18%, 5)
11. Final Fantasy Orchestral Album (18%, 6)
11. Genso Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki Original Soundtrack & Drama CD (18%, 6)
11. Metal Gear 25th Anniversary: Metal Gear Music Collection (18%, 6)
14. Falcom Boss Zanmai (18%, 6)
14. Kid Icarus: Uprising Original Soundtrack (18%, 6)
14. Piano Collections Final Fantasy XII (18%, 6)
17. Double Dragon Neon Official Soundtrack (18%, 8)
17. We are Rock-Men! 2 (18%, 8)

GoldfishX Feb 28, 2013

I'm actually surprised Kid Icarus didn't go higher. A lot of my friends (gamers, but non-VGMers) were crazy about it, plus the allstar cast. No comment from me, it's on my to-listen list.

Adam Corn Jan 11, 2014

Testing out my tweaks to the poll system and posting a couple late additions from the year before while I'm at it. big_smile

6. We are Rock-Men! 2 - Lacking any single killer track like the first album's "Darkman Stage", but a more solid effort overall.  The arrangements could be more elaborate but the combination of high-energy rock, gamey synth and catchy hooks seems spot-on for a Mega Man album.

8. Synthesized 4 - Sota Fujimori - The Bemani mainstay offers a nice balance of gamey energy and melody with modern EDM production values (even if the scattered anime voices cheapen the product a bit).  "[E] -Extended Mix-" very much lives up to the title - one of my favorite tracks of the year.

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