Wow! I never even paid much attention to Motoi Sakuraba's work until I first bought "Star Ocean: The Second Story". I never really even knew who he was, but after hearing the music from the game and purchasing the soundtrack, his music has found a permanent place in my heart.
First off, I should mention that this soundtrack has nearly the best instrument synthesis in a Playstation soundtrack (second only to Crono Cross OST). So you should have no problems enjoying the sound quality.
This soundtrack is packed with songs for everyone. It's fun, it's suspenseful, it's epic! It's everything you could look for in an awesome game soundtrack, only multiplied ten-fold. The composition itself is as good as it gets where videogames are concerned. The soundtrack starts off sounding very much like a Jerry Goldsmith sci-fi score, but soon shifts to a much more fantasy-like setting. The fantasy sound starts in disc 1, track 5 "The Venerable Forest", which is the first arrangement of Rena's theme, not heard again until disc 2. This is probably my favorite videogame theme *ever*! It's *that* good! My favorite arrangement of it is "A Quirk of Fate", which opens Rena's scenario in the most elegant way possible. Some of the other elegant pieces include the town themes such as "Pure a Stream", "Cuddle", and "Moderate".
If it's the good old epic sound that you're looking for, then you've just gotta hear the two overworld themes "Field of Exper (Expel)" and "Field of Nede". The main battle theme is an enjoyable techno romp, and the boss music "Dynamite" is pulse-pounding heavy metal.
The finale is spectacular in "The Fateful a Moment", as the synth strings build up suspense only to drop off and be replaced by major pipe organ chords that sound absolutely heavenly.
Now, to get to the matter that probably has you worried most. Yes, the songs are only played through once, but, you must believe me, it doesn't hurt the soundtrack in any way. It may be nice to have the tracks play through twice, but playing them through only once eliminates much of the cost seen in other soundtracks, and nobody's going to tell you that you can't play the track over again.
In conclusion, I *have* to recommend this soundtrack. I just have to! It ranks right up there with Final Fantasy VI OSV and Chrono Trigger OSV. Motoi Sakuraba truly is a musical genius, and I plan on purchasing a few of his past works. This is a composer that I hope we will see for years to come!