I debated with others in the community at length about the value of this album: what it represents, what it is and isn't, and why what it IS is still something to be cherished. I still listen to it most of all the albums on this list, and I stand by it being one of the coolest, and most surprising, albums Square Enix has ever funded.
I'm still trying to figure out where I rank this in the I~XV OST rankings. I know I like it, and I bet I'll like it a lot more after I play the whole game. I'm glad it wasn't as "Kingdom Hearts-ish" as I thought it would be. It felt very much like a return to a more serious form, which is what I'd wanted. When I first heard "Somnus" on -drammatica- in '08, back when it was still FFversusXIII, I had high hopes. My hopes were met on first listen, and on repeated listens they've not faded. So that's a good thing, I think.
Who would've guessed the Hibino/Ayaki duo would do a 2disc arrange album for an insta-cult hit American indie game? Furthermore, who would've guessed it would be this freaking good? I think the fact that the material was new and fresh to the arrangers forced them to get more colorful here than they did with, say, the Secret of Mana project (which I love, but let's face it, I'm sure at least Ayaki knew that soundtrack pretty well, and probably Hibino too)
SPEAKING OF battle themes ... one would think Kenji Ito would be worn out from all those Battle Arrange tracks, but it seems it only got him prepped for more. Because like ... 50% of this OST is battle themes. That may be an exaggeration, but when you listen to it, it REALLY feels that way. And all of those battle themes are rock-solid. So much love. The production value on this is stupidly-good. ...... now if only I could convince S-E, Ito, and Hamauzu to work on a SaGa game *together* -- collaborative soundscape from Ito and Hamauzu could clash, or it could flow with the help or an intermediary, such as Kamikura.
I wrote a review about this one on RPGFan. Anyone who knows me understands why this is on the list. Hint: Mana Shrine. And all the other songs. But mostly Mana Shrine.
Steins;Gate 0 OST -Full Version-
If only because it has more meat to it than the first Steins;Gate OST, I prefer SG0. Also, this OST has two piano solo tracks that come with *high-res super-awesome PDF sheet music* on disc 1 that you can download and print and probably send to anyone you want. I've been working on "Messenger" -- it's hard, but not overly so, just the occasional big-time flourish you have to prep your hands for. Muscle memory and all that. Anyway, yeah, it's new Takeshi Abo so it's almost insta-win for me.
The soundtrack is worth it for tracks 15-19 alone. What a climactic, insane musical adventure that is. I'm nearly there in my own play through the game and I'm PSYCHED to see what this music is matched to!
The OST is my favorite since Civ II ... and I know how stupid that sounds. The theme song marks a return for Christopher Tin, who last did "Baba Yetu" for Civ IV and eventually won a Grammy for it (to date, the only game music Grammy win...). The new Civ VI theme isn't going to attract as much attention as a South African Gospel Choir singing an epic upbeat version of the Lord's Prayer. It's a little more ... grounded, and European. Even the song's title suggests as much. But it's still solid.