Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mighty Gunvolt Burst (NS, 3DS) Review

A second review will be posted later in the evening, but for now let's put our collective focus at Mighty Gunvolt Burst, the latest from developer Inti Creates, known for the Mega Man Zero series of games. Mighty No. 9 was a mess, but can Beck ride of Gunvolt's coattails to salvage his own gaming career?

Action-packed gameplay is bursting at the seams


The whole sordid saga with Mighty No. 9 and its Kickstarter really soured and disappointed a huge legion of fans who were promised something great from Keiji Inafune, a designer partly behind the creation of Mega Man. Instead, Mighty No. 9 ended up being delayed multiple times, the marketing was out of touch at best, the campaign was poorly managed, and the end game was average at best.

However, the development team at Inti Creates worked on a smaller game in preparation for the release of Mighty No. 9 in the meantime, a Nintendo 3DS eShop and Steam release known as Mighty Gunvolt. This game combined the styles of Inti Creates' own IP, Azure Striker Gunvolt, with Mighty No. 9, creating its own unique Mega Man-styled mashup. Now, we see a sequel, exclusive to Nintendo Switch and soon Nintendo 3DS with Mighty Gunvolt Burst. The irony here is that for all the millions of dollars backed into Mighty No. 9, this budget project in Mighty Gunvolt Burst is clearly the superior product in this reviewer's eyes.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst allows you the choice between playing as Mighty No. 9's Beck or Azure Striker Gunvolt's Gunvolt, each with slight gameplay differences that grow as you acquire new customization parts. More on those later. The game is set up like a traditional Mega Man game complete with a tutorial intro stage, eight "Robot Master" stages that can be chosen from in any order, and a trio of final levels that ramp up the difficulty and feature some cool level gimmicks.

The "Robot Masters" of Mega Man in Mighty Gunvolt Burst come in the form of the "Mighty Numbers." They are all the same eight bosses from Mighty No. 9 but with new attack patterns that change as their health edges closer to being fully depleted. Bosses are generally tough to crack at first because they possess so much health, which is a bit draining, but being able to acquire fruit that serves as health refills makes fights easier to adjust to. You can learn their moves, when to dodge, when to attack, and even if you die after using all of your collection of fruit, they return to you based on the fruit you had at gate before the boss.

Beck shows Seismic here that size doesn't really matter.
Stages are themed similar to those in Mighty No. 9, save for the final levels which go in a totally different direction. Places like Countershade's museum stage has a familiar museum with equally familiar enemy types to Mighty No. 9 vets, but the layout, obstacles, and setup are all different. No need to annoyingly chase Countershade through multiple looping hallways where one death means you have to begin the pursuit all over again. Instead, you just have to follow one of three paths to unlock security panels leading to the encounter with Countershade. The level design in Mighty Gunvolt Burst is more like a standard Mega Man game rather than the obnoxious designs of Mighty No. 9. There are quite a few Azure Striker Gunvolt elements in the level design as well, which makes total sense, of course, due to the material, after all.

The levels in Mighty Gunvolt Burst are a blast to play through, and that's exceptional due to the optional ability to replay them. If you're a completionist or just want to get the most out of your purchase, then you'll most likely want to do so, as the rewards are beneficial. Each stage houses multiple secret chips that unlock abilities for either Beck or Gunvolt. Some are out in plain sight, but in difficult to access locations, while others are housed behind destructible walls that have no clear appearance that they can be destroyed. Thankfully, one of the abilities available to Beck and Gunvolt is one called "dowsing", which causes a rumble in the Nintendo Switch controller that gets more forceful as you near the wall in question. Outside of chips to collect (some are only available through multiple completions of a stage), there are 20+ challenges to complete, offering rewards for finishing them off.

The gift of HD rumble brings the gift of finding a secret area.
It's great you can get chips, but what do you do with them exactly, you ask? You can create load-outs for Beck or Gunvolt that alters an exhaustive and ever-growing list of abilities. By consuming CP (which I assume means Command Points), you can equip better variations to your base weaponry, defense, and abilities. At the beginning of a play-through, your character shoots pea-sized bullets without much strength. As you find and acquire new chips, you can shoot larger bullets, raise their attack power, raise your defense, make it so you don't get knocked back by attacks, learn to jump multiple times in the air as Gunvolt or dash several times in midair as Beck, and so much more. Each ability altered or equipped takes up CP, and there's a limit of what you can hold at once -- though this is helped through collecting CP chips that add to your maximum amount available. Thus, there is a good deal of strategy involved, lots of room for experimenting, and a tremendous level of customization on offer here, which can be a bit overwhelming at times.

With Mighty No. 9, Beck could shoot a bunch of bullets to bring a foe's guard down before dashing into them to take them down and score points. In Mighty Gunvolt Burst, the mechanic to stylishly defeat enemies is different. Instead, you need to be in close proximity to a foe when defeating them to earn a Burst bonus that awards extra points and improves your score. Through earning a continued combo of Bursts by defeating enemies without being too far away from them, your score increases to high amounts. Unfortunately, this mechanic is at direct odds with Beck and Gunvolt's method of long-range attacks and shots. It makes the whole Burst mechanic seem like a last minute addition or at least one that wasn't put under rigorous testing enough to make sure it fit the game.

A combo of 26!? You're just showing off now, Beck.
The story of Mighty Gunvolt Burst sees both Beck and Gunvolt trapped within a virtual reality world. While it may be a false reality, so to speak, the danger to them is very real. At first the two are completely apart from one another, and eventually they meet up in unfriendly terms. You can probably guess what happens by the end of the game (spoiler: they decide to be friends and team up against the big bad), but it's sufficient enough of a story all the same. Mighty No. 9 suffered from too much story bloat when I just wanted to get into the game. Mighty Gunvolt Burst alleviates that problem while still presenting a capable story reason to battle through the game's stages.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst is modern retro with hints of NES styling but more leaning towards SNES goodness regarding what the game actually does with its visuals. They're vibrant, colorful, seldom dull, and feature a notable amount of environmental detail for a game modeled after the classics. The music features chiptune variations of themes from Mighty No. 9, though that game wasn't well known by me for its musical qualities outside of the boss theme, which is represented in Mighty Gunvolt Burst. Overall, I was pleased with what I saw and heard out of Mighty Gunvolt Burst, and was also ecstatic not to encounter significant episodes of waning frame-rate.

Add some glasses to these hazards and they're see-saws! 
If anything, all of the trifles, troubles, and disappointment resulting from Mighty No. 9 had one positive come from it, and that's the birth of this game. Sure, Mighty Gunvolt Burst might have existed in an alternate timeline where Mighty No. 9 didn't exist, just under a different skin and franchise, but overall, Mighty Gunvolt Burst is a challenging and satisfying game to play. Just goes to show that out of a negative can indeed come something positive. Though, that three million dollars backed by fans wanting Mighty No. 9 shouldn't have been the price, now that I think about it...

[SPC Says: B]

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Puyo Puyo Tetris (NS, PS4) Review

We're traveling towards the end of June with four upcoming reviews. Here's the first, a Nintendo Switch (the version this review is based on) and PlayStation 4 game. It combines two terrific puzzle games into one sensational package. It's Puyo Puyo Tetris, and here is the SuperPhillip Central review.

Someone got some Puyo Puyo in my Tetris! 


And it's dee~licious! Like interesting combinations and inventions over man's time on this great green earth, there have been fantastic ones like peanut butter and chocolate, Oreos and ice cream, and so forth. Likewise, there are also less enticing ones (a popular pick in the current culinary climate is pineapples and pizza). In any case, Puyo Puyo Tetris fits in the former category, a tremendous combination of two puzzle game titans (well, Puyo Puyo less so, of course) that brings a lot of fun and content to both the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

Addictive is an apt adjective to describe the gameplay of both Puyo Puyo and Tetris. With Puyo Puyo, you have colored blobs (the Puyo) that fall from the top of the screen to the bottom in pairs. To score points, you need to have four of the same colored, adjacent Puyo match to clear them from the board. This is the most simplest form of Puyo Puyo, however, as the strategy, complexity, and depth of the game changes by needing to create chains, where popped Puyo clear the way for already laid Puyo to fall down like a waterfall, scoring more points once they fall onto resting matching Puyo.

Meanwhile, Tetris is more well known as a puzzle series, where the goal is to take the falling Tetriminos (again, falling from the top of the screen to the bottom), move them around, and place them at the bottom of the screen. Your score points by clearing lines -- having one or more horizontal lines completely full of Tetrimino blocks. High points come from clearing more lines at once (achieving that awesome Tetris of five lines at once) and scoring combos.

If you grow weary of one mode in Puyo Puyo Tetris, there are plenty more where that one came from.
Puyo Puyo Tetris will certainly put your skills of both game modes to the test, and if you are a complete beginner (to the point where I was pretty much), there are many beneficial in-game lessons and beginner modes to get a taste of both Puyo Puyo and Tetris. The myriad of modes shows a game seriously loaded with content, whether it's alone, with friends locally, or against players worldwide. Between the half-dozen unique Challenge modes, quick-to-play / tough-to-master Arcade modes, and Adventure Mode, you will be getting a massive amount of value with your gaming dollars.

For any puzzle party game worth its weight in falling garbage blocks, a competent Versus mode is a must, and thankfully, Puyo Puyo Tetris has it, and in spades. When playing casually or competitively with friends and family and in many modes against the computer, a player can choose what ever puzzle mode they prefer, whether Puyo Puyo or Tetris. Thus, two players can be engaged in totally different puzzle modes while competing against one another. For Puyo Puyo players, a simple two-chain combo will send a slew of garbage blocks that get in the way of their progress. Meanwhile, Tetris players need to organize a multi-line clear or set of combos to drop garbage on their opponent. As you can probably guess, one is definitely easier to do than the other, and much quicker. And I'm not feeling any sympathy for the Puyo Puyo player, if that helps you guess any.

The Adventure mode in Puyo Puyo Tetris was my go-to mode for single player action. The story revolves around the universes of Puyo Puyo, featuring a wacky cast of high school anime characters, and Tetris, made up of a starship crew that is on the more serious side (though about as serious as a game with a cute sense of humor allows). Puyo Puyo blobs and Tetriminos are appearing in both universes with no apparent cause, so the two groups form a unity to get to the root of the problem. A whole slew of colorful characters appear in the Adventure mode of the game, 24 in all (which all become playable in every mode), and through the mode's ten or chapters (two of which were DLC in the original Japanese release), the story is presented through full body character stills in all their cartoony glory with fully English voiced dialogue.

Zany, insane, and brilliant, this is Puyo Puyo Tetris' Adventure mode.
Each of the Adventure mode's chapters consists of ten levels, and they vary things up nicely so you're not doing the same types of modes or going for the same goals over and over again. It's true that you'll be doing a ton of Versus matches, yes, but sometimes you and your opponent are playing Puyo Puyo, or one is playing Tetris while the other plays Puyo Puyo. Outside of Versus content in Adventure mode, there are trials like trying to reach a certain number of points or reach a line clear threshold before time runs out. In addition to just completing the levels, you can earn up to three stars on each, with goals ranging from beating your opponent in a number of minutes to reaching a specific number of points.

But did I complete the stage quickly enough?!
One thing I especially liked about Adventure is how that if you find yourself reaching a dead end -- that is, a level that you just can't seem to complete no matter how many times you try -- there is an option to skip that level and move on to the next. As someone whose puzzle game skills of Puyo Puyo and Tetris' type leaves a lot more to be welcomed than anything else, this optional choice was a gift from the puzzle game gods. ...Or Sega. Which ever you prefer. Of course, it was totally a last resort and used sparingly. Totally.

One thing not mentioned in the review body is the wide array of backgrounds
 and appearances of Puyo and Tetriminos in this game.
Regarding other modes, I feel Swap is one that works well. It has two different boards, each with one puzzle style on it, that opponents play on. After time ticks down enough, the boards switch, so if you were playing on a Puyo Puyo board, now you're playing on a Tetris one. The strategy here is when to time clearing lines or chains to drop garbage blocks on your opponent. Not just when it's most opportune like an ordinary Versus match, but on which board of theirs?

Meanwhile, Fusion is true to its name, but a mixed bag. It certainly is a mode that has the highest learning curve to me, and for that reason, it might not be everyone's cup of Puyo Puyo tea. Here, falling pieces alternate from Puyos to Tetriminos and back again, Tetrimino pieces that no more than touch anything stay in place, and it makes for a tough time when a board is stacked high with little room to work with. Though garbage blocks are crushed underneath the weight of any falling Tetrimino, crushed Puyo Puyo fall from the top of the screen. If you've the rules of Tetris and Puyo Puyo hardwired in your brain, you're going to need to do some reconnecting to get a grasp on Fusion mode.

Fusion mode might go over your head the first few matches, but eventually it may click.
Puyo Puyo Tetris is a robust, mode-rich puzzle game perfect for quick burst plays or extended sessions in the single player modes, specifically the wacky, endearing, and delightful Adventure mode. Whether you're a Puyo Puyo fan, Tetris lover, beginner, veteran, never played a Tetris or Puyo Puyo game in your life, or played at tournaments, Puyo Puyo Tetris has something for everyone. Puyo Puyo and Tetris are a winning combination.

[SPC Says: B+]

Monday, June 26, 2017

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "64 Reasons to Celebrate" Edition

Here at SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs I like to occasionally spice things up with themed weeks, and that's exactly what we've all found ourselves in this week. It's all Nintendo 64 and all the time. Let's go back to the era of 64 bits and getting 'N or getting out.

We'll do this by first exploring Bob-Omb Battlefield in Super Mario 64 before returning triumphantly from Venom with the ending credits of Star Fox 64. Continuing the theme of credits, we'll hear the staff roll theme of Super Smash Bros.. Finally, two third-party titles appear on the VGMs, Bomberman 64: The Second Attack and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.

Click on the giant VGM volume names to hear the song linked, and as always, the VGM Database houses every VGM volume ever featured on this weekly series of articles. Now, let's get on to the music!

v1426. Super Mario 64 (N64) - Bob-Omb Battlefield


With Super Mario Odyssey hyping much of the gaming world like crazy with its return to a sandbox style, open world adventure, let's take a look and more importantly, listen to the original Super Mario 64 that put Mario in that type of game in the first place! Bob-Omb Battlefield is the main theme of Super Mario 64, and it's heard in various worlds and levels outside of the grounds of the Bob-Ombs but Bob-Omb Battlefield is the first time a player hears it in-game.

v1427. Star Fox 64 (N64) - Staff Credits


With news of the Super NES Classic officially releasing with Star Fox 2 on it at the end of September, it's another chance to bring up a related game like I did with Super Mario Odyssey and Super Mario 64. This time we're listening to the cinematic wonder that is the Star Fox 64 soundtrack. After a job well done (and depending on which path you took, a mission complete or a mission accomplished), Team Star Fox returns to Corneria to accept their congratulations and reward from General Pepper and the Cornerian Army. It's a really well done piece that gets me excited to this day.

v1428. Super Smash Bros. (N64) - Credits


We move from one Nintendo 64 game's credits theme to another with the triumph end credits theme of the very first Super Smash Bros. The Super Smash Bros. series is known for stellar music atop its amazing, addicting gameplay. That was true with its original entry, a game that almost didn't exist and was released in relative obscurity. It obviously wasn't until Super Smash Bros. Melee's release on GameCube that the series really went into hyper drive. And, as they say, the rest is history.

v1429. Bomberman 64: The Second Attack (N64) - Battle Royal


Let's move on to some third-party offerings on the Nintendo 64. One of my favorite unsung games on the system is Bomberman 64: The Second Attack, a game with much greater rarity than its predecessor. It comes complete with a more traditional battle mode, where this song comes from, a greater story mode experience, and awesome customization. It's my favorite Bomberman game by far.

v1430. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (N64, PC) - Rogue Theme: Reprise


Let's conclude with the only non-Nintendo 64 exclusive game on this list, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. What I wouldn't do for a remastered (better yet, remade) trilogy of the Rogue Squadron games. Regardless, the Rogues are indeed the fleet taking it to the Empire in missions both well known in the Star Wars mythos and not so much so.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

LEGO Worlds (PS4, XB1, PC) Review

LEGO Worlds was an anticipated game of mine for a while, and now I have played it. Unfortunately, the highly-inspired-by-Minecraft game is less than a success. Here is SuperPhillip Central's review of LEGO Worlds, based off of the PlayStation 4 build.

LE'GO My Minecraft!


Going in to LEGO Worlds, my imagination was running wild and my excitement was an enormously elevated level. All of the possibilities of exploring regions devised up completely of LEGO blocks, being able to customize the world, build whatever I wanted, and the like enthused me greatly. However, no sooner than I immersed myself in one of LEGO Worlds' actual worlds, did I see my thoughts of being unable to unleash my creativity fall to wayside and crumble one by one. For every thing that LEGO Worlds does right, there are an abundance of problems that keep it from being the most important thing for a game like this -- fun.

The main goal of LEGO Worlds is to collect Gold Bricks, something that LEGO game fans should known of all too well. Gold Bricks are the main collectible in pretty much every modern LEGO game. It's no exception here in LEGO Worlds, and unlike those other games, it's mandatory to collect these if you want to make actual progress within the game. Gold Bricks are gained by doing an assortment of tasks, whether objective-based like fetching four pigs for a farmer or painting a tree in a whimsical, magical color for a queen, or exploration-based such as searching the underground of a world for hidden treasure chests containing your desired golden reward.

The Fast and the Furious: Upper Middle Class Suburb Edition!
Herein lies the first problem with LEGO Worlds. Many of its objectives are far too tedious and border on absolutely, obscenely repetitive as you continue on through the game. Collecting Gold Bricks is only good for two things: upgrading your builder rank, which bestows new tools and gadgets to assist in building stuff, and for getting Xbox and Steam achievements or PlayStation trophies. When a lot of objectives from NPCs to satisfy their quests are not described clearly enough, it makes for plenty of frustrating aggravation.

Don't worry -- most creatures don't mind giving you a ride.
As for adventuring, a part of open world experiences is being able to do whatever you want, however you want. This is true with LEGO Worlds, but this can sometimes be a hindrance. For instance, when it concerns exploring, one could stumble upon the entrance to a dungeon or see that gold beam of light is shining from the ground, indicating a Gold Brick or interesting find underneath. But why do the hard work of avoiding traps and hazards inside the dungeon or slogging around randomized worlds to find that cave to enter the underground when you can just use the game's tools to remove the ground, delete walls, and obliterate the topography as you see fit to sort of cheat your way to get it? Since LEGO Worlds' exploration and finding things isn't that enjoyable, that's the way I went about finding things underground and completing dungeons, because why do the hard work if the process to do it isn't even fun to begin with?

Take to the skies, venture 'neath the depths, or stick to land. It's your choice and your worlds to explore.
LEGO Worlds has a versatile editor in it, allowing you to interact and morph any block in the world, whether it's a dirt ground, a rock wall, a boiling block of lava, a fluffy cloud -- whatever. You can create buildings and objects old school through the traditional brick-by-brick method, or you can use various tools to copy and duplicate pre-made structures and edit them as you see fit. These pre-made structures such as buildings and objects of varying size and scale can be found by using a specific gadget to make note of them and then buying the "right", if you will, to plant them around the world at your leisure.

Want to make a suburban city block? You can do it, but it might be a bit annoying!
Regardless, as an editor itself, LEGO Worlds offers one that is quite cumbersome and hard to work with. If you were wanting an experience as easy as clipping two real world LEGO blocks together, you're going to be severely disappointed. It takes a lot of patience and practice to build anything worth bragging about in LEGO Worlds. For a game meant for all ages, particularly skewed towards the young demographic, I feel that what LEGO Worlds' editor is currently is too difficult and not intuitive for most players. Good editors give some leeway with its tools and if you make a mistake, it's usually easy to clear up. With factors like 3D, little guidance, and the like, I wouldn't consider what LEGO Worlds has a good editor.

Then, there is just the terrible controls in general. This is no better exemplified than in the combat, which is just terrible, even for the LEGO series, which obviously isn't the bastion for deep battle systems by any stretch of the imagination. It's all about looking at the direction of your enemy and hitting the attack button. It wouldn't be awful if you always hit your intended target, but most of the time your character will engage with another enemy with wild swings that occasionally hit their targets. It's another aspect of LEGO Worlds that is just undercooked and lame, despite offering more weapon possibilities than any modern LEGO game before it. It merely makes the combat all the more disappointing.

Boogeying on the bagpipes -- that copper will allow it!
Performance on home consoles and PC isn't much an improvement either. A steady frame-rate is not what you will get in LEGO Worlds. Instead, you'll get slideshow-style frame-rate issues. It's understandable given the randomly generated worlds and how much is being loaded, but still, it just ends up being a pain to enjoy the worlds you explore when most actions and even camera movements result in slowdown. Long load times, pop up and pop in, problems with viewing dialogue and UI information, and more also left me a bit jaded with my LEGO Worlds experience.

Considering how buggy LEGO games have been in the past, I really shouldn't have been surprised with how many performance-related issues and gameplay problems I saw with LEGO Worlds, as even a linear LEGO game has problematic occurrences, so a greater scope of LEGO game makes sense that it's worse off in both performance and gameplay. LEGO Worlds is indeed an interesting idea for a LEGO game, and if the execution was better, there was more polish, and enough time was invested in it, it could have been a home run and capable competitor to Minecraft. As it is now, LEGO Worlds is merely a glitch-filled, weak attempt with a poor editor that tries to do everything Minecraft does better but ends up doing very little right.

[SPC Says: D+]

Monday, June 19, 2017

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "E3 Withdrawal" Edition

Still reeling from E3, SuperPhillip Central is having withdrawal symptoms. We gotta have more game announcements, more new trailers, more joy, but alas, that time is now over. Thus, we must move on to a new week, and like any new week, we begin with SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs. Here, one piece of music for five different video games apiece (five pieces of music total, if your brain is fried like mine usually is) is showcased with a link, imagine, and brief introduction.

This week we're featuring some big games in the form of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, and we continue with that three-quel trend with Dark Souls III. The Dark Knight follows with a theme from Batman: Arkham Knight just before Kratos storms on to the scene with God of War II. Last but not least, one of many black sheeps in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy VIII wraps up this "E3 Withdrawal" edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs.

Click on the big link above each image to hear the song mentioned. Additionally, the VGM Database houses every game and piece of music ever showcased on this weekly series. Now, let's get on to the music!

v1421. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt (PS4, XB1, PC) - Geralt of Rivia


We begin with a series and a game that I don't think has been covered yet on SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs is The Witcher, so why not fix this glaring omission by including The Witcher III: Wild Hunt as the first VGM volume of this edition! That's exactly what we're going to do with this rousing main theme for the game that is as big of a musical adventure as the game is an enjoyable one! Majestic, bold, brave, and just all-around fantastic, Wild Hunt's main theme is one for the ages.

v1422. Dark Souls III (PS4, XB1, PC) - Main Menu


Dark Souls as a series is not for those with weak wills, low patience, or the feint of heart. Probably why I've only watched someone play several games in the series rather than played them myself. That said, I would be remiss if I didn't take the time to enjoy the series' soundtracks, featuring some really well done music, both melodic and atmospheric. Dark Souls III's main menu might be familiar to those who followed the game leading up to its release, as this theme is the same music played during the game's trailer at Gamescom in 2015.

v1423. Batman: Arkham City (Multi) - You Should Have Listened to My Warning


Nick Arundel's work on Batman: Arkham City remains my favorite video game soundtrack in the Arkham series. Riveting strings, tense, thrilling music, and just a tremendous sense of anticipation builds throughout a wide number of tracks throughout Batman: Arkham City. It doesn't hurt either that out of the Dark Knight's many nighttime outings that Arkham City remains one of my favorites!

v1424. God of War II (PS2) - Colossus of Rhodes


All in a god's work for Kratos as God of War II plunges players directly into an action sequence even better and greater in scale than the Hydra in the original God of War. In the sequel, Kratos is pursued at various points of the introductory area by the Colossus of Rhodes, before finally doing battle with the iron beast. The music in the God of War series is most certainly epic, and the theme for the Colossus of Rhodes supports that line of thinking considerably.

v1425. Final Fantasy VIII (PS1) - Liberi Fatali


Played during the opening cutscene of Final Fantasy VIII, Liberi Fatali is one of main themes from the game, taking much of its motifs from Edea's Theme. The combination of a rousing orchestra with Latin chanting as Squall and Seifer wield dueling blades remains one of my favorite openings in any video game. I believe Final Fantasy IV through IX was Nobuo Uematsu's strongest period in his composing career.

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