Xenoblade (Wii) is one of the best RPGs I have played and completed on any video game system, in no small part due its impressive soundtrack. After finishing the game, I sought out and became the proud owner of the official soundtrack CD (Japan), which spans four CDs with a total of 91 tracks!
NOTE: This Top Ten List includes references to events late or at the end of the game, so proceed with caution if you want to avoid spoilers.
This OST is a regular part of my MP3 playlist on top of my other game soundtracks; with each listening, I fondly remember the in-game experience tied to each music track. Although it wasn't exactly easy picking out my ten favorite music tracks, I definitely find myself going back and re-listening to the following tracks based on how great the composition is, as well as its place in the game's story and atmosphere. Also, I did my best to order these ten favorite, but honestly it's hard to say which ones I like more than the other nine.
Disclaimer: I am not a music guy at all and as such am not able to describe certain instruments or sounds in an accurate or intelligent manner. I still hope what I am describing makes sense anyway!
The slow piano intro, which is then joined by the violin, makes for a great intro to this song. Then at 0:39, the music becomes more alive; 1:30 has a great violin focus. At 2:14 there's a sense of urgency (and for some reason this part reminds me a bit of Layton games!). The rest of the song flows beautifully.
Snowy Mt. Valac
Snow levels usually have awesome music, and this one is no exception. This one has a little bit of a melachonly feel, but things start to look up at the 1:45 mark. You can feel the cold, harsh wind that claimed the lives of many explorers in the past. At 2:32, the music becomes silent for a bit before a single instrument chimes in with some playfulness.
This is the day time version of the music that plays when you're in Satorl Marsh. I love the soft intro; there's a little bit of a sound effect going on in the background that you may not hear at first, but it reminds me a lot of Metroid Prime games. The music starts to kick in at 1:03; I love that beat. Then at 1:26, the melody changes again, signaling a change in emotion. There's suspense; the 'Metroid Prime' sounds become a little more prominent after this.
Wow, what a strong introduction to this epic game. As you first begin your journey and head towards to your hometown, this music is just bombarding you with all kinds of awesome. The use of all the different instruments, especially that guitar at the beginning, and the wind instrument at 0:35. I love the violin that kicks in at 1:45 among the soft piano and powerful beats. Then there's some calm at 2:04 when the guitar and piano become the focus again.
Field of the Machinae (Mechonis Field)
This one has a bit of a Donkey Kong Country factory stage vibe going on. You hear this music when you enter Mechonis Field and are exposed to the inner workings of the Mechonis itself for the first time. The music is a perfect fit to the machine world and provides a stark contrast to the living world of the Bionis. (Love that synth sound at 1:50). It's so sci-fi and amazing.
The Awakening of the Giant
This music starts to play during the cut scene when the Bionis awakens at last. In some respects, it's eerily similar to the FFVI battle with Kefka ('Dancing Mad')! This is one of the most important events in Xenoblade including the Bionis and Mechonis battling once again.
The God-Slaying Sword
This music plays during the final (final!) form of the last boss battle in the game (ie the third form). The build-up is a little slow, but it's well worth the wait. The chants signal something foreboding, then a powerful choir jumps in suddenly at 1:01 and sounds like something that could have come straight out of an epic movie.
This music plays when you reach Bionis' Leg. At this point in the game, the enormosity of the fields, as far as the eye can see, really overwhelms the player, and the music fits in so perfectly. It's grandiose, it's very cheerful and full of awe. I love the little instrument (like... a harp?) that kicks in at 0:30. Then at 0:49 is a beautiful string-focused melody. This continues on... Before the song repeats too much, another lovely melody kicks in at 3:18, where things quiet down for just a bit, focusing on the violin, before the beat strikes back in.
This music plays during the first and second form of the final boss battle in the game. It's just an all-around exciting boss battle music track that really gets you pumped up (like near the beginning at 0:49 when someone just swipes across the piano keys, 'glissando?') and mixes some great electric guitar in with the classic instruments. Plus, that drum at 2:20!
Colony 9 (night)
Not only is this music so peaceful and soothing to listen to, I just love the sounds used throughout this track. It sounds like something out of a dream. It's the perfect song for being out at night in a familiar yet dangerous land, looking up at the sky and seeing the stars. At 1:44 there's an ethereal 'space-like' sound effect as if to whisk away the player, if they have not been so already by the game's other charms.
(Cool) Unfinished Battle Main Theme (I'm probably going to get some hate for not including Main Theme in my Top Ten. It's awesome definitely, but it's not a track I listen to over and over, for some reason).
I know there's still people out there on Negative World still playing the game or haven't started yet (it's a veeery long game!), but for those who have experienced Xenoblade from start to finish: I hope you liked my picks, and if you have your own picks, just post below and tell us why you like them!