Vagrant Story is one of the best and most polished games that Square Enix ever published, but whether because of its dark and brooding aesthetics or because of its punishing difficulty curve, it didn’t get as much exposure as its more recognizable cousins. The game has become something of a cult classic, however, a status that it rightly deserves.
The game’s soundtrack, by Hitoshi Sakimoto, is as somber and brooding as the game’s visuals, with only occasional moments of levity and brightness. This track, “Ifrit,” one of the game’s many boss themes, is a notable exception–uptempo and fast-paced, this piece fits in with the best of Uematsu’s Final Fantasy boss themes and is a nice preview of what Sakimoto would offer several years later in his score to FFXII.
In fact, just listening to this has me hankering to go back and replay Vagrant Story, or perhaps even repurchase it as a PSOne Classic and tote it about with me on the PSP. I’m not sure a dungeon-crawler of its depth exists natively on a handheld system. If you are at all interested in RPGs, or even simply mature video game stories told quite well, you ought to seek out Vagrant Story and make a run at it. Just don’t be surprised when it knocks you flat on your ass.