Album Review | Winter’s End: I Am Setsuna (MusiCube)

By David Lovato 06.10.2016

I Am Setsuna was designed with nostalgia over '90s RPGs in mind, and it would have been easy to give the game an 8-bit, retro-inspired soundtrack. Instead, Tokyo RPG Factory and Square Enix turned to Tomoki Miyoshi. Miyoshi isn't yet a well-established name in videogame scores, with his largest previous project being SoulCalibur V, but from the gate it's clear that the developers made the right choice.

Image for Album Review | Winter’s End: I Am Setsuna (MusiCube)

While the game it's based on is clearly inspired by RPGs of old, Miyoshi's soundtrack sounds heavily influenced by the works of Studio Ghibli's Joe Hisaishi. Much like the game it accompanies, however, it works to stray from direct lifting and lean more toward influence; here Miyoshi's work takes on a life and theme of its own. Calm piano chords evoke snowfall and long, perilous treks across I Am Setsuna's wintry landscapes, while changes in pace and tone keep the soundtrack from getting too flat or monotonous.

It's not all cold and gloom, though. The track Like a Boss! stands out with its humorous title, for example, and a unique sound to go along with it. The Warmth of Hope lives up to its name, featuring a brighter, optimistic tone. Safe Haven has a calm, welcoming tune to it, and the closing track, An End to the Journey softly winds Winter's End down with gorgeous piano strikes and an emotional fade-out.

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10
Winter's End might have benefitted from more instruments in the mix, and perhaps more vocals like those found on the track Beyond the Snow, but even with mostly piano, the soundtrack features a wide range of depth and emotion. Tomoki Miyoshi pays respect to the composers who have come before him, while still striking out and bringing a distinct style and tone of his own, one befitting I Am Setsuna's tragic story. Fans of softer videogame music, classical music, and definitely fans of Studio Ghibli, will feel right at home, while Miyoshi also brings a uniqueness that should leave listeners looking forward to his next work.

Box art for I Am Setsuna

Tokyo RPG Factory


Square Enix


Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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