Moving Video Game Music: About the Sleep Stopping Progress (Tales of Graces)

Second out of five tracks. This post is several days in the making (thanks NaNo!).

Ah, Tales of Graces… One of my favorite games of all time (well, Tales of Graces f, as the original Wii version never came over here). A little rough around the edges in both gameplay and story, admittedly, but I adore it so much regardless. The flaws, I feel, don’t take away from the good. I adore the characters, the world, the art style, the gameplay, and of course, the music.

And a bit of that music is what we’re here for.

Now, it’s been awhile since I played this game with my mom watching and coaching me, so I can’t go as in-depth as I’d like and I don’t remember all the details (I actually don’t think I got around to playing the post-game, oops), but I can describe the basics of the context and how said context and the track makes me feel!

To start with, the world that our heroes live on, the world in which much of the story takes place… is actually a satellite to a bigger planet. A red planet (I swear, it really does look like Mars…). A dying planet.

The only life on this planet would be the monsters you fight, since after all, this is a JRPG and you need a way to farm EXP and items for the bosses ahead. But aside from that? The planet is dead. Uninhabitable. Not fit for human life.

But it wasn’t always this way. Oh, but what caused this tragedy is quite a tale, indeed, one the player and the characters themselves will soon learn.

This track plays in a part of the now empty city. This track… perfectly encapsulates the sheer emptiness of the place. The lost hopes, the broken dreams, what once was and what can never be again.

The title itself, awkward wording it may have, fits this very well. This is a world of sleep, ultimately. There can be no awakening, no progression, everything has… ceased. This world is gone.

Like XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s ‘Fate of the Earth’, this track is hauntingly beautiful. When I played this game, I often found myself hanging around in this area with Asbel facing a window, looking at the ruined world outside. The view coupled with this melancholic melody moved me, and even today just the track alone sometimes moves me to tears.

This is hands down one of my favorite ambient tracks in any video game, and I hope you all like it as much as I do.

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