Note Block Beat Box: Listening to Silence of the Forest from Bravely Default and Bravely Second

Note Block Beat Box: Listening to Silence of the Forest from Bravely Default and Bravely Second

Sometimes a good song is even more powerful the second time around.

Bravely Second: End Layer is a great RPG, but it's not without controversy.

Most arguments about Bravely Second's worthiness as a successor to Bravely Default revolve around its soundtrack. Bravely Second sounds great, but its playlist is missing a notable name: Revo, the songwriter / leader of the Japanese band Sound Horizon. Revo was too busy to pen new music for Bravely Second, so he was replaced by Ryo, the songwriter for another Japanese band called Supercell.

Again, Bravely Second sounds fine -- to my ears, at least. Music has a way of kindling small wars, even when said music is meant to be relaxing and inspiring. As a consequence, a few of Bravely Second's detractors dig their heels into the ground and refuse to have anything to do with its soundtrack, presumably in a show of support for Revo.

I guess I can understand why some people have worked themselves into a baboon-strength anger-froth over the matter. Revo is certainly talented. At some point, Square-Enix told him "Hey, we need you to come up with a boss battle theme that suits crazy-looking monsters -- like, skeletal jewel-encrusted turkeys wearing bridal gowns. Can you do it?" And by gosh, he made the best possible one.

(Though the Ba'al theme features primarily in Bravely Second, it was indeed composed by Revo.)

Square-Enix knows better than to let go of a good thing, except for the Chrono Trigger series, which is why a number of Revo's best tunes from Bravely Default show up again in Bravely Second. One repeat song is the gently haunting Silence of the Forest, which makes an encore during one of Bravely Second's most poignant story moments.

Some reviewers claim Bravely Second's writing is poor, but I disagree. Sure, its narrative is riddled with clichés, and you can see the "twist" about its bad guy, Kaiser Oblivion (for real), coming from halfway around Luxendarc. But Bravely Second makes it worth your while to keep your nose pressed up against its events because all its parts work well together. Yew's optimism makes you feel bad for the little bugger when his life inevitably goes south, plus his naivety is balanced by Tiz and Edea's experiences as veteran warriors.

When Yew is forced to confront Kaiser Oblivion, however, he's more or less on his own. His friends are there in body and spirit, but the meeting between Yew and the Kaiser is a matter of hearts. The two face each other down in the crypt of House Genealogia, and it's not the happiest of meetings. Given how the journey to the showdown is wrapped up in Silence of the Forest, you quickly get the impression jolly times aren't ahead, anyway.

Silence of the Forest makes amazing use of bells, an accompaniment that I love hearing in any game (even cowbell has its place). Would Cyan's theme from Final Fantasy VI work without the silver punctuation of its bells? Sure, but let's face it, those jangly intervals really tie things together.

The manner in which Silence of the Forest blossoms at the 1:20 mark also needs to be noted. It grabs me every time I hear it. In fact, I quickly turned off random encounters when I reached the Genealogia crypt because I didn't the combined weight of the music and the moment to be disrupted.

Video games sometimes have a hard time balancing narrative and gameplay. Maybe the fix lies in Bravely Second's option to turn down the action when the story and music have taken your mind and heart elsewhere.

In any case, even though Silence of the Forest is recycled material from Bravely Default, Square-Enix couldn't have chosen a better moment for the song's re-appearance. For that, I offer applause and a double-helping of charm cheesecake.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve,, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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