Note: This article was originally posted as a DeviantArt journal entry on December 30th of 2016, and has been revised and edited. I add this to make not that 2016 for me, like many others, was a very depressing and soul crushing year. I played Undertale for the first time at the start of the year, but later went back to it amidst the stress of the election, and it helped me immensely. Thus, this game has a very special place in my heart, and this is likely my favorite track from the game, which is really saying something.
Yes, I am covering something from Undertale as an Amazing VGM for the third time, and I see no reason not to. Playing Undertale was one of the few good things I could salvage from this horrible year in terms of personal experiences. It was a game I enjoyed so much that I played it 5 times this year, when I rarely ever replay games at all nowadays due to my enormous game backlog. And it’s soundtrack is the best I have ever heard in gaming, period. It shows something when there are so many amazing songs in this game, that something like Reunited does not catch nearly as much attention as them.
The song itself is pretty much a perfect closing theme for a game like this. Pretty much the quintessential “look back on all your adventure now that your journey has ended” song. It just packs so much emotion into it that even if it were used at the end of a mediocre game, I’d probably still end up feeling nostalgic upon hearing it. The way this song is used is even better.
Unlike in every other ending of the game where you are just sent right to the ending, Undertale allows you to re explore every area you have been through in the game, and check up on every NPC or random enemy you have encountered in the game, and see them having resolved their own conflicts or having developed, all while having this song play over them. It makes the simple act of walking around feel very emotional, and it doesn’t lose its effect at all despite the fact that this song could be played on loop for over an hour.
Of course, i’d be remiss to say that Earthbound did the same thing with the track “Because I Love You,” especially since this is what clearly inspired this sequence in Undertale. While “Because I Love You” is still an amazing track, I personally think “Reunited” is the superior one for a few reasons. The first of which being that “Reunited” is at least partially an original composition, while “Because I Love You” is a rearrangement of the Fourside theme, which just feels random since there wasn’t that much thematic significance to that song in the game previously. The second would just be that triumphant middle section of the song before fading back into its softness, while “Because I Love You” is soft all the way through.
Another tidbit that is worth mentioning is the fact that there is also some resemblance to the Chrono Trigger themes “World’s Final Day”, and “At the Bottom of the Night.” The reason for this is the fact that this song was actually created using Chrono Trigger’s sound font, and fittingly so since this is a song that feels like it could also work in Chrono Trigger. Yet there is also a thematic use in this song in that Chrono Trigger is an especially nostalgic game for a lot of gamers, and holds a special spot in the hearts of a lot of them. Considering that this song is largely about the subject of nostalgia and looking back on one’s adventure, it is only natural that Chrono Trigger’s sound font would have a subconscious nostalgic effect. But at the same time, the song is used well arranged enough that one might not realize it is CT’s sound font right away.
It really is hard to sum up what it is about this song that is so magical, but every time I listen to it, I’m tempted to say it’s the best video game track I’ve ever heard and it makes me want to cry uncontrollably. Once again, music boxes just seem to be the saddest instruments EVER. Similarly to most of Undertale’s soundtrack, this track does include another reprisal of “Once Upon A Time.” There is an amazing sense of harmony, and not a single note feels out of place. Toby Fox, you’re a fucking prodigy!
Ultimately, this song is one about not only nostalgia, but hope for the future as well, hence why I’m using it as my final Amazing VGM of this year. 2016 may not be the year we want to look back on, but we definitely do need some hope for 2017 about now, or at least I know I do.
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