Aside from Yasunori Mitsuda, few game music composers have a composition style more distinctive than Masashi Hamauzu. He often melds his more classically-oriented impressionistic style with some dissonant electronica. You'd be surprised how often this actually works. Despite majoring in vocal music (he was one of the bass singers in "One-Winged Angel"), his signature instrument is the piano; he has two very well-received piano arrangement albums (SaGa Frontier 2 and Final Fantasy X, respectively.) Has composed many, many unforgettable ear worms, and is very fond of recurring leitmotifs.
Has unfortunately been often saddled with bad and/or obscure games, as you can see from the list below. Final Fantasy XIII is by far the most popular and best-rated game among his solo projects, which is telling considering the dividing quality of the game.
Video Game Music (in chronological order):
- Front Mission: Gun Hazard (1996, along with Yasunori Mitsuda, Junya Nakano and Nobuo Uematsu)
- Tobal No. 1 (1996, along with Kenji Ito, Yasuhiro Kawakami, Noriko Matsueda, Yasunori Mitsuda, Junya Nakano, Ryuji Sasai and Yoko Shimomura)
- Chocobos Mysterious Dungeon (1997)
- SaGa Frontier 2 (1999): After taking the musical reins of the SaGa series from long-time series composer Kenji Ito, this game is probably one of Hamauzu's most notable soundtracks, and may have made him worthy enough to become one of the main composers for the Final Fantasy series. The music really grows on you. The SaGa Frontier 2 soundtrack is notable for nearly all of its track names being in Gratuitous German. Hamauzu himself was born and raised in West Germany.
- Final Fantasy X (2001, along with Junya Nakano and Nobuo Uematsu): The first Final Fantasy game not entirely composed by Nobuo Uematsu. Some of its most memorable music is Hamauzu's, and he also arranged some of Uematsu's melodies.
- Unlimited Saga (2002): Though the game itself was just about a Franchise Killer for the SaGa series, Hamauzu composed some very good music for it.
- Musashi Samurai Legend (2005, along with Takayuki Iwai, Yuki Iwai and Junya Nakano)
- Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (2006, along with Ryo Yamazaki)
- Oolong Tea Story ~Searching for Delicious Tea~ (2008)
- Sigma Harmonics (2008): A No Export for You action-RPG / murder mystery hybrid with time travelling as one of its major conceits.
- Final Fantasy XIII (2009)
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2011-2012, along with Naoshi Mizuta, Mitsuto Suzuki, and Yoshitaka Suzuki)
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (2013, along with Mizuta, Suzuki and Uematsu)
- Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U (2014, along with many others)
- Groove Coaster (2014, along with many others)
- World of Final Fantasy (2016)
- Final Fantasy VII Remake (2020)