The Fire Emblem Genealogy of the Holy War Arrange Soundtrack is one of the strongest Fire Emblem arranged albums simply because it has the advantage of its tracks being taken from a stronger Fire Emblem soundtrack. All the tracks on this album pay respect to their originals while being completely different at the same time. Fire Emblem arranged albums are usually better than the originals because they do a good job of picking out the meat of the original albums. Admittedly, however, the arrangers still missed many great tracks here. Luckily the ones they picked were definitely great track choices. Whether these are great choices or not, do the arrangements actually please?
Keep in mind the album is arranged, but not orchestrated. This was a horrible choice in that nowadays games like Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn sound better than this. Yes, it's a huge contrast from the Super Nintendo version but any untrained ear will know these are MIDI tunes and it just ruins the point of this being an arranged album. It's not appropriate to the compositions and it sounds archaic and flat. It especially has this effect on tunes with heavily orchestrated chords like "Beginning" or the intro of "Theme of Fire Emblem". These two tracks are prime examples of why this album deserved to be orchestrated.
Luckily there are still a few interesting compositions on the album. In general, every track has its low and high points. The most solid track is chapter two's theme, "Disturbance in Augusteria" The "oboe" was a great choice for this specific melody, which was already a great one. The piece has a very fantasy-like feel that should please fans. It was already one of the better tracks on the original and I think this holds true to this album. It's also a weaker track in terms of ambition, but I guess there was no need to throw away what they already had going.
This is the complete opposite of chapter one's theme, which uses an electric guitar. The electric guitar is definitely fitting for this theme, "Girl of the Spirit Forest", over any other theme, but it's as if the arrangers relied on solely the guitar. Because of this, the track feels a bit empty, novice, and corny, but at least the guitar goes away during parts of the piece. Of course, once the guitar leaves the scene it becomes flat with the MIDI chords. It's definitely a poor arrangement but it's on the right track in terms of trying something new.
The next track, "Lion King Eltosian", is a nice sound faithful track but also a repetitive one. The crescendo that happens throughout the track is a bit interesting. Not many of these arrangements goes out of the A-B-A-B form, which was also a poor choice considering the arrangements are twice as long as the original. The originals were just too short for repetition, but these tracks are above three minutes, plus every single piece had great potential for better arrangements.
"Crossing the Desert" has a very faulty arrangement. The original tune had plenty of potential to be an amazingly atmospheric composition. The arrangers decided to go with a kind of electric keyboard sound and it just doesn't fit at all. It's a bit reminiscent music out of Phantasy Star Online, which can be a good thing, but not for this arrangement and not usually for Fire Emblem music. Like the original, I really enjoy the running background line. Speaking of originals, I don't really remember liking the original "For Whose Sake" and this one captured me a bit more. It's more of an atmospheric piece like "Crossing the Desert", but also repetitive in the same. "Light and Dark" is an acceptable arrangement but you can really start to here the MIDI quality when you listen to the trumpets while when you don't when the instruments are odder.
This is not a bad album in the least and I still suggest it to any fan that has played the game. There were some missed arrangement opportunities but the album is still solid with the tracks chosen. I personally would have enjoyed an arranged version of "Celice's Theme". With a mixture of flat arrangements and computer made sounds, it's sometimes hard to appreciate the arrangements as much as they could be. Thankfully there is still enough musical creativity going on in this album to enjoy it.