Game Music, Reviews

First Steps Towards Falcom: Ys I & II Chronicles Musical Selections (Review)

March 23, 2011 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook First Steps Towards Falcom: Ys I & II Chronicles Musical Selections (Review)on Twitter

Ever since XSEED picked up publishing rights to Nihon Falcom’s wares, we’ve been getting a slew of Ys titles on the PSP. We loved Ys SEVEN last year, and I think Oath of Felghana is a favorite for a lot of fans out there. Most recent, however, was the release of Ys I & II Chronicles, remakes of the first two games in the series with a killer arranged soundtrack.

The single disc release comes with the Premium Edition of the game in the United States, and features a “selection” of tracks from the bigger 2-disc official soundtrack release that came out in Japan in 2009. Yeah, I know it sucks to get only half of the music, but if you look at the Japanese Ys I & II Chronicles Original Sound Track mini album, it only featured 8 tracks, so be happy that you’re getting a full disc of music here!

Are the arrangements any good? Hit the jump to find out.

While I haven’t delved too deeply into the Ys series, I did pick up the first game on my crappy flip phone about 5 years ago. It was ridiculously difficult, especially given the terrible movement controls on my phone, and I admit that I was never able to defeat Dark Fact at the end of the game. I did, however, enjoy the game’s music. I’ve never listened to the music from Ys II, so this provided an all-new listening experience for me.

Regarding what’s on the disc, this is once again a distillation of what was featured on the 2-disc official soundtrack release from 2009, with all-new arrangements by Falcom Sound Team jdk member Yukihiro Jindo. He does an amazing job with these tracks, bringing in wailing electric guitars, chugging bass lines, and all the thunderous rock percussion you can stomach. Many of these elements are event recorded live. It’s actually a pretty impressive feat.

While you may be disappointed that the iconic “Feena” got the axe, other favorites from the first game are featured. “First Steps Towards Wars” is probably my favorite of the bunch with wailing electric guitar melody and its jazzy, swinging piano underpinnings. This one will not only get your blood pumping, but also that strong sense of nostalgia. “Holders of Power” will chew you up and spit you out with its blaring guitars and churning electronic elements, and there’s even a gnarly guitar solo tucked away within. You couldn’t ask for more.

All of the tracks are wonderfully recreated, including the contemplative and highly electronic “Shrine” and the oh-so-smooth “Dreaming.” “Final Battle” stands out not only for its lightning-fast tempo, but because I heard it constantly as Dark Fact killed me again and again when I was playing. There’s an element of sorrow in the melody that I think reflects this… dark fact. “Victory,” the ending theme, is done up nicely with wedding-esque bells and jdk Band singer Kanako Kotera’s singing. It’s a nice poppy tune accented by some belltones, although I don’t know if I’d seek it out specifically for repeated listening. I kind of just want to rock out here.

We start off on the right foot for the Ys II portion, blasting off with the “To Make The End of Battle –Long Version-.” I know this is a popular track despite me being unfamiliar with the game, and while I can’t say the melody is overly memorable, it’s certainly a powerful piece, made even better by the guitar and synth solos that come in about midway through. “Protectors” sounds heavily inspired by “Holders of Power,” and is nearly as good, while “Moat of Burnedbless” not only has an amazing track title, but also sports a searing sound with steady power chords and even some jazz organ thrown in for good measure. “Battleground,” “Overdrive,” and “Termination” make quite a trio at the end, with the first simmering for a short while before the second boils over with a lengthy and impressive guitar solo.  “Termination” carries us towards the end with a cool jazz guitar breakdown.

I love the epic “Sanctuary of Toal” with its pairing of elegant strings and distorted electronic pads, effectively taking a break from the previously explored rock sounds. “Rasteenie Mine” follows suit, bringing in belltones and lots of electronic elements with lots of reverb to create an awesome soundscape. “Shrine of Solomon” even gets in some Latin flava’ with some fancy acoustic guitar work.

The final track, “In an Adventure World” is another vocal theme, but the playful nature of the bell tones and upbeat strings and guitar work actually make this one stand out a lot more than the previous vocal theme. It probably helps that this closes out the album on such a positive note as well.

And there you have it. There’s not much here in terms of packaging. There’s a single page booklet with song lyrics and song credits by game, as well as a few pieces of artwork and the familiar Goddess statue printed on the disc itself. It comes tucked away inside the box with the game, and is honestly a pretty awesome bonus despite the fact that it’s incomplete. A lot of the classics are here, with a few exceptions, and if nothing else, it will at least give you a nice sample to help you determine if you want to import the 2-disc soundtrack.

What do you think of the arrangements featured in Ys I & II Chronicles for the PSP? Do you think this makes for a pretty nifty bonus disc?

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