Game Music, Reviews

Long Album Titles Strike Back: Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Limited Edition Soundtrack (Review)

November 19, 2008 | | 7 Comments Share thison Facebook Long Album Titles Strike Back: Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Limited Edition Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter

What a surprise! Namco Bandai has been doing right by game music fans lately with the recent soundtrack disc included with the Tales of Vesperia Limited Edition and now the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Limited Edition on the PlayStation 3. This limited edition version not only comes with a soundtrack disc featuring 18 pieces of music from the game, but also a limited-print laser art cell and a Naruto trading card, all snuggled tightly in a collectible tin case.

The game itself does prove to be fun as well as artistically beautiful, but I’m sure you want to know if the soundtrack album and other goodies are worth the additional $10. The album features about 40 minutes of rock music with Asian influences from composer Yasunori Ebina, who seems to be involved with the anime series as opposed to past Naruto games, and it actually makes for an interesting listen.

Check out our impressions after the jump.

“Opening” and “Main Title” are the same tune, with the theme being an abbreviated version of the title track. You’re going to find some typical ninja rock here, complete with wailing electric guitars and a distinctly Eastern string progression. While you’ll quickly notice that the instruments featured on this album aren’t the most convincing in terms of the strings and guitars, I admit they do have a unique charm that I found to be quite pleasing.

The rock continues with “Big Fight with the Giant Toad,” which sports chugging guitars with Eastern plucked string instruments, woodwinds, and some martial arts-y “Huh!” and “Ha!” sounds added to the mix. The guitar melody that comes in from time to time is pretty cool, and I found myself enjoying this track. “Deadly Struggle” acts is a transition between the rock tracks and some of the more subdued pieces found on the album. The string stabs in the background could stand to be brought forward in the mix, as they lend the piece a jazzy sort of elegance, and the Asian woodwinds are a nice touch throughout the piece.

“Sand Ripples in the Wind” is a piano and string ballad that features a theme that is repeated throughout the album. The melancholy nature of the track is a nice change of pace from the rock tracks that dominated the early portions of the album. “Earth-Shaking Matter” combines emotional strings with wailing guitars. The harmonies between the orchestral and rock elements are quite effective.

I really dig the filtered percussion featured in both “The Roar in a Rain of Tears” and “Crimson Spiral & Black Thunder.” The former yields an atmosphere of distress, while the latter sounds more bold with heavier percussion and active piano melodies that weave throughout the other elements of the song. These are two of my favorite tracks on the album. The last track I’ll mention is short but awesome. “The Curtain Opens” starts with a jazzy piano build up, followed by chugging guitars and Asain woodwinds, creating one of the coolest stereotypically “Asian” tracks on the album that just screams of badassness.

The bottom line is that the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Limited Edition Soundtrack features some great rock and piano tracks that will definitely help the gaming experience, but I doubt you’ll be popping this one into your car stereo any time soon.  I’d still say it’s worth the extra $10 to get the soundtrack along with the laser art cell, trading card, and tin case.  I definitely enjoyed getting to know Yasunori Ebina’s work, and look forward to hearing more in the future. I’m also curious to see if Namco Bandai will turn this soundtrack disc business into a trend, as I think all of us appreciate having access to these soundtracks.

Are you a Naruto fan who picked up Ultimate Ninja Storm this month? Are you familiar with Yasunori Ebina’s work in other mediums?

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