Game Music, Reviews

Odin’s Nine Strong Songs Return With Yggdra Union: The Soundtrack (Review)

October 14, 2008 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Odin’s Nine Strong Songs Return With Yggdra Union: The Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter

Atlus has shifted their pre-order soundtrack promotions into high gear this season, starting with Yggdra Union for the PSP. We mentioned a couple months ago that those who pre-ordered Yggdra Union would receive a promotional soundtrack disc, and at last, here it is.

So what exactly do we have here? This disc features a selection of tracks from the original Yggdra Union on the GBA, revamped and upgraded for the PSP. I’m assuming that composers Shigeki Hayashi and Minako Adachi handled the arrangements (or conversions), as the disc doesn’t actually list any credits. Anyway, prepare for battle, and get ready to listen to a whole lot of high-energy music!

Read our full impressions after the jump.

Wow. “Yggdra Union” is an opening track that packs quite a punch. Written as an epic jingle of sorts, the melody explodes forth from the silence. I wish they had expanded upon this idea and created a full piece of music, as it’s only about a minute in length. The next track, “We’ll Never Fight Alone” takes on somewhat of a gothic rock sound with screaming guitars and choir pads. The racing percussion and guitar solos are impressive, and left me wanting more. While there are a few more tracks like this on the album, you’re going to have to march for a long time to get there.

A large portion of the soundtrack consists of battle marches. They sound great on the whole, but the fact that so many of them are crammed so closely together keeps the album at a single, fast-paced tempo. There isn’t a whole lot of dynamic flow here. I will mention a few of these marches that stand out, such as “Royal March (Normal)” and “Royal March (Defense),” both of which sport an epic sound similar to the Soul Calibur series. I really enjoyed the powerful string stabs and prominent brass.

Taking a brief break from the constant marching, “Gran Centurio” features a taste of baroque with a lovely string melody and harpsichord. The regal tone gives the piece a wonderful elegance that I wish was found elsewhere on the album.

From here we get into a series of battle tracks that offer a little more variety, although they are quite short in length. They start with “Onward, Yggdra!” which combines orchestral elements and trance-like percussion and synthesizers, creating a unique sound that I would have liked to have heard more frequently on the album. “Onward, Russell!” makes use of filtered guitar shredding alongside an inspiring brass melody. A progressive rock track is featured next, titled “Onward, Twin Valkyries!,” which is one of my favorite tracks with its powerful melody. In all honesty, these battle tracks sound strikingly similar to some of Sakuraba’s work on Valkyrie Profile, which was also based in Norse mythology interestingly enough. The final track, “Yggdra Chronicles” is a fitting closer, featuring a contemplative string melody that is both beautiful and memorable. The harp accents and flute segments add to the intricate piece.

Now, I’m not one to complain about free stuff, but as a stand-alone listening experience, Yggdra Union: The Soundtrack isn’t going to blow any socks off. First, it doesn’t feature all the music from the game (there was a 2-disc GBA soundtrack titled Yggdra Union Perfect Audio Collection PLUS back in 2006 if you want to hear more), and the incessant battle themes lead to a high-energy experience from start to finish. Lastly, I’ll say that I was expecting a bit more of a musical upgrade for Yggdra Union on the PSP. While this music is great, the quality of the instruments (I’m lookin’ at you, brass) are not on par with some of the stuff I’ve heard on the PSP.

That doesn’t mean this album isn’t any good, however, and I think it’s awesome that Atlus is doing this. It would be cool to see an official soundtrack release with all the music from the game available for purchase for those who want it. Fans who enjoyed the game should enjoy this soundtrack disc, and the artwork on the cardboard sleeve that houses the disc is a nice touch.

Did you play Yggdra Union and have any impressions of your own regarding the music? Are you looking forward to some of the other promotional soundtrack discs that Atlus is putting out this season?

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