Game Music, Reviews

Sega’s Yakuza 3 Soundtrack: Beautifully Hardcore (Review)

June 19, 2009 | | 6 Comments Share thison Facebook Sega’s Yakuza 3 Soundtrack: Beautifully Hardcore (Review)on Twitter

Yakuza 3–or Ryū ga Gotoku 3 as it’s called in Japan–may never see the light of day here in America, and that’s a real shame. It’s noticeably absent from the list of games that are to be shown on the E3 floor this year, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope. The game looks absolutely stunning, and has reportedly done quite well in Japan, though despite this, SEGA seems apprehensive about bringing the title overseas. This is no doubt due to the lackluster sales of the previous two titles in the series, which, in my honest opinion, is a shame. I happened to enjoy both games, and their soundtracks.

So here I am reviewing the soundtrack from the latest title in the series. It’s got a little bit of dance, rock, jazz, and pop, and every combination in between. If you’d like to hear my thoughts, join me after the jump.

The Yakuza 3 soundtrack starts off with “Fly,” an amazing opening theme that blends acoustics, hard beats, and wailing guitars. It’s definitely fitting for what I could only assume is an FMV sequence, and lasts a good 5 minutes. “Entrance to the Chaos” keeps it moving with more of an electronic flare similar to something you’d find in a Ninja Gaiden title. “Bruise” has some excellent low lead guitar work, while “Ryu-Kyu” has more of a swing dance vibe, mixed with distorted guitar riffs. Listening to the tracks, you certainly get that bad ass gangster feel with a bit of club music thrown in for good measure.

While none of the music is specifically recycled from it’s predecessor like you might have found in Yakuza 2, there are certainly a few tracks that would sound right at home in those games, even borrowing a cue here and there from those previous titles. “TAKUMI 2009” for example sounds much like the music you hear while navigating the streets of Tokyo in the previous games. “End Point” is a slightly different kind of piece found on the album with more string and brass parts, and even portions set in front of a marching snare. Still, that track maintains a bit of synth work to help keep the rhythm from dying down. “Pure Malice” is probably one of my favorite tracks, featuring a pretty wicked guitar riff, again paired with some electronica for rhythm. It also has some really nice transitions.

“Claydoll on the Candle” is a particularly beautiful track. For those of you who have played Tekken 5, the track reminds me of “Moonlit Wilderness” quite a bit. Electronica, with a piano lead ala Robert Miles. Well, not exactly, but pretty close anyway. “Ogre has Returned” is a definite throwback to the previous titles, and while it’s its own song, it definitely has the same vibe as the battle music from the previous games. “泪なき叙情” is a fitting song to end the album with, mixing rock with synths and the occasional acoustic guitar.

Attached to the end of the disc are several tracks from the various mini-games and other location specific music. For example the various strip clubs, dance parlors, and host clubs.  “No.1キャバ嬢をつくろう!” is a bit of dance and pop, and features a small spattering of lyrics, surprisingly enough, in English. There’s also a nice piano solo near the end which features a bit of jazz improv. There is also an Enka ballad, and a more straight forward J-Pop track with the stereotypical high pitched female vocalist. I actually enjoyed the Enka track quite a bit. The other track is cute, but the vocals would have been better served by doing it with vocaloid, seriously.

In the end, I’d say it’s a pretty rocking soundtrack by an array of composers. I’m surprised they didn’t include the theme song “Loser“, but thankfully the song is available as a single for anyone who might be looking for that track in particular. I loved the soundtrack and I’m still going to cross my fingers, hoping this game makes it state-side, because frankly, it’s a real shame that we’re missing out on this gem. I have to wonder though, am I the only person who feels this way?  In the meantime, pick up the soundtrack at CD Japan or Play Asia.

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