With the Japanese Genso Suikoden IV on the verge of release, Konami has once again given us another Suikoden remix album, Genso Suikoden Asian Collection. The Genso Suikoden series is known not only for an emotionally riveting game play experience, but for a wealth of powerful and fun music as well, so it's not shocking that there are so many remix albums available. While pursuing an online stock of Suikoden music I was quite surprised to find one I had not heard of and instantly knew I had to get it to fill my collection, but at the same time it sounded like something new and neat too. I was definitely right.
Like the Celtic, Vocal, and Piano collections, the Asian Collection brings the experience of this unique music from a different and distinct perspective using Asian instrumentals and techniques. It takes the music back to the Chinese roots of the first Genso Suikoden, yet at the same time they re-mastered songs from Suikoden II and III to expand the range of nostalgia and enjoyment. I personally liked the Asian flavor to the original Suikoden as it fit with the ancient Chinese tale that the game was originally based on, while still utilizing other styles and cultures (which is a big focus in the series, the conjoining of people from a far).
Not of all the tracks are insanely amazing, but are each enjoyable in their own way and serve a good job of being mood music. I found dif-rifs "Nahala Yam Koong" from Suikoden II to be one of the more significantly upgraded tracks on the album and one of the more fun ones too. The original was a simple town theme that became a very unique almost far eastern bazaar type of theme you might find while walking through streets of shops littered with chickens and spices.
Probably the most unusual change would be Kiyoshi Yoshida's "Withered Earth" which some would recognize as SuikoGaiden II's opening theme (or rather Suikoden II's Tinto theme). It by far is an interesting improvement, because the tone was lessened down from the previous remix and become more of a mellow almost "sad journey song." It brings back fond memories of both games (if you had the joy of playing, or reading the translation of, SuikoGaiden II while listening to the OST).
Though some of the tracks vary slightly away from the "traditional" type of Asian music and become almost universally meditative tracks, and the best example of this include dif-rif's "In the Sun" from Suikoden III. Though one track in particular came out completely different and dear I say, almost "pop" like, is Shigeyoshi Kawagoe's "Theme of Perversion" from the first Suikoden (you might remember it most notably from the dice throwing game). It feels more of a contemporary theme than anything else but then turns around and delivers what's on the box.
Though there was one track on the album, Yuko Asai's rendition of "Are You Going to Eat that Carrot?" from Suikoden II, that some may find either cute or rather ridiculous: the inclusion of male and female vocal "wooing", which I find is extremely hilarious, and is something that you will have to hear for yourself to understand.
All and all I think this is a neat album taking you back through each game and letting you feel a different feeling of nostalgia with each track. Though the album, like many of the almost Japanese exclusive albums, is not for the casual gamer, and may require you to load it into your favorite skinned Winamp and play along with the originals just to hear the differences. After a quick run through, like me, you'll nod and say "Oooh I remember that!" and continue with your enjoyment, which I hope you will.
I definitely recommend this for a hard core collector of the series, but not for anyone who already shelled out the money for more than one album already, considering that it costs about the same price as an actual game. But if you decide to, it just might be worth it.
Reviewed by: Steve Snyder