.hack//G.U. Game Music O.S.T.

[back cover]
Catalog Number: VICL-62098/9
Released On: September 6, 2006
Composed By: Chikayo Fukuda
Arranged By: Chikayo Fukuda
Published By: Victor Entertainment
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 3 CDs (2 music, 1 media)
Buy this CD from Play-Asia

Disc One
01 - Title
02 - Desktop
03 - Top Page
04 - Eternal Ancient City Mach•Anu
05 - Island King E•Bracer
06 - Urban Strife Lumina•Cross
07 - Town Shop
08 - Sunny Grassland
09 - Cloudy Grassland
10 - Evening Grassland
11 - Shinto Shrine
12 - Cave
13 - Battle
14 - Battle Victory
15 - Beast God Statue
16 - Doppleganger
17 - VS Boss Battle
18 - Arena Message Room
19 - Arena Entrance Music
20 - Arena Crimson Demon Shrine
21 - Arena Battle Victory
22 - Kanad
23 - Raven
24 - Kestrel
25 - Moon Tree
26 - Icoro
27 - OnLineJack1
28 - OnLineJack2
29 - OnLineJack3
30 - Sell! Mecha•Grunty!
31 - Kerunon Nos Appears
32 - Abyss Quest Battle
33 - YASASHII RYOUTE [English Ver.]
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - Flying Dawn ~Opening Loop Demo~
02 - Welcome to the World.
03 - You're a Beginner
04 - Fear of Death
05 - Arche•Kerun Big Waterfall
06 - Fang Smile
07 - Death World Area Elday•Ru
08 - Serpent Knowledge ~Eighth Theme~
09 - May I help you?
10 - Sister and I ~Northwind Wish Theme~
11 - Speak the Inscription ~Ovan Theme~
12 - The Greatest Love ~Endurance Theme~
13 - Nine Branch Sakaki Association ~Sakaki Theme~
14 - Grem•Rev Big Temple
15 - The Slow Yet Talented Doberman ~Theme of Piroshi 3~
16 - Must Hold Onto Victory
17 - I Come Here to Boast
18 - AIDA
19 - Place of Power
20 - A Little Worried
21 - Moro•Barou Fortress
22 - The Difference of Two People
23 - Lose Resolve
24 - Sweetheart
25 - Victory Banquet
26 - Hidden Winter ~Unknown Motive Theme~
27 - Everything in This Hand
28 - Yasashii With Both Hands [Japanese Ver.]
29 - Hesitant Thoughts
Total Time:

Disc Three: ALTIMIT MINE OS+[NewSE+VoiceSE]
01 - Online Jack Scenario #1
Promotion Movie
02 - Tokyo Game Show Version
03 - Tokyo Anime Fair Version
Also Includes Desktop Themes and Sound Effects
Total Time:

The original .hack series left many gamers feeling unsatisfied. The four titles all took place in the same world, with no change to graphics, or (relevant to this review), sound. Other than the opening and ending tracks, most of the music was shared among the four games.

While I am not certain that G.U. will have entirely different sets of music for each of its three volumes, the tracklist to the G.U. O.S.T. suggests that we are indeed looking at the soundtrack to Vol.1 only. We will know for sure in the coming months.

What I do know about the soundtrack is that it features the same sound team from the last series, headed by Chikayo Fukuda. It's no surprise that the style of the music is quite similar to what we heard last time around. However, there is a general improvement in sound quality, and a stronger emphasis on tonality. There are also a significant number of vocal tracks, including silly songs with male vocalists (the new Piroshi theme is one of the two fun-loving jaunts, the other being Mecha Grante).

Matching its predecessor in style, the G.U. O.S.T. demonstrates an adequate mix of techno-pop, ethereal vocals, and captivating orchestral work, oftentimes featuring the piano as a key instrument. Fukuda did an excellent job with the piano tracks; they were generally my favorite pieces.

As I said earlier, I was pleased at the level of tonality found on this soundtrack. In other words, nearly every song has a clear melody that can be learned and repeated at one's leisure. The original .hack included a number of battle themes that were ultimately forgettable as they were used only to enhance the in-game experience, not to promote any sort of musicality.

The ending vocal is found on both discs, first in English and second in Japanese. The English version, while not suffering from "engrish" per se, sounded noticeably off. The vocalist seemed to struggle with syllabic emphasis, something that usually is more a problem in spoken word than in song. Obviously, I prefer the Japanese version.

A third disc came with the soundtrack as well. Though DVDs are a common bonus with soundtracks, this was actually a CD that had easily-accessed, unencrypted movie files and sound bytes to enhance one's PC experience. We have included a clip from one of the three movies available: a trailer from TGS. Had I understood the humor behind it, I would have also had much to say about the quirky "Online Jack Scenario #1." The video shows a guy interviewing people and asking them about, I'm guessing, MMORPGs. They don't seem to like being asked about it. It's silly, and it's the sort of thing that helps to flesh out the nature of a fictional universe, such as the one created by CyberConnect2.

I hope that fans of the .hack universe haven't given up on it after what I would consider a false start. If the music is any indication, G.U. is going to be a vast improvement on the original. If you liked the music the first time around, you'd be hard-pressed not to like the G.U. O.S.T.; it comes with high recommendations from me to you.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann