.hack//G.U. Game Music O.S.T.2

[back cover]
Catalog Number: VICL-62289/90 (limited edition includes VIZL-218)
Released On: January 24, 2007
Composed By: Chikayo Fukuda
Arranged By: Chikayo Fukuda
Published By: Victor Entertainment
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs (limited edition 3, including a media disc)
Buy this CD from Play-Asia

Disc One
01 - The Far Side of the Steep Mountains ~Opening Loop Demo2~
02 - Sunny Desert Plains
03 - Cloudy Desert Plains
04 - Evening Desert Plains
05 - Blue Sky Town Dol•Dona
07 - Moon Break -Eclipse-
08 - Green Oath ~Arena Green Holy Shrine~
09 - Capital City of Grief Eld•Sleika
10 - Koshta•Bauer Battlefield Mark
11 - To You, Dear
12 - Sugary Mansion Shief•Berg
13 - My Hero! Piroshi 3! ~Theme of Piroshi 3 Part 2~
14 - Gallery
15 - A Dream's Coming Out of its Shell
16 - "Me" I Am Here
17 - HERE I COME ~VS Inis~
18 - Dragonbone Mountain Range Bryuna•Gideon
19 - Reverse City Magni•Fi
20 - DARK INFECTION ~VS Colbenik~
21 - The Truth of One's Whereabouts
23 - Puchi Running
24 - Winning Cheer
25 - It Is I! Grunty!!
26 - Ghaleon•Maze Great Sanctuary
27 - GobGobGob! ~Theme of Gold Goblin~
28 - Listen to My Speech! ~Theme of Negimaru~
29 - Tactics Time
30 - Heart of Crimson
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - Eightfold Illusion ~Opening Loop Demo3~
02 - Visions of What's to Come ~Theme of Aina~
03 - Out of Bounds
04 - Aiming For That Place ~Arena Wise Dragon Shrine~
05 - Dual Heavenly City Breg•Epona
06 - A Sea of Trees
07 - Nobody Knows ~Theme of Zelkova~
08 - CHAIN OF FATE ~VS Fidohel~
09 - The Glimmer of Justice Cannot Fade ~Theme of Piroshi 3 Part 3~
10 - Netslum Tartarga
11 - Unchangeable Home Town
12 - Hope of Dawn
13 - Eight Keys
14 - Final Overture
16 - FULL FORCE ~VS Cubia Core~
17 - FINAL BOUT ~VS Frenzied Cubia Core~
18 - You Smiled Kindly
19 - The Dawn Becomes Dim
20 - The Chime of Blessing Rings Loudly
21 - Our Path Toward Progress
22 - Does Love Make Any Sense!?
23 - Criminal Syndicate Raan•Bati
24 - Forest of Pain
25 - The Creator's Question
26 - Proto•Gra Appearance
27 - The Evil Machine
Bonus Track*
28 - The Glimmer of Justice Cannot Fade ~Another Ver.~*
Total Time:

*The Bonus Track is unlisted and considered "hidden" despite being its own separate track.

This image is from the bonus disc; the limited edition came with this third disc, containing 40 voice clips and 10 desktop wallpapers.

I've been following the music for the .hack// series since its inception. It started out pretty good, and then it got better. Now, it's reached a point I didn't think possible. I know it's early to say this, but the G.U. Game Music O.S.T.2 is already in the running for "soundtrack of 2007." Feel free to disagree, but that's what I thought.

And this is how I came to that conclusion: when I write these reviews (and believe me, I've written many of them), one of the first things I do is decide which songs ought to be sampled from the set. At this site, we generally sample five songs per disc; sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, depending on a few different factors. Before I even begin forming thoughts about what I will say about a soundtrack, I usually have a fair idea as to what songs ought to be presented for the listeners to check out. And I rarely pick out more than five really worthwhile songs. If I have to narrow it down from eight tracks to five, that's...pretty rare.

I listened to the first disc of this album, and after the first listen, I had written down fifteen songs to sample. That's half of the entire disc! And those were the songs that really left an impression on me! The others, the ones I hadn't written down, were still great, just not especially great. But here's the point: ALL OF DISC 1 IS GOOD. It's not easy to find a whole disc of awesome music anymore these days. "Filler" music, a.k.a. "the bane of my existence," is commonly found on every OST known to man. There's a teeny tiny bit of it on disc two, but none of it is on this first disc. You have no idea the pains I went to in narrowing 15 tracks down to a mere 5.

As I just said, Disc two isn't as good as the first, but it's still decent. It beats out all previous .hack soundtracks. Chikayo Fukuda is demonstrating the sound team's greatest accomplishments on this soundtrack, and it shows.

Not only is the OST more musically capable, it is also more memorable. Strains of melodies, little bits and pieces from songs in past .hack soundtracks, have been subtly placed in many of these songs, so the work of nostalgia is in play. Yet, there is more than enough new music to keep things fresh. What's more, there are a total of 17 tracks on this album with vocal performances. Some are male, some are female, some have both genders; some include lyrics, others are just voiced melodies...all of them are awesome. There are silly songs for Piroshi 3, Grunty, and those folks, and then there are serious songs, such as the Opening Loop Demos and the beautiful staff roll vocal pieces (1-21 and 2-18 are the track numbers, if you're interested).

In case it wasn't clear by now; yes, O.S.T.2 covers the music for .hack//G.U. Vol. 2 and Vol. 3, thus completing the music for the series. Considering the last set of four games had its music packed into only two discs, and now a set of three games had its music spread across four discs, it looks like CyberConnect2 got the message: we want more quantity to match the quality. If you're a .hack fan, know that you're getting what the fans asked for, and it's most definitely a good thing.

For those unfamiliar with the style, what you're checking out here is a seamless blend of trance techno with unforgettable melodies and stellar vocal performances. Occasionally, there are also some silly character themes, rock-hard battle themes, and beautiful piano solos. But, in general, these songs have awesome beats accompanying them, and it's easy to become addicted to the style.

I'm so proud of Fukuda and the rest of the G.U. sound team: programmers, performers, everyone. No one's paying me to say this; it's just that I wasn't expecting this album to be nearly as good as it was.

I'm uncertain whether a "regular edition" will even become widely available, depending on how sales go, but the first print also comes with a cute little media CD as a bonus. It has wallpaper and character voice clips.

A recommendation: buy this album.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann