The two disc soundtrack for the Nintendo DS epic sci-fi fantasy RPG "Infinite Space" fits the game's premise and setting perfectly. Sweeping strings, military-style marches and other pompous tracks with set-in-stone rhythms... in other words, the kind of music that can give you a headache before too long.
Seriously, I was begging for respite after listening to the first six tracks of this album. I finally found it in track 7, "The Universe in Despair." Until then, I thought, "I can't take much more of this" with the passing of each track. But "The Universe in Despair" reminded me of the softer tracks from Motoi Sakuraba's "Star Ocean" soundtracks, as well as Shigeki Hayashi's work on the Dept. Heaven series. I love these soft tracks, and I love when they break up the chaotic action of space-war music.
Even the peaceful tracks can't avoid the military snare drums, it seems. "Calm" is a great track from disc one, but it still sounds like something I'd expect from a military band. And, as I've said in many reviews before this one (and I'm saying it again), there's only so much "military march" I can take.
Fortunately, the soundtrack does get less hectic as it goes on. The last few tracks of disc one are all enjoyable, though the DS source sound quality is a little irritating. That just won't go away; they needed a good sound designer to back up the composer, and I guess they just didn't have that.
The second disc is "middle of the road" in terms of quality. There were some really annoying tracks, and some pretty good tracks, on the first disc. On the second disc, I wasn't impressed, but I wasn't annoyed either. This is mostly the "functional" music for the game, I'd say. It serves its purpose, but isn't much fun to listen to outside the context of the game.
Well, maybe I shouldn't say that. There are definitely some good musical ideas on the second disc. But as I said, the execution of the music (through the sound design) just doesn't match the better DS music that's out there. The only exceptions to that statement are the final two tracks. One is an orchestral medley, the other is a vocal piece. These two tracks really show this game's soundtrack for what it could have been. I would have liked to hear the entire soundtrack sound more like these final two tracks, as they were totally excellent; in 15 minutes' time they make up for the mediocrity of the rest of the soundtrack.
Is wanting a full orchestra on a DS game too much to ask? Let me know what you think after the Ninokuni soundtrack finally reaches us, as that will be a DS game with a phenomenal studio-recorded orchestra soundtrack.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann