Let me tell you a story.
I got this album with admittedly low expectations. While I did somewhat enjoy the Tears of Blood soundtrack (and, from what I've heard, even some of the "Phantom of Avalanche" soundtrack), I didn't think there'd be much good music on this soundtrack. That's just based on things I'd heard about the game, as well as the bit I'd played at E3 2009.
Then, I listen to the first ten tracks of disc one, and my expectations are shattered. "Hey, this is pretty good!" Now, my expectations are high again!
Next, I listen to the rest of disc one. Maybe I shouldn't have set my expectations so high. But it's not awful music. My expectations are now on a mid-level plateau.
I pop in disc two, and what happens? The music gets worse. Now it's just generic action cues and non-melodic droning. Why, why oh why? By the end of my first listen, I had to reset my internal expectations for the album back to the low baseline where I started.
So there you have it. A roller-coaster of expectations to match a roller-coaster of musical quality. But, for the most part, this soundtrack spends more time down in valleys than up in hills. The low expectations were to be trusted.
Obviously, I wouldn't recommend this album to VGM collectors. There are a few good tracks on the album, and you can listen to most of them via the audio samples. Zephie's Theme is a good track, good enough to appear in three forms throughout the soundtrack. And there are a few battle themes that don't make me want to mute my speakers. But for the most part, I left this soundtrack feeling the way I felt before it was ever in my hands.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann