Phantasy Star 0 (or "ZERO" if you prefer it) features music from Sega's same team of musicians who have worked on Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe, though some added composers have since joined the mix.
Upon first inspection, I had to question the album's tracklist. Four discs of music for one DS game? I could hardly believe it (though it isn't an impossibility, since Tierkreis has six discs of music dedicated to it between the OST and Extra Soundtrack). Further dissection revealed it was really just 3 discs, as disc four is mainly comprised of up-sampled "soundtrack version" tracks. It's like a low-level arranged album tacked on to the end.
The other thing that artificially elongates this soundtrack is the looping of every track. The average track length comes to about 3 minutes, and many tracks go into the 4 and 5 minute ranges. Even discounting the loop, however, there's a lot of musical content to digest here. It took me many listens to even begin to form an opinion about the music.
The quality of the music is strong in terms of composition. I can't fault Kobayashi and the rest of the Sega team for what they've written. But I will say two things against this soundtrack. First, it doesn't feel cohesive. Second, it is in no way "memorable." That's a complaint I've had with every Phantasy Star soundtrack since Phantasy Star Online, but even then, I am able to remember songs from Phantasy Star Online Ep III better than I can remember the ones on this album.
The synth instruments are limited, being a DS game, but they do not sound nearly as tinny as some of the early soundtracks released for the DS. I was really impressed with the sound quality, considering the music's destination.
Perhaps it's just because I have no personal attachment to the music, but I have to say, I could have done without this soundtrack. I suspect, however, that this isn't merely a matter of it being "not my cup of tea." How many people will claim this as one of their favorite OSTs from the Phantasy Star series? How many will consider it one of the best releases of 2009? I can't think of anyone who will be "sold" on this album. It's decent, but hardly noteworthy, and certainly an item that exists only for collectors and serious Phantasy Star fans.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann