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Senjou no Valkyria 2 ~ Gallian Royal Military Academy OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: BSPE-1010/1
Released On: January 27, 2010
Composed By: Hitoshi Sakimoto
Arranged By: Hitoshi Sakimoto, Nicole Brady, Kimihiro Abe, Noriyuki Kamikura, Yoshimi Kudo, Azusa Chiba
Published By: Basiscape Records
Recorded At: CNSO Studio
Format: 2 CDs
Buy this album from iTunes
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - Valkyria Chronicles 2 Main Theme
02 - Exciting Battle
03 - Winter in Lanseal
04 - Everyday Life of The Class
05 - Practice Battle
06 - Royal Military Academy
07 - The Rebels' Assault
08 - Briefing
09 - Liberation Battle
10 - Return Battle
11 - Reward
12 - Time Has Passed
13 - Spring in Lanseal
14 - Are We A Spoiled Class?
15 - Outside Battle
16 - War Preparedness
17 - Snowfield Battle
18 - Theme of The Rebles
19 - Summer in Lanseal
20 - Street Battle
21 - Defense Battle
22 - Conflict
23 - Desert Battle
24 - Decisive Battle
25 - Defeat
Total Time:
58'49"

Disc Two
01 - Valkyria Chronicles Series Main Theme
02 - Days With Classmates
03 - Championship
04 - Theme of Class G
05 - Night in The Dormitory
06 - Autumn in Lanseal
07 - Close Battle
08 - Tear of Wars
09 - Mine Battle
10 - Faint Youth
11 - Offensive and Defensive Battle
12 - Theme of Valkyria
13 - The Succeeded, The Lost
14 - Ship Battle
15 - Gassenarl's Ambition
16 - Final Battle
17 - Graduation
18 - Farewell, My Academy
19 - Valkyria Chronicles 2 ~Arrange Version~
20 - Exciting Battle ~Arrange Version~
21 - Practice Battle ~Arrange Version~
22 - Theme of Class G ~Arrange Version~
Total Time:
63'52"

There's a fine line between nuance and repetitiveness, a line over which many film and game composers skirt–and most cross–when creating a score for an epic story. When that division is breached, it turns otherwise poignant melodies into recycled drudgery that reeks of dullness, and can actually make the epic seem less so. It is a line upon which Hitoshi Sakimoto balances in each one of his albums, and I can't always say that he manages to stay on one side. However, what tends to save him is his ability to create a powerful, moving central melody upon which he bases the entirety of a game's score. And with that, enter Valkyria Chronicles 2.

The first track on the album is, as usual, the central theme. Beautifully played by the Czech Film Orchestra, it feels like the opening of a film score, with horns, strings, and percussion playing a theme that drifts between military cadence, fantasy, and heraldic fanfare. I'd have to put it in my top three favorite Sakimoto melodies, right up there with "Return" from Radiant Silvergun and "ODIN SPHERE'S" theme from Odin Sphere, and this is a very good thing, as a great number of the tracks on this album are variations (and often slight, at that) on that theme.

There are some tracks that don't focus on the main theme, though, most of those being battle themes. Since Valkyria Chronicles 2 is, like its predecessor, a strategy RPG, the melodies mimic those of Sakimoto's other SRPG scores, such as the Final Fantasy Tactics series. While some listeners may find it derivative and uninspired, Sakimoto gives the pieces a range of emotional emphasis; peppy, upbeat tunes such as "Exciting Battle" give the feeling of a friendly match, and would be something you'd find in Tactics Advance. Other tracks, such as "The Rebel's Assault", carry frenetic or ominous overtones, such as those you'd find in battle themes from the original Final Fantasy Tactics. All in all, though, the battle themes in Valkyria Chronicles 2 are solid and fit well into the game's militaristic setting.

Valkyria Chronicles 2 isn't all epic scores and battle music, though. Tracks such as "Are we a Spoiled Class?" bring out the playful side of the game's story, and "Summer in Lanseal" evoke images of relaxed, carefree days. And yet, running throughout most of the more lighthearted tracks is, as always, the central theme of VC2. There's also always a smattering of epic feel to even the most innocuous of pieces on the album, so the listener is constantly reminded that important things are going on.

Also, while there is some borrowing from the first game's soundtrack, overall, the Valkyria Chronicles 2 soundtrack manages to be epic enough to make you forget you're playing a PSP game, and can be enjoyed completely on its own merits; I've never actually played the VC games before, and when a game soundtrack can become one of my recent favorites without that context, it's definitely good. And the addition of a few arranged versions towards the end helps a lot to cement the themes in your mind (if the main soundtrack hadn't already!) So pick it up if you get the chance, especially if you're a fan of Sakimoto's work. You won't be disappointed.

Reviewed by: Damian Thomas



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