01 - memento mori (Wizardry Renaissance Main Theme)
02 - Birth of Soul
03 - Beginning of a Life
04 - Port Town Illfalo
05 - Liquor, Smoke, and Conversation
06 - Elegy for Adventurers
07 - Old Sewer System ~ victims ~
08 - Squiriming People's Voice III ~Legion~
09 - Tension
10 - Morning of Tranquility
11 - Tale of The Blade Waiting For Its Passed-on Owner
12 - Bonds of Steel
13 - Surface Ruins ~ruins beat~
14 - Sky Garden ~obsession~
15 - Street Corner Chat
16 - Word of Magic That Was Put Onto Parchment
17 - Old Sewer System II ~nervous breakdown~
18 - The Backs of Guilty People
19 - Lament of People Whose Money and Life Are Poured Into a Glass
20 - Breath of the Old Ones
21 - Invitation to the Jaws of Death
22 - Exaltation and Relief
01 - Song of the Illusory Poet
02 - Thus Spoke Avuruuru
03 - Crucible of Free Peoples
04 - Heresy's Altar
05 - Battlefield Remains
06 - Inspiration to the Defiant Ones
07 - Song of Obstruction
08 - Echo of Resentment
09 - Gloom
10 - Sins of the Brave
11 - Unopposed Wind
12 - Thy Name is Death
13 - Reincarnating Souls
Editor's Note: Please note that these are rough tracklist translations that may not necessarily be 100% accurate. If you see an error in the translation and have suggestions for how we can tighten them up, feel free to contact me via email. - Stephen M.
Wizardry Online's expertly composed soundtrack features two helmsmen: the famed Kenji Ito and apparent start-up Akimasa Shibata. Music aficionados may know Ito's work from Devil Survivor 2, various Square-Enix collections, Shadow Hearts 2, and many other titles dating as far back as 1990 when he worked alongside the legendary Uematsu himself. Whether some sort of apprenticeship or acknowledgment of his talent, this soundtrack is Shibata's debut.
This two-disc soundtrack boasts grand, orchestral themes such as the first track, "Wizardry Renaissance," as well as tribal pieces and dark, brooding themes. This collection offers something for everybody, stylistically speaking. However, no common thread exists between the tracks, meaning not everyone will like what's offered here.
The aforementioned first track opens with billowing horns that are soon greeted by gently flowing violins and light percussion. The whole theme has a sophisticated, regal air to it that pounds at the chest and can inspire misty eyes in those who've often dreamed of adventure. What stands out in particular about this track is how full-bodied it is, while each entry hereafter caters to a particular taste or atmosphere.
The third track, "Beginning of a Life," mimics its title with the airy, choral embrace of effeminate echoing throughout. Light percussion accentuates the calm, maternal sound. Appropriate in transition, the fourth track, "Port Town Illfalo," skillfully communicates the breezy, lazy life of what I can only assume to be a small town neighboring the sea.
Diehard baroque enthusiasts may crucify me for such a claim, but "Morning of Tranquility" has an air of Bach's Suite No. 3 in D Major with its long cello and violin notes. Though no one can touch Bach's expertise, this piece makes good effort in its reach. Though enjoyable in a totally different fashion, the following track has an industrial sound equatable to a blacksmith pounding away at steel. Unusual instrumentation continues with accordion and seemingly random strings that somehow suit the piece admirably, perhaps in that they add a dimension and personality to an already well-composed arrangement.
Much of the first disc contains tracks that almost personify parts of the game. Being an MMO, music lovers shouldn't expect character themes, but rather strong pieces that evoke the atmosphere of the environment. The second disc, while similar to the first, contains a bit more variety. The first track, for instance, opens with a solemn acoustic guitar. Unfortunately, transitions between tracks aren't necessarily a priority.
The next track, calls me to murder in its repetitious, repetitious, repetitious nature. One might momentarily wonder if the track is warped or the computer is hemorrhaging. For whatever reason, our prodigious hosts thought that repeating the same series of notes over and over again would elate listeners. While the instrumentation is pretty, the execution enrages.
On the other hand, "Song of Obstruction," track 7, initially sounds Layton-esque, but changes almost completely about a third of the way through, greeting listeners with female vocals and background chorus. At about the two-minute mark, the tune returns to its beginning and captures the ear once more. Although unusual in its approach, this track will likely appeal to some, but not others.
Fans of bass may enjoy the following track, which contains a constant beat throughout, becoming gradually more complex. Bewilderingly, this track lasts a whopping 3:49 minutes, which confuses me due to its simplicity and repetition. Admittedly, the track adds little eccentricities here and there, but these additions hardly warrant the constant thwump-thwump of the bass during most of the piece.
The eleventh track caters to those who appreciate adrenaline-infused music and those who enjoy bells (i.e. me). Without a doubt, this entry couples an intense battle, though the tension may be due more to the music than the mechanics or story-driven motivation of the characters. This is the kind of piece that makes people fall in love with an entire soundtrack, allowing us to see past the flaws.
Prospective buyers, fans of Kenji Ito, and Wizardry veterans won't falter in a purchase here. The production quality is certainly apparent, though few will likely appreciate everything this soundtrack has to offer. A couple of questionable entries taint an otherwise excellent soundtrack, but I can't think of a better MMO soundtrack aside from FFXI.
Reviewed by: Bob Richardson