I call lots of game music composers “veteran composers,” because this industry has not yet lived long, and anyone who’s been at it for more than a decade deserves the title. But there are true gurus who have been at it, consistently, for nearly 3 decades. Guys like Nobuo Uematsu, Koichi Sugiyama, and of course, Yuzo Koshiro. Best-known for classics like Actraiser and Streets of Rage, Koshiro’s resurgence came a few years ago with the Nintendo DS series Sekaiju no MeiQ (Etrian Odyssey).
The first 7th Dragon was a unique medieval adventure, and the four disc soundtrack featured the usual “retro” and “current” sound versions. With the new game, a cyberpunk game with cameos from Hatsune Miku and many others, Koshiro wrote a fully “modern” score for 7th Dragon 2020. There’s no “original / retro / FM synth / 8-bit” version here. The music is written in tracking software, but it fully utilizes today’s best technology. Fans of Koshiro’s Wangan Midnight soundtracks will be able to relate.
Now, a lot of people love Koshiro’s upbeat music, the kind of thing that fits as “battle music” in an RPG. But, as a matter of fact, my favorite tracks on this OST are far-and-away the slow, chill, ambient tracks. Check out the otherworldly-jazz goodness of disc 1 track 8, “Brief Rest.” Aw, yeah. That’s baby-making music right there, ladies and gentlemen.
Another thing I enjoyed immensely about this soundtrack is its re-use of the first game’s main theme. You’ll find it in the 1st and 12th tracks of disc 1, among other places. It’s a great melody, one that deserves multiple reprisals.
If it’s battle themes you’re looking for, the kind that rival Koshiro’s work on Ys I and II, look to “Battlefield – Rival Arrival.” It’s everything you want and then some. Again, I’ve lately found a lot to love in Koshiro’s slower tracks, but music like this will get your blood flowing. Also noteworthy: “Pierce the Dark Clouds!”
All in all, 7th Dragon 2020 has better production value than its predecessor, though it may be a little lacking in the “memorable melodies” department, considering its most memorable melody is the theme from the previous title. Here’s hoping this game actually comes to America. If it doesn’t, this import soundtrack might be the best alternative to actually playing the game.