Arc the Lad Generation (known as “Arc the Lad: End of Darkness” in the US) is the black sheep of the series for straying from its strategy RPG roots to an action RPG setting. However, its music manages to be just as beautiful as its predecessors, if not more so. This is due almost entirely to the fact that nearly every song on this album is a live recording with lots of wonderful ethnic/world (non-western) instruments. That’s not to say you won’t find the occasional techno-synth song on the album: but many of the songs are live recordings.
There is a problem though. Over half of the tracks are from Twilight of the Spirits; I am unsure of whether they were changed at all from the “Twilight” version to the “Generation” version, but this alone has to make one wonder: is it really worth getting this soundtrack when one could just have the Twilight of the Spirits soundtrack?
I would argue that, if you can find it for a cheap price, the answer is still “yes.” This is due primarily to Edda’s Theme, which I take to be one of the best character themes I’ve ever heard for a videogame. The song makes use of both advanced synthesizers and live instruments (violin, cello, piano, flute, harp). The tonality is perfect, the recording is brilliant, and the song is uplifting. It fits the spirit of the character well, and the song stands strong on its own.
Also, this recording of the Arc the Lad Theme is the longest to date, and it features a neat variation on the theme, which I have made sure to sample. This neat little diversion from the main theme creates a certain feel that defines the game as being a little quirky and certainly an acquired taste.
The ending music, “Light”, also makes good use of strings/winds performance. Fans of traditional tonal romantic/classical music, rejoice! This song (and perhaps this whole album) is for you.
Though I’d personally suggest hunting down the Twilight of the Spirits OST before this one, I have to say that this album isn’t half-bad either. Like I said, if you run across it and the price is right, get it. Otherwise, don’t feel bad about yourself. It’s good music, but there are better (and more memorable) albums in print.