Armodyne

 

Review by · January 10, 2008

Armodyne: a small-scale strategy RPG from Omiya Soft. Omiya’s track record includes some games in the Culdcept series, as well as Front Mission: Gun Hazard. Gun Hazard marks the last time Omiya worked with composer Yasunori Mitsuda. They got together again for this unique, mecha-centric strategy RPG. It’s been awhile since Mitsuda took on a hearty, epic RPG, and we at RPGFan were excited to hear how the music would turn out.

Unfortunately, it seems Mitsuda’s past achievements continue to overshadow his current work.

I don’t like saying that. If this were some no-name composer, I’d probably be praising the album for having solid composition and some excellent use of traditional instruments, particularly piano. But it just so happened that our pal Mitsuda also penned the music for Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, and Xenosaga Ep. I. With that sort of track record, it’s almost too difficult to get any recognition until you create that breakthrough score that puts you back into the spotlight.

All that said, the Armodyne soundtrack is perfect for the setting of the game, and as the liner notes read, Mitsuda provided the perfect music for this game. Standing on its own, however, it’s clearly not as “inspired” as old Mitsuda fans would hope. If anything, the style suggests a hollow shell of Xenogears/saga, but with somewhat better production value.

One other thing that bothered me about this two disc set is the length. Each disc is under 50 minutes, and if you like at individual track times, most songs barely break the two minute mark. There’s no time given to the listener to let the music sink in. Indeed, this isn’t just an issue of “looping,” in my opinion; Mitsuda would have done well to “flesh out” the themes of these songs a little more, expanding the track length for the sake of creating a song that is overall more impressive.

Many people continue to put hope in Mitsuda for recreating past works, or else just outdoing himself with something new and phenomenal. That time still hasn’t come, and it may never come. So suck it up, and if you’re still a big fan of everything this composer breathes on, then get the album. Otherwise, continue holding your breath. I’m semi-satisfied, and bittersweet as it may be, it’s still good music to listen to, and most importantly, it’s something new.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and cats.