Now this was a pleasant treat. I bought the OST only days before the game’s domestic release, not knowing that the soundtrack had been out for almost a year. I made a good decision, too, because this contains some of Motoi Sakuraba’s best works, though many (myself included) will find it to sound much like his previous arrangements.
Starting with powerful tracks such as “Nadir’s Whale”, the first disc is filled with tunes of all of Sakuraba’s varieties. The boss themes (disc 1 tracks 6-10) are probably the best on the CD, with the oddly addicting “Chaotic Dance” and the semi-original “Rumbling of the Earth”. While the rest of the CD contains mostly slower, gloomy and/or sad themes with a few exceptions, they are all notably good. “Limpidly Flow” is a beautiful piano piece and “Bellflower” is a catchy and fitting town theme. Both of these actually tend to stand out more than some of the other, similar tunes.
The second disc is the lesser one, but it still contains music that, once again, stands out. “Castle in the Sand”, while quite overused in the game itself, is a very nice track to listen to: the song has yet to bore me. My favorite track on this disc (and possibly the entire OST) is “Brave Way”, a beautifully orchestrated piece that creates a type of heroic feel. Sakuraba seems to be an expert at these types of songs.
But there are flaws. Like I said before, much of the music here sounds way too much like Sakuraba’s previous works on other games. I could not help but be reminded of a certain track early in the Tales of Symphonia OST after listening to “Feudal Guardian”. The second disc suffers more, with “Start on a Voyage” being basically yet another version of Star Ocean 3’s Brass Wings, and “Violent Storm”, the token electric guitar track of the album (though it’s not as good as, say, Star Ocean 3’s “Expiration”). Maybe Sakuraba needs to try something new?
I would not say this soundtrack is as good as some of Sakuraba’s other albums (namely the Star Ocean OSTs) but it is still a solid, well-done deal. It is definitely one of Sakuraba’s better works, containing some pieces that are now my favorite tunes created by the artist.