Berwick Saga ~Lazberia chronicle chapter 174~ Sound Track

 

Review by · July 4, 2006

A few years ago, the Tear Ring Saga soundtrack was released quietly and without fanfare. I picked it up from a fellow reviewer and friend (that would be Ramza) when he sold it one day, and found myself enjoying it immensely. I would agree with his review; perhaps I would praise it even more. While it is slightly generic, it’s also fresh, clean, and heartfelt, and really does have some amazing tunes that stretch boundaries. The ending vocal in particular struck me as a very nice song. More recently, the same staff went on to produce Berwick Saga, which is the next chapter in the Tear Ring Saga. And thus, the OST was released, and here we are.

The Berwick Saga soundtrack spans three CDs, and follows in the footsteps of its predecessor. I feel in some ways it is stronger, but is others weaker.

For example, let’s start with the sound quality. The recording is much better, the instruments more defined, and the synth quality is far more realistic. Tear Ring Saga’s quality was already quite high, so this is great news. Berwick also has more songs that are noteworthy than Tear Ring, and the songs are also given a chance to repeat. Many great OSTs have been ruined by non-looping tracks (FFIV, Suikoden IV) so many thanks to the publishers.

But on the downside, we have a total lack of a vocal theme. Normally, this wouldn’t be such a big deal (and it still isn’t) but seeing as Tear Ring, which is older, had an excellent vocal, it would seem natural for Berwick to have one. Also, and this is a minor problem and a matter of taste, but the packaging is inferior to Tear Ring’s as well. While Tear Ring had a stylish, beautiful slate-blue liner with dark shades of blue and a very nice serif font, Berwick’s is more generic. And there are still a fairly high number of filler songs; something which seems hard to avoid. I understand the need for short, unimportant songs in a production like this, so it’s not really a problem, but it’s jarring to hear a wonderful, melancholic tune, and then skip through a bunch of stupid ditties.

As for some individual tracks, ‘Winter Rose’ are ‘Lazberia’ are two beautiful tunes. ‘Pride of the Knights’ is very FF Tactics-esque, with searing strings and triumphant brass. The endings themes are all wonderful, and feature a particularly touching melody that runs throughout the soundtrack.

Really, the whole OST is at worst, decent; at best it is very good, very soothing, and very thrilling. It’s a fine addition to any soundtrack collection, especially for fans of the tactical orchestral style.

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