Sony’s PS2 RPG, Dark Cloud, was a game that did not focus on complex characters. Instead, the title’s main draw was its engrossing gameplay. This changed the focus of the music as well. In the absence of emotional characters or storylines, the music focused on helping immerse the player into the game environment.
The Dark Cloud soundtrack is successful in creating just the right atmosphere for the particular area of the game. Whether it was traversing corridors of an ancient palace, exploring a sunken ship, fighting through overgrown jungles, or rebuilding a desert village, the music fit the area perfectly. Certainly, this made for an immersive gameplay experience, but it also makes for good listening outside of the game.
Composed by Tomohito Nishiura, this soundtrack uses the Playstation 2’s hardware well. However, the real magic of this soundtrack is its ability to create mood. I bought this CD after playing the game, so I may be a bit biased about this. But, I think the music stands well on its own. I find it to be high quality outside of the game, but I can understand how others may disagree.
Some may be displeased at how quickly the songs change as you listen through the CD. This CD is about seventy-two minutes long, and there are forty-six tracks, so the average length is about a minute and a half. Another very small complaint that some may have is that the acoustic guitar is a bit overused by Nishiura in this soundtrack
Personally, I really enjoyed this CD, and I hope to hear more of Nishiura’s work in the future. As of the date of this review, Otaku still has this album for around $20, or you can go to GMO for a slightly higher price. So, if you liked the music to this game, pick it up while you still can.
Editor’s Note: This soundtrack is now hard to find at retailers; secondhand markets are your best chance to find this album.