Disgaea 4: The Unforgotten Melody

 

Review by · January 21, 2012

Though I’ve only played the first Disgaea, I think I can safely estimate the series’ tone as complex and utterly unique. An accompanying soundtrack, therefore, must be equally complex: amusing, playful, strange, morbid, and emotional. Thankfully, Tenpei Sato has composed an intricate soundtrack for Disgaea 4 infused with plenty of energy.

The OST starts with the game’s vocal tracks gathered in one place. Although not your typical J-pop, this still isn’t my preferred style of music. Thankfully, Sato has bestowed them with Disgaea’s flavor alongside considerable passion. The opening “Last Engagement” offers a lively introduction with a wide range, while the follow-up “Golden Memories” pulls back with a more subdued, somber feel. Like most of the tracks on the album, however, during just a few minutes, Sato changes the initial mood. The jazzy “Arcadian Vampire” fully represents Disgaea’s absurd side. I can’t help but find “Pandora Ignition” obnoxious, however. Sung by Sato himself, the vocals are too abrasive for my liking. The song has a great intro regardless. Overall, the vocal tracks do justice to the series, but I much prefer the orchestral tracks that follow.

Sato’s compositions show impressive range in instrumentation, style, and emotion. Furthermore, their complexity and variation makes them almost all memorable. “Team-D4” and “Sparkling” come from the excited, rousing side of the Disgaea universe while “Puppet Smile” comes from the decidedly absurd side. “Crimson Cross” may be the best track on the album, showing just how much Sato can do in three minutes. That track highlights Sato’s skill with electric guitar, and its inclusion elsewhere makes this not just another JRPG soundtrack. “Piano Sonata Number D4,” “Army’s March,” and “Make the Hell” are all memorable tracks. These and others are almost instantly likeable upon first listen, which is a rarity in music.

Disgaea necessitates a complex, highly varied soundtrack, and Sato is evidently the man for the job. Not only appropriate for Disgaea 4, the music here is enjoyable outside the game, even for one inexperienced with the series. I even felt like getting back into the games, and that’s an impressive feat considering my general avoidance of the genre.

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Kyle E. Miller

Kyle E. Miller

Over his eight years with the site, Kyle would review more games than we could count. As a site with a definite JRPG slant, his take on WRPGs was invaluable. During his last years here, he rose as high as Managing Editor, before leaving to pursue his dreams.