Phantasy Star Universe is the true successor to Sega’s Phantasy Star Online. Neither game has a lot of content compared to a lot of other small MMORPGs, nor did they live up to the name of the original four games; but PSU has gotten and cult following, and the game is quite enjoyable if you got a good group of friends. PSO had a very ambient soundtrack, but had good ambient tunes that are memorable and catchy. It also had a cyber kind of music that fits with a lot of the modern environments. The music in PSU borrowed some elements from PSO, but emphasized more on the cyber music than ambiance. There are a lot of songs that have a strong cinematic feeling to it. Hideaki Kobayashi, Fumie Kumatani, and Kenichi Tokoi are the main composers, with the first two having done a lot of the PSO music. They manage to create a lot of fresh songs that I liked, but among them are songs that are very generic or just didn’t click with me.
The first disc is strongly a hit or miss for me. It contains a lot of the cinematic style melodies which didn’t click with me. It emphasized a bit too much on making the music work with the game scenes (offline portion), resulting in lackluster melodies. It may have fit with the game, but it won’t work with me if I don’t enjoy listening to it. Along with these uninspiring movie-style songs, there are several generic lobby themes along with average seasonal and event themes.
All hope is not lost, as there are a number of songs I found to be enjoyable, even if I heard some of them countless times. For starters, the orchestral opening is quite good, and has a grand melody. There are other orchestra songs with some having techno elements mixed in. The mixture resulted in great songs with interesting melodies. There was also some cyber music, while nothing special, it had an engaging style to it, and somehow, it drew me to listen to it a couple of times. To end the disc, a wonderful vocal song was included, and I thought it was the best vocal in the album.
Save This World ~Orchestra Version~ – A pleasing orchestra song that serves as a good introduction to the game. The first few seconds of the song made it epic. I thought it dragged on too long for its own good though.
The First Story – Whenever I log onto the game, I sometimes leave this song on. Somewhat eerie in a way, but I really liked how well the violin was used. Added a lot of flavor to the song. The very beginning reminds me of .hack.
Clyez City ~Guardians Colony~ – I liked the easygoing nature of the song, and it makes me feel relaxed hearing it. The style of it also reminds me a lot of PSO…than again, it is the same composer.
With you – Simply put, it’s a beautiful vocal song. I really digged the Ballet style of the song, and I really loved the vocalist. Everything about it was just awesome.
This is my personal favorite out of the three discs. While it has its share of subpar songs, the pros outweigh the cons. It features music from the planet Neudaiz, which are my favorite songs in the game. Like the planet itself, the music has a strong Asian theme, each giving off an enchanting or mystical feeling. Whether you are in a lobby or doing missions, the music makes every location feel exotic.
It also has more vocal goodies from the game. The opening “Save This World,” while cheesy, is a fun song to listen to. “For Brighter Day” is a better song between the two with a much cooler melody, and pleasant vocals. Still, it does not surpass the lovely “With You.”
I mostly didn’t like the holiday songs “Valentine” and “Halloween” much. The songs are fitting to an extent, but they are nothing special. The composers are not too good at goofy songs in my opinion. Songs such as “S.E.E.D.” and “Violent” went a bit overboard on the chaotic melody, and they were simply not interesting listens. It has its faults, but I like this disc a lot more than the first.
Mizuraki C.D. – A very mystical song. A fairly upbeat melody with an Asian-style melody that makes me feels peaceful. Somewhat ironic since this is a dungeon song.
Ukishima – Similar style as a “Mizuraki C.D.,” but a lot more mystical. A very gentle song that feels enchanting just listening to it.
RELICS ~Sleep~ – An ambient song that gives a dungeon-y and eerie feeling, but I liked the execution of the orchestral instruments. It certainly has a good degree of suspense.
For Brighter Day – An easygoing ending song with a lot of soul. Superior vocals and lyrics compared to the opening, and I liked the overall style of the song. While I prefer energetic or emotional songs, it’s sometimes nice to listen to of a song of this simple style.
It’s another solid disc with an array of good songs to end the soundtrack. It may not have as many songs I’ve liked in the previous disc, it has a few gems. I liked a lot of the miscellaneous songs throughout the disc, each have their own unique style. The song “Christmas” is the only holiday song I’ve enjoyed in the entire soundtrack, feeling engaged by its catchy melody that certainly feels like Christmas, futuristic style.
I was never big on any of the Moatoob music in the game, and certainly not into it in the OST. It consists of a couple of generic tribal and Arabic theme songs with uninteresting melodies that didn’t break the mold. On the other hand, I thought the cinematic song of Moatoob was pretty good. It has a mixture of the other song’s theme, and meshed into a song with an interesting melody.
Aside from bland Moatoob music, all the fight and chaotic themes also belong in the same category, and the melodies of all the goofy songs were uninteresting in this soundtrack.
Two more versions of “For Brighter Day” are included as the last songs in the disc. The orchestra version is very interesting, while the remix is decent. The remix is only a faster version of the same song, and I greatly preferred the slower, original version of the song. It’s more fitting.
Save this World ~Orchestra short version~ – A shorter version of the opening song, and the version I liked more. It has a more proper length while keeping the same style of the song.
RELICS ~Awakening~ – A more haunting version of the relics theme. I like this version better with its cyber style meshing with orchestral elements meshing into an intense song.
Christmas – A very cheerful song that makes one get into the holidays or any other nice event. Its style strongly reminds me of the anime and game Kanon which I’ve gotten into recently.
It was a good soundtrack, but it didn’t totally win me over. It also failed to live up to the ambiance and nostalgia of PSO. There are a number of great songs as I mentioned above, but also game with a number of average songs along with it. If you like to purchase the OST, then good luck. It has a limited print so eBay might be your friend in this scenario.