Suikoden V is finally here! In a very cool move, Konami included a nice little promotional arranged album of ten Suikoden V tunes with the limited edition (or pre-orders in North America) version of the game. And here it is.
“A New World” is a nice opener, with several of the game’s themes rolled into one medley, including the overworld, battle, victory and other songs. It’s a little on the soft side compared to the in-game versions, but very nice. “Stormfiest Arena” is a good march-like song, with many ethnic stringed instruments blended with piano and orchestral sounds. The main melody is decent, but the sub theme is whistful and beautiful.
“The Queen’s Knights” is a cool downtempo dance tune, which is nearly a first for the Suikoden series. Reminiscent of VM Japan, this tune mixes many more traditional instruments with yet more piano, synth, bass and a steady beat. The next tune, “Admiral Of The Seas,” runs in the same style, but is more uptempo house, akin to a battle or action theme.
“The Two Guardian Runes” returns to the orchestral sound, and is very beautiful. The strings are quite soothing, though the flute is a little jarring when it enters, it certainly does not ruin the peaceful, somber song. Some moments would sound perfectly in place on Ys V Orchestral Version. Very nice.
Lucretia, the strategist for Suikoden V, has been praised across the board as being an incredible character to behold on many levels. So it’s natural for her to have a beautiful and striking theme, “Lucretia’s Smile.” Distant, echoing percussion moves along the flute, strings and choir much like the last song. The melody has many uplifting, sorrowful and romantic chord changes and progression.
Parts of “The Inevitable” were heard in the TGS trailers and such, and it’s still quite striking. The introductory flute and creeping synth pads ooze of moodiness and foreboding. Once the song kicks in a bit more, the background marching snares can be heard thundering in the background, creating a rousing military sound much like an Ace Combat or Front Mission, but with those lovely Suikoden ethnic and melodic touches.
Ending with that same chilling flute once again, the album moves on to “Epilouge To A Prideful Heart.” Awesome piano work here from a Konami legend – Michiru Yamane. A beautiful piano solo soars along the strings, again, sounding similar to the beautiful Ys V symphonic treatment from Terashima. The music picks up the tempo around the 3:00 mark, and reminds one of the luscious, romantic, classically styled ‘Fate’ from Drag-on Dragoon2/Drakengard 2. This is one of the main themes of Suikoden V, and is given its due in this pleasant tune.
The last two songs are ‘bonus tracks’ which, in the world of Suikoden OSTs, mean annoying jingles that ruin the mood after the tear-jerking ending theme or some such touching tune (Suikoden II managed to avoid this by putting all the jingles on Disc 3 – hopefully the Suikoden V OST will be blessed with such a fate.) ‘Mine Cart Madness’ is ok, until you realize the whole song is about a 10-30 second loop. The less said about ‘The DoReMi Elves’ the better, but don’t let one or two stupid extra tunes dissuade you from this otherwise pleasant and well made album.
This cool little item is available in two places – it came out with the huge limited edition of Suikoden V in Japan, and was offered in North America as a pre-order bonus along with an artbook. While it is a nice surprise album, don’t worry if you can’t get a hold of it. The packaging of the Japanese version is in a single style slimline case, the disc emblazoned with a BEAUTIFUL scene of….well, just play the game to find out. The NA version came packaged in the artbook.
The music is, in my wee opinion, actually much nicer and more developed in its original soundtrack form, but these are still pleasant and very good arrangements. Whatever the case, thanks to Konami for this delightful bonus to their fans, players and listeners.