Hooray for Chinese RPGs! This sequel to a well-recognized Chinese RPG, brought to Japan by our friends at Nihon Falcom, has something really special going for it. It tells the tale that Koei’s been re-telling for decades in their “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” games: the story of China at the end of the Han Dynasty. The art is interesting, and the plot is classic…but the music is what we’re here to talk about today.
Honestly? It’s one of the best soundtracks for a non-American PC title in a long, long time. Of course, I don’t have as much exposure to said games as I’d like to have, but out of the small sampling I do have, this one really grabbed my attention. The first few seconds of the soundtrack had me sold, in fact: “Frontier” is an awesome opening song. If you haven’t listened to Chinese vocalists before, you’re in for a treat. If you’re familiar with Chinese singing, you will agree that this performance is decent. The production and arrangements put into the song are also great.
The album is packed with nearly 75 minutes of well-written songs working entirely on some sophisticated sequencers and synthesizers. I was drawn in by songs that had fast, catchy rhythms (such as track 38 “Kanto”), and I was equally touched by the softer tunes, which made use of the to-be-expected traditional Asian instruments. Piano & String pieces also showed up here and there, such as in track 12.
It’s a shame how quickly the songs come to an end, with 47 tracks put into one disc. I would have liked to see this soundtrack be a two disc set. Some of my favorite melodies appear in songs that last less than a minute.
The sound quality is excellent, the variety of musical genres is just enough to keep things interesting, and the melodies are very catchy, very memorable. The only problem is this album’s availability: basically, it isn’t available to you or me. It came as an extra with the Japanese release of the game, and Falcom never let it become much more available than through their own site. Even Falcom-CD-stocking sites (such as VGMWorld) don’t have this one. It’s too bad, because it’d be worth owning.