Though it holds no connection to the Dept Heaven series (Yggdra, Riviera, KitN), Hexyz Force is still an RPG from Sting, and it’s still having its music composed by the venerable Shigeki Hayashi, who has written great music for many other Sting titles. Hexyz Force for PSP (coming to North America in May 2010) may or may not continue the trend of high-quality, unique-style RPGs from the company. But what I know it does continue is the trend of solid game music.
His previous effort, Knights in the Nightmare, was a decent soundtrack. But the DS sound quality really hurt the end product. With the PSP, and with Hexyz Force, this is not the case. The music for this soundtrack is not compressed or re-shaped in any noticeable, detrimental way.
So with the sound quality issues cast aside, that leaves the question of compositional quality, and quantity of music (and a ratio of good/average/bad tracks). Obviously, the battle tracks are excellent, and there are plenty of them. In the first 10 tracks of the first disc, almost every track was fantastic. Only three of them were proper battle themes, which is a low ratio compared to other sections of the OST. But they include the standard battle theme “Maiden Fights,” which is brilliant. Crazy-fast piano, guitar, drums, and high-octave synths: this sounds like some of the best music from Castlevania. Impressive!
The sheer quantity of awesome, rhythmic, fast-paced battle themes will overwhelm most VGM fans. It’s not quite the same type of prog-rock that Sakuraba pumps out. There’s something brighter about Hayashi’s compositions, even when they’re in a minor key and have heavy bass.
On the softer side of things, Hayashi-san is great when it comes to having violins and flutes hit (and sustain) high notes in a melody, and then have a harp or some other instrument decorate that sustained time in the piece (see “A Walk under the Moonlight”). He’s also good at writing catchy “adventure” music, as evidenced in disc 1, track 8.
Shigeki Hayashi’s soundtracks are all good, though some are better than others. I know I act quickly when I say this, but I would rank this among his best. Do at least consider adding it to your collection, if collecting VGM is your sort of thing.