Luminous Arc 2 ~will~ Original Soundtrack


Review by · November 9, 2008

The soundtrack to the sequel to Luminous Arc features a great collection of music from a great group of composers. The staff is made up of many ex-Capcom members, including: Yoko Shimomura, who is better known for her work with Square, but also worked with Capcom early on; Yoshino Aoki, who composed music for Breath of Fire III and IV; Akari Kaida, who worked on Breath of Fire III with Aoki-san; and Shunsuke Tsuchiya, the newcomer to the group, who is also working on the soundtrack to World Destruction.

The opening vocal track is a standard J-pop theme, and we only get the 2 minute “game size” version of the song, so it’s out of the way quickly. Then we get to some classic, high-quality synth tunes that are perfect for a traditional RPG. The composers don’t attempt an entirely real/lifelike instrumentation, but the music is extremely impressive nonetheless. I was surprised to find that the best tracks were not frontloaded, but scattered evenly throughout the soundtrack. Each composer has a few weak tracks, and plenty of strong tracks. I was pleased even as I switched from the first disc to the second, because disc two continues to present some excellent melodies.

The most impressive tracks were those that intended to be silly, bouncy, and quirky. These tracks surpassed their peers threefold (be it Gust, Square Enix, NIS, whoever). The quirky tracks are usually there for novelty, but here I actually enjoyed them and wanted to have them on repeat. Tracks 7, 9, and 10 of disc two stood out as the perfect examples as to what I am refering.

Shimomura’s additions are memorable. I especially like the two “Rose” tracks, one appearing on each disc. “Rosette Rosso” surprised me; at first I thought it was the same song as the previous, because it used the claps, the Latin classical guitar, and the fast 6/8 rhythm. But it’s definitely a different song entirely, and the violin melody really helps it to stand out. Shimomura also did some decent battle themes for the soundtrack, though the guitar parts aren’t as impressive as they were in, say, Legend of Mana.

There’s plenty of beautiful, memorable music across these two discs. But it’s not going to be a bestseller. The album is far above average for the Nintendo DS era, but it is in many ways a “standard” RPG soundtrack. It covers all its bases, has a few stand-out excellent tracks, and otherwise is consistently strong. I enjoyed it, but I would only recommend it to extensive collectors or those who have a strong attachment to a) the Luminous Arc series or b) all things Shimomura.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.