Ys Renewal, like its counterpart Ys II Renewal, is a slight improvement upon the original soundtrack for the first Ys game. In essence, it’s just a simple change of instruments and possibly a very minor rearrangement of the music so that it fits with the new set. This isn’t such a wonderful thing as all of the songs actually used in the first Ys game have been arranged many times over in manners far better than what is present on this CD. That isn’t to say this music is bad, it’s just extremely simple. If you’re looking for something radically new and extraordinary, the first fifteen tracks of Ys Renewal most likely won’t be your cup of tea, even if the simplistic style works very well for some of these songs. (“Feena,” in particular, sounds very ethereal with the synths used).
What sets this album apart from others, however, is the rest of the songs present. Starting at track sixteen and continuing for the rest of the album, the “lost tracks” take control. Most of the songs present in this portion of the album have never, in the history of their existence, been used in an Ys game. Some, such as “Tension” and “Battle Ground,” were recycled for Ys I & II Eternal, but a vast majority of them have been accessible only through the Ys sound test or the Music From Ys album. Normally, one would assume this is because the songs just didn’t quite pass muster, but this isn’t the case. A lot of these songs are just as good as those that were included in actual gameplay, but apparently just weren’t chosen for use for some reason or another.
Even more special is the fact that, for some of these songs, the only rearrangements ever made of them exist solely on this album. This is a shame, because some of the songs are some truly special stuff. “Mysterious Moment,” for example, is a real head-bopper, featuring some excellent synth work that might very well fit into a good Mega Man game. And “Theme of Adoru,” which actually was used in several versions of Ys, was exactly the kind of music to intro the game with, sounding both heroic and adventuresome in classic Falcom style.
A number of the highlight songs of this section of the album, however, aren’t of the power rock genre that is Falcom’s forte, but of the slower, softer nature. “In the Memory” contains shades of both “The Last Moment of the Dark” and “The Morning Grow,” but sounds a bit more like music from Ys V than the original Ys. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because the song works very well, being both somber and reflective. “Fly With Me” sounds to be straight from a dating sim game, and is thus a veritable “odd man out.” But it’s done so well and is so easy to listen to that the two and half minutes goes by almost in a blink of an eye.
Overall, the album is quality music, but isn’t exactly a “must have.” What it does, it does well, but it’s mostly only worth it if you want the redone music that was never actually used in-game. For that purpose, this album is excellent, and is quite likely the only one of its kind for such music. But if you’re looking for top-notch rearrangements of the music used in the game, you may be better off looking elsewhere.