To me, Ys II represents one of the most classic RPG scores of all time. Throughout all of the remakes and arrangements of the score, Ys Perfect Collection II has stood the test of time and sounds great, even compared to modern-day game soundtracks. However, it’s not quite perfect.
Like Perfect Collections Ys I and III, the set is comprised of two discs. Disc one contains the Special Arranged Version of the score, arranged by Ryo Yonemitsu, while disc two contains 9 various songs from the first three Ys games and arranges them in a variety of ways.
Coming off of the original Ys Perfect Collection, the synth of disc 1 doesn’t sound quite as clear as it should. It’s high quality, to be sure, but some of the tracks aren’t quite as crisp and clear as they sound like they should be. Of course, this tends to go over more noticeably with the slower tracks. Too Full With Love, Noble District of Toal, Cavern of Rasteenie are a few that would benefit from the enhanced clarity-If you’re not thinking about them while listening, they tend to resemble simple background noise. The slower tracks in the first Perfect Collection were much more attention-grabbing.
Of course, the first thing to come to mind with any of the Ys Perfect Collections is normally the same thought: Guitar-Blasted Power Rock! That, my friends, is where this disc shines. The lower synth quality is still apparent, but it’s so fast and engaging, you’ll hardly have the chance to notice. The pure awesomeness (I’ve always wanted to use that) of “Termination” is simply unmatched. The fast-paced synth pulls off a great sense of frantic danger and, towards the end, a guitar solo literally rips into the piece. Not only is this the best version of the song, but it is easily one of my favorite VGM pieces. “Ruins of Moondoria,” “Protectors,” “Palace of Salmon” and “Companile of Lane” are all done in the same flavor and are simply superb (oddly enough, the synth used in “Palace of Salmon” is a notch higher than every other track on this disc – You can really hear the clarity) We even get a little bit of fusion thrown into the mix: “Ice Ridge of Noltia” and “Subterranean Canal” both have a cool, jazzy bounciness to them. Finally, “Stay With Me Forever,” takes after Ys I’s “See You Again” and acts as a lively ending tune. Overall, despite the lower sound quality, this is simply an awesome disc.
Now we come to the bad part: Disc 2. To put it simply, I don’t like this disc at all. I hate how the vocal version of “A Still Time” is comprised of nothing, but people going, “Whhhooooo” along with the song. I hate the fact that one of the JDK Band tunes is another vocal (mildly interesting, but nothing special) I don’t know why in the world, “The Theme of Chester” was elected for an arrangement-If they’re going to use an Ys III tune, I can think of about ten themes that should be ahead of it for arrangements. Very flat, very slow, very uninteresting.
Now come the New Age tracks. To be honest, I am not a fan of these arrangements in general, so I’ll go with this explanation: If you like relaxing violin and piano music, that is best suited for sleeping, wedged in the middle of a bunch of vocal and rock songs, enjoy. I don’t. The only things that keep this disc from being a coaster is the JDK Band version of “Moat of Burnedbless~Ruins of Moondoria,” the fusion version of “First Steps Towards Wars,” and the sweet vocal version of, “See You Again” (called “Smile Again”) However, these three tracks are too spread out to let me enjoy this disc as a whole. I really wish Falcom would have gone with one arrangement style (i.e. All JDK Band tracks, or all New Age Tracks, or all Vocal, etc.) Then again, I don’t think too many people who have bought this set over the years got it for disc 2…
Is this collection a classic? Certainly.
Is it a great Falcom arrangement? Yes.
Do I highly recommend it? No…Not this version, at least. Falcom recently re-released both disc 1’s from the first two Ys Perfect Collections, into a single collection, called, “Ys Perfect Collection I and II: The Complete Works of Ryo Yonemitsu.”. That is a much stronger buy, in my opinion. It’s easier to get and, even if you already own Ys Perfect Collection I, you’re not missing much of anything with disc 2 (Give the extra Ys Perfect Collection I disc to a friend-They’ll thank you later on in life!)
If you decide you want this original set, it is pretty rare in the US: it will likely go between $30-$50 on eBay. Yahoo Japan is also an option (there are a ton of these available there!) The Complete Works of Ryo Yonemitsu can be ordered from Falcom’s website.