First of all, I must point out that I have never played Ys IV nor heard any of the original music. I feel that this had a significant impact on how I viewed the music on this CD. Okay, now that I got that out of the way, Ys IV Perfect Collection! All three volumes have a reputation for great music, awesome arrangements, and exceptional sound quality, but does Volume 3 live up to this reputation? In many ways, yes…and no. That’s not to say the album isn’t good. I was just expecting a little more from what I was told were the best game music arrangements…ever, period.
All preconceptions aside, the compositions here are all signature Ys, especially the battle themes, all of which have Falcom’s trademark sound. Any Falcom fan will know what I mean about that; Fast-paced melodies chock full of synthy-goodness, awesome percussion, and lots of character. Other than ‘Theme of Adol 1993’, this volume doesn’t contain any rearrangements from previous Ys games. However, there’s no mistaking they came from the series.
Ryo Yonemitsu is a master at arranging, and he demonstrates his talents sufficiently here. Taking the original compositions, he incorporates different instruments and styles masterfully, raising the music to a whole new level. Combined with the excellent sound quality (which really makes the album), he is able bring out the heart of these pieces. Of all the arranged albums out there both old and new, the sound quality on this CD has to be one of the best. With crisp, clear synths, you’d be hard-pressed to find better samples.
Okay, so after all of that praise, why am I so critical of this CD? Well, a lot of it has to do with the compositions. Yes, they are signature Ys, and very good at that, but I feel they don’t live up to the legacy of the first two games. Granted, the sound quality is outstanding, especially for the time, but it doesn’t make up for the melodies that I found weren’t quite as catchy as the original Ys compositions. They didn’t grab me as most Falcom melodies do. Also, the “Ys IV Mega Mix Version #3”, hyped to be the best Mega Mix of the three albums, doesn’t seem to flow as smoothly as other medleys I’ve listened to.
So, should you buy this album? If you’re a casual game music fan, I’d suggest starting off on something else. If you’re a Falcom nut, of course you should! That’s not to say finding this baby will be easy. If you’re lucky, one usually pops up on eBay every 6 months or so and goes for around $80-$100.