The day I heard that a sequel to Shadow Hearts was in the works, I immediately began to think about the original’s brilliant musical score, and how I’d now be able to hear more of that same great style. Upon getting my grubby little hands on the OST, I was incredibly hopeful that I would find that same style, reminiscent of the original Shadow Hearts. Well, I asked, and I did receive; however, I did not receive as much as I would have liked. Now don’t get me wrong, this is an excellent soundtrack, but it pales in comparison to the original in some respects.
The first two tracks, “Prelude: Advertise I” and “Icaro Again: Advertise II” work in tandem to open the first disc of this OST in a very memorable way. “Prelude” opens with a dark, suspenseful arrangement that is strongly percussive, and is then followed by “Icaro Again”‘s addition of guitar and voice, creating a very effective combo. Most of the 62 tracks contained on the two CDs are characteristically dark, especially in the various battle themes, where this OST truly shines brightest. They’re all more or less fast paced, and most contain some degree of incomprehensible voices, keeping to the original Shadow Hearts style. However, the best feature about the in-battle tracks are the way they make you feel pumped-up and excited, like you’re battling alongside Yuri and company. “Astaroth: Battle with the Fallen Angel” is a prime example of this, as it gives off an incredibly epic feeling, and despite it being a slower-paced track, it is one that makes me want to listen again and again.
Unfortunately, some of the other tracks just don’t live up to the Shadow Hearts name. One such track, “Town of Twilight”, is actually a pretty good song, but is just incredibly overused in the game, leading me to becoming tired of hearing it. Luckily, these types of tracks are few and far between. However, the opportunity cost for including and overusing this type of track is that they could have been replaced in some points by some more diverse tracks.
The second disc closes out with a wonderful vocal piece entitled “Love Moon Flower” which I believe even surpasses the ending theme of the original Shadow Hearts in terms of beauty. Overall, I’d have to say that the Shadow Hearts II OST is both very dark and beautiful, and is a soundtrack suited for fans of the original Shadow Hearts. This soundtrack could have even risen above its predecessor, if it did not just feel as if it were missing something. Due to it being a fairly new soundtrack (at the time of this review’s being written, anyway), the Shadow Hearts II OST is readily available, and can be found at otaku.com.