When one is playing an RPG, atmosphere is extremely important. Character themes, dungeon themes, battle themes, town themes, overworld themes, cinematic themes, etc are all important to the concept of mood and atmosphere. Volume one of the Star Ocean: Till the End of Time dealt with compositions made with an orchestra, whereas Volume two contains all of the themes that are considered more “in-game” for the lack of a better term. This gamer is a big fan of Volume one and its capability to be listened to fairly easily, which is mostly what I judge a soundtrack by. Volume two does little to disappoint in this area.
The majority of the compositions contain guitars in some form or fashion, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. There is nothing better than going 80 miles an hour down a straight highway while having “The Divine Spirit of Language” cranked up with your windows down. After all, what better represents the hectic pace of interstate traffic than a good, fast paced battle theme? Other songs like Around in the “Wilderness” and “Exploration” are good for the aforementioned activity also. For those who cannot drive yet or are unable to, these tracks (and so many more on these CDs), are wonderful to just listen to anytime. However, there are tracks that are not, such as “I am the No. 1,” “Gaiety Company,” “Evil Shade Crept” and “What’s Up?” The songs are just great in-game, but out of it, not so much. There are a few Jazz tracks on here for the Jazz aficionado in us all, such as “Star Ocean Forever – Jazz Version” and “Moody Goddess.” It’s a pretty well rounded collection.
Another thing I feel is should mention are the songs that Sakuraba tends to bring into every game he composes for and many who have played Star Ocean: The Second Story or Valkyrie Profile would be familiar with. My favorite two are his new renditions of “Mission to Deep Space,” with its hard rock make over, and “Star Ocean Forever” which translates pretty well into a jazz composition. However, “Incarnation of the Devil” and “Confidence in the Domination” are not as great in their new compositions as their original incarnations.
If you’re a Sakuraba fan, this is definitely one collection that you do not want to miss. If you’re not, but are open-minded, give it a shot. If you absolutely hate Sakuraba, well, you wouldn’t be reading this review for one, but, if you are, you probably might want to give this a chance.