It is no secret that I quite enjoyed the soundtrack to To Heart. Great soundtrack, great game. So when To Heart 2 came out, fans were overjoyed.
I was certainly looking forward to listening to this soundtrack. It offers more: more tracks than its predecessor (41 over two CDs versus 33 on one CD), longer tracks, a few more composers, and even some tracks by guest musicians. Such an ambitious soundtrack could go either of two ways: It could be a brilliant culmination living up to its ambitious promise, or it could be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen / too many chefs ruining the stew / any other metaphor involving too many leaders in a group ruining their project.
Do not fret, dear fans. The To Heart 2 soundtrack is good. There are many recurring themes from the first To Heart game that were remixed or redone for this soundtrack, and many takes of the same theme in various tracks. The sound quality is what you’d expect from such a synth-based soundtrack: clean and polished. However, the overall impression I get from this soundtrack is that it’s a different flavor from the To Heart 1 soundtrack.
My impression of the To Heart soundtrack was that the music was what a Persona game would sound like if it were a brighter, happier game. In the To Heart 2 soundtrack, that air of mysteriousness is eschewed in favor of a more traditional bouncy pop sound, but still with some depth. The first disc has the more bouncy numbers and disc 2 has the slower stuff. Sonically, it’s nothing super unique or innovative, but music does not necessarily have to be unique or innovative to be good. There is plenty of varied and layered instrumentation, but none of the parts overshadow the others. In other words, everything’s mixed well.
Another thing that’s always been impressive to me regarding both To Heart soundtracks is that despite there being multiple composers, all the tracks sound cohesive. There are tidbits of each artist’s personality throughout, but nothing sounds jarring. In addition, there are very few vocal tracks which were nice, if a bit plain.
It is safe to say that I liked this soundtrack and think the soundtracks are great complements to a great game series. However, though this soundtrack is good and is clearly a step above its predecessor in terms of production values, I still thought the soundtrack to the first To Heart game was much better. The music was more fresh and interesting to my ears.