If you are anything like me, when the trailer for White Knight Chronicles surfaced, you were instantly intrigued. Besides the visuals, which provoked the possibility that this may well be that big next gen RPG that PS3 owners have been waiting for, it also featured a track that instantly just drew you in. This track was called “The Travelers” and it’s not only extremely captivating, but it also set the precedent that White Knight Chronicles would be one hell of an amazing journey. Naturally, I instantly wanted to know how the rest of the soundtrack held up, so when the opportunity came to review it, I went for it. Unfortunately, I can’t sit here and say it lived up to the magic that I found with “The Travelers.” What I discovered upon hearing it was more of a mixed bag – one that often evoked emotions ranging from love to hate in me.
That’s not to say the soundtrack entirely fails, because it does a lot right. It changes up the melodies in the middle of tracks to add some variation and zest. The tracks for the towns give each village its own distinct personality, and there’s much needed variety from track to track. Not to mention that the soundtrack knows how to be powerful when it needs to be, and how to tone it down to something more soft and serene. And while the soundtrack does seem to focus a lot on the woodwind family, particularly the flute, it also isn’t afraid to involve other instruments for diversity. There’s also guitar, piano, the occasional vocal, and a slew of percussion and brass instruments used throughout the tracks.
So with this power, what’s the problem then? The majority of the tracks are just missing that spark to make the soundtrack go above and beyond anything mediocre. Many of the melodies are just typical; they don’t push the envelope. Furthermore, they just aren’t that memorable. The tunes are adequate enough to carry your ear through the game, but the majority of the tracks aren’t likely to leave a lasting impression on you. That’s not to say the soundtrack doesn’t have some great tracks, because it does. They are just too far and few between.
One track that did not manage to get lost in the shuffle for me was Jet-Black Wings, which is a song that I instantly felt that spark which many other melodies had been missing. With its vigorous percussion that portrays a sense of urgency, Jet-Black Wings packs a punch. It’s just exciting to listen to, especially with the wide variety of instruments in the brass and woodwind families it showcases. Another noteworthy track is Scar, which is one of the darker melodies featured on the soundtrack. There’s this extreme sadness and an absolute feeling of futility that instantly overcomes you when listening to it. It’s too bad more tracks weren’t up to this caliber. If only the entirety of the soundtrack had left more of an impression on me like these tracks did, I’d be here writing a much different review.
So, all in all, the White Knight Chronicles soundtrack gets the job done, but not much more. Yes, it’s adequate enough to help create a good atmosphere, convey a variety of emotions, get your adrenaline pumping during battle, and help contribute to the scene. However, the soundtrack doesn’t have that “wow” factor, and, as a result, won’t leave you begging for more. There are a couple of really entrancing tracks that are full of enthusiasm and passion, but, unfortunately, they are drowned out by the dull mediocrity that envelops the majority of the soundtrack.