Perhaps I should begin by saying I’ve never played a Wizardry title in my whole life. I felt slightly daunted by the task of reviewing this disc. Ask me anything about Falcom or Konami and I can tell you; but I know very little about the this series, its creators or anything surrounding it. However, I was more than happy to have a listen to this soundtrack, especially with the names it has attached to it.
The first thing I notice is the synth quality – it’s okay, not wonderful: approaching FFXII or Symphony Ys ’95, but just not quite there. Still very nice, especially on the brass. The first track is a slow, grand opening similar to Ogre ~ Grand Repeat’s, but lacking that gusto (and the chorus).
After another slow track, “Bar” is *very* nice. Great guitar, nice tambourine, just an awesome track all around. Warm and cozy; short track but absolutely good. Reminds me a bit of FSB 97’s Ys V vocal, or the entire Zwei!! score: so warm and tasty. Same goes for “Rest” and “Event” further on in the album, to a lesser extent.
“Outskirts” begins a bit on the side of plodding, but is further in quite soft, rolling, gentle, and mysterious. “Museum” is as such, but more playful and airy, akin to something in FFXII. Not surprising since we know Sakimoto, Iwata, and crew are involved.
“Battle 1” is bombastic, but kind of all over the place and non-cohesive; feels random and messy with a few moments of decent sound. I kept wanting “The Battle” from Venus and Braves to break out, but it never even gets close. “Battle 3” is better–starts out sounding JUST like Radiant Silvergun (!!) – but never reaches the greatness of that grand score. With the names attached to this OST, I guess I expected more. Nice tracks, but just nowhere near the epic, mind-blowing scale of the aforementioned Radiant Silvergun, or any of the Tactics or Ogre Battle series.
“Annihilation” is nice, with very broad strokes of sound–I hear hints of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time in there, even though Sakuraba isn’t involved. “Training Place” very nice also, with some very Suikoden II-style low whistle and guitar with a hint of new age music. And the “Ending” is another brooding, sweeping, wonderful song with Sakimoto’s prints all over it.
Thus begins the arrange tracks, which begin with “Scorching Wheel.” I am immediately grabbed by this crazy, out of place rock track–much more than the original version. Great stuff, but a little short at just over a minute. “Town” and “Labyrinth” are largely skippable and plodding, but have some fun instrumentation, especially the acoustic bass. Very tasty. “Battle 1” isn’t spectacular, but “Battle 2” has got some fast, heavy Falcom-esque rocking goodness not to be missed if one enjoys that style.
And that brings us to the end of the album – overall, a pleasant listen with a touch of surprise, but not amazing, at least not to me. I was hoping for a lot more with the big names who worked on this. Maybe a seasoned Wizardry fan will enjoy this more, and I could be missing a lot of the appeal.