X Edge Original Soundtrack


Review by · November 24, 2008

X Edge (pronounced “Cross Edge”) is like a cartoon crossover, but with games (and their respective developers). Disgaea (NIS), Ar Tonelico and Mana Khemia (Gust), Darkstalkers (Capcom), and the Spectral series (Idea Factory) all join together in an adventure led by two original characters: the hero Yuuto and heroine Mikoto. We’ve seen this sort of thing before: Monolith did it with “Namco x Capcom,” and Idea Factory / Compile Heart (the people responsible for X Edge) did it with “Chaos Wars” a few years prior. But here comes the interesting part; unlike the aforementioned titles, X Edge doesn’t borrow character themes or any other music from those other games/franchises. It’s a completely original score, written by Idea Factory’s lead composer, Kenji Kaneko.

Well, it’s mostly Kaneko. Gust composer Daisuke Achiwa and vocalist Haruka Shimotsuki worked together on the vocal theme “Blade of Tears,” which bookends the two disc soundtrack. So let’s start the review by getting this song out of the way. Frankly, I don’t like it. Shimotsuki is capable of much better music, and Achiwa has written far more interesting melodies in past works. This song is like the opening to Grand Fantasm (Schwarzweiss), but even more bland and straightforward of a J-rock piece. Listen for yourself…it’s not a great vocal by most standards.

But Kaneko? He did a great job. This album is on par with his last major release, Agarest Senki. The battle themes on this album are very strong. On disc one, tracks 4, 12, and 25 are all excellent battle themes. Guitar takes center stage, but the music is not at all simple. These songs are very “busy,” with lots of instruments (both real and synthesized) being incorporated to keep your ears and mind bouncing to and from the melody. If it were to be expressed visually, I would imagine a fast-paced 2D shoot-em-up with lots of flashing lights, lasers, and the occasional change of perspective. Yes, that distinct visual did appear in my mind as I listened to these battle themes. Call me crazy, but maybe this soundtrack would do just as well in the “shmup” genre as it does with this RPG.

The other tracks on the album, be they event, character, or environment themes, have a strong techno/synth-pop influence. If you’re unfamiliar with Kaneko’s work, it’s important to recognize that Kaneko wasn’t always good at composing these sort of songs. But he’s definitely getting better. At this point, with this soundtrack, I am reminded of Shinji Hosoe’s work, but this soundtrack is more traditionally tonal and melodic than many of Hosoe’s works. Kaneko continues to impress me, and though I would have liked to see some songs from the other games make it on to this soundtrack, I am happy to see Kaneko contribute so much to this PS3 title.

My biggest complaint against this album, as a matter of fact, is the horrid Engrish tracklist. Typos abound. Just take a look at the back cover, or glance at our tracklist here, which accurately reproduces what Team Entertainment printed on the back of the page. “disign” and “dengerous” are some good examples of typos, and then “To Your Healing” is a good example of failed translation (it should probably be rendered “To Your Health”).

The X Edge OST is given moderately high recommendations from this reviewer. Listen to the samples, and if you like it, support Team Entertainment and these “small-time” VGM comopsers by picking up the album.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.