As a promotional item for their second installment of the series, Namco allowed Brady to release an 11 selection CD with tracks from Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse along with their strategy guide. While it excludes the tracks written by Shinji Hosoe, which is most of the in-game music, the themes of Yuki Kajiura have been collected and presented on this promotional sampler, and it is simply excellent.
The mainstay of the album is, of course, the “Xenosaga II Opening Theme” which is a Celtic-inspired peace that radiates soaring hope. This has got to be one of my favorite pieces in video game music ever, along with its reprised ending song form, “Sweet Song”. It’s not a song I got tired of or which lost its impact on me (and I watched the ending around 15 times thanks to an insane side quest in the game).
“Fatal Fight (Jin & Margulis)” is also a good piece that uses the opening as a base, but builds on a more techno-Celtic-orchestral structure that, in-game, really compliments the swordfight scene well. It also reappears in near-similar form as the last track, also known as The Image Theme of Xenosaga II.
“Albedo,” the theme of everyone’s favorite XS villain is very ominous and includes some Gregorian chant and heavy use of violins. Juxtaposed with that theme is “Sakura (Theme-Piano Ver.)” which is really just a piano rendition of the opening theme (but hey, I can’t get enough anyway, since the melody is just so good!) And “Here She Comes (KOS-MOS)” is the same, except trading in the piano for a techno baseline and a string section. There is also a lovely flute solo that is touching.
“I Am Free” is a sad, emotional theme that actually doesn’t build on the main theme to my perception, making it one of the few “original” themes in the album. “Jr.” is also original, mixing a very Latin beat and Spanish (Portuguese?) lyrics with pseudo-western strings. Not the strongest track, I feel, but solid nonetheless.
The final song is “Nephilim” which is really just the Song of Nephilim, but I liked the simpler, cleaner, less discordant Mitsuda version, so unfortunately, I have to give this track a thumbs down.
Now for the ultimate analysis. If you liked the music in Xenosaga Episode II, get this soundtrack. It’s so excellent, even with only 11 tracks, and you can probably still find a special edition Brady guide for yourselves, so why not?