Zwei 2 Original Soundtrack

 

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Review by · February 20, 2009

I was always a fan of the music of the original Zwei. Not in the typical sense, I didn’t put the whole album on at once. It was a soundtrack I approached in more of a piecewise fashion, certain songs for certain situations. Overall it was pretty relaxing, a huge departure for Falcom, and was more world music than typical game music. It’s critical that I note this because the soundtrack for Zwei 2 contains a lot less of this than the original. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is something that you ought to be aware of.

Overall, the tone for Zwei 2 is a little more of the high adventure type and shares a lot in common with the recent Sora no Kiseki games. There’s one theme introduced in the beginning which then gets a lot of variations over the course of the game, as well as more of a focus on the orchestral action. There’s a fairly large portion of power rock at the beginning, but for the most part the composers stayed away from that. Additionally, there’s an odd contingent of electronica in some of the songs, which doesn’t pop up too often for Falcom. “A Prayer to Espina” is a good example of this, which has a definite trance background to it. It’s good stuff, if a little out of place with the rest of the album. In fact, the only thing I can really fault the album for is the few power rock pieces that exist on it, which feel a little low quality. The sampled guitar sounds awfully fake and tends to grate on me quickly.

On a per disc basis, disc one suffers the most from filler. There are a lot of good themes, but one or two filler pieces are stuck in between them. If you can work past them, the meat of the soundtrack is really good. “Bokura no Mirai” (“Our Future”) is actually a really good vocal theme, something I wasn’t at all expecting from Falcom. A lot of people will argue with me there and say “Silver Will” from Sora no Kiseki was also good, but that song always got on my nerves after about two minutes. I’m not a big fan of trance, sadly. Beyond the vocal theme, there’s also a surprise in “Leave it to Ragna,” the theme of the female lead of the game. It’s got a really “clanky” motif to it which reminds me a lot of the soundtrack from Okage: Shadow King. To have such a remarkably different song show up on a soundtrack from a typically more conservative sound team is nice and refreshing. “Secundum Abandoned Mine” is also really pleasant and gets me jiving after a while. Around about this point is also when the more orchestral aspects of the album show up, beginning with “Roar! Anchor Gear!!” Also, more of the world music tone from the original Zwei begins to turn up. It isn’t as heavy as in the original, though, and the songs seem a little short overall. I’m just starting to get into them when they end, which leaves me feeling a little unfulfilled. A perfect example is “Restless Prison” which has a great theme, but ends before it hardly even begins. Oddly enough, Restless Prison also reminds me a lot of Shade’s Alicesoft music, for anyone who knows what I’m talking about.

The second disc is shorter, but it’s also packed a more high quality songs. It does lag at the beginning, though, and doesn’t really pick up until “Resign Yourself,” but after that the better material begins to show. “Moon World (Luna Mundus)” is an absolutely beautiful, if not haunting sort of song, and is probably one of my top favorites from the entire album. I think right after that the final sections of the game begin to occur, because there’s a definite focus on high-tension songs. Things don’t really rock out much, but when I play the soundtrack, my playlist usually ends up containing most of the material after Moon World. “Spiral Fortress Melchizedek,” for example, gets my foot tapping. It’s also the perfect example of variations on the main theme, but also calls back a great deal to the original Zwei with the inclusion of bag pipes. For those searching, though, there is some heavy action in “Risk Everything on This Moment.” It also pulls up a lot of the Sora no Kiseki styling that has been prevalent lately with Falcom, but in the positive sort of way. It also lasts for a while, which is a blessing given the short length of most of the other action songs on either disc.

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Final judgment call is that I’m not sure if I can recommend the entire album. There’s enough really good material here to make the purchase worth your while, but I sometimes feel a little gypped given how much filler shows up between great songs, as well as their shortness. Definitely, if you were looking for more of the original Zwei, expect to be in for something different. If you can get past the level of filler, however, I wholeheartedly approve the soundtrack. It’s a nice change of pace in some ways from what Falcom generally produces.

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