So recently I reviewed the OST for Zwei 2, wherein I stated that I was a considerable fan of the music from the first game. My sole “complaint” leveled against it was that it was an album best listened to one song at a time, rather than straight through. In 2008, however, Falcom produced a version of the game for their newest honey, the PSP. While it would have been simple enough to do a direct port, this was not done with the music. By this I mean that this 2008 soundtrack is actually a fully rearranged version of the original music, with all the bells and whistles that entails. I wouldn’t out-and-out declare this a Super Arrange album, but it was an interesting decision to say the least.
The basic difference between the two versions of the soundtrack is sound density, the 2008 OST featuring songs that have more going on in them. This is opposed to the style of the original, which focused on fewer instruments, generating a cleaner, crisper sound. My issue with the original soundtrack was in no small part due to this less compact format. I do not immediately prefer one version over the other because it’s pretty clear each version is going for something entirely different. If I had to make a blanketing statement it would be that the 2008 soundtrack sounds livelier in order to better capture the attention of its audience, given the ease with which portable games can be put away for later.
I do, however, happen to like a lot of the changes that were made. An excellent example is early in the album, “Floating Continent Arges -Main Theme-,” which has a section near the middle of the song that differs heavily between the two versions. In the PC version, the song lazily meandered without anything really going on. This section has been entirely altered for the 2008 OST, making the song as a whole much, much easier to listen to. Pointing out instrumentation differences is easy, but the fact that the album is also filled with revised songs is a joy for the ears. To make the deal sweeter, the world music aspect of the original hasn’t been lost in the transition at all. While some styles present in the PC version aren’t as heavily emphasized, they do persist in the updated soundtrack. Furthermore, the songs have been shortened in length. Usually this brings up issues for me, but in this case the slightly decreased length is a boon, since the songs still accomplish everything required of them while not wearing out their welcome. There were a couple cases where the music got repetitive in the original, which was compounded by a number of those songs being variations on a theme.
There is one fly in the ointment, which may be something consistent between PSP game soundtracks. There are times in the OST where I crave a small break of quiet, given the nature of the music, but am denied it due to the persistent reverb. I happened to also notice the reverb was jacked up heavily in the Breath of Fire III section of the BoF Special Box and at the time speculated the music was from the PSP version. As I’m noticing the same thing here, I have to wonder if this is done intentionally for some reason or another. It does not by any means ruin this soundtrack as it did the section of the BoF box, but it’s something that extends throughout the entire OST.
On final judgment, I cannot recommend one version of the soundtrack over the other, but I do find this version to be much easier to listen to. Rearranged and retooled, essentially every issue I had with the PC OST has been removed, only slightly spoiled by the ever-present reverb. The only negative is that, in the 2008 version, tracks aren’t looped. Note the significant difference in disc times between the original OST and the 2008 reprint. That said, any fans of the original owe it to themselves to give this a listen and anybody left lukewarm over my issues with that version should have their fears calmed. This is definitely one to keep in your collection.