May 29, 2016

Let’s talk game soundtracks again

Posted in music tagged , , , , at 10:29 pm by riulyn

I recently picked up a few soundtracks. I would ideally have most of these soundtracks digitally as I really don’t need the physical CDs, but alas I don’t live in Japan and can’t legally get the MP3s unless the company puts them on Amazon US. Which Nihon Falcom did for the Ys soundtracks (thank you!). But anyway, I bought some soundtracks.

  1. Ikenie to yuki no Setsuna (English name “I am Setsuna”). I actually preordered this one and have enjoyed it for a bit. It’s a mostly piano soundtrack. The battle themes sometimes use drums too. The soundtrack basically shows us that the piano can do so much; it is both melodic and percussive. The tracks for the game are not complicated. It is another reminder that simple can be the best. The main theme makes me think of “For River” from To the Moon, though.
  2. Fire Emblem Path of Radiance OST. I was preordering Sora no kiseki the Third Evo and (not a preorder) Zero no kiseki Evo from CDJapan and decided to order some CDs while I was at it. I didn’t own any FE soundtracks and Path of Radiance was the favorite of the games I played. I’m not sure it’d be my favorite FE soundtrack, but it is decent. I probably wouldn’t put it in the top 5 or 10, personally, because I find FE music to be more of the good in the game but not so interesting outside of it sort. Actually, most tactical RPG soundtracks have that problem for me, a topic maybe for another day. I think the 4 CD collection is also not as crazy as the latest 8 CD collections for Birthright & Conquest, though I do think of the tracks I can remember from the newest 3DS FE games, the songs may be better there. The awful 3DS speakers make it hard to judge, though.
  3. Valkyrie Profile OST. I’ve already talked in the past about how I am a fan of this soundtrack. To be honest, it’s not the most logical thought to unite the game’s music with its plot, but somehow it works great. The rockin’ soundtrack is really great for all the dungeon exploring, and the other tracks have the appropriate moods associated with them. Also I have to admit that the first VP game’s OST made such an impression on me that I cannot remember a single track from VP2 or Covenant of the Plume. I think of VP music and can only think of VP1. So if the other games had good music…well I guess it’d be hard for me to recognize that.

I am a bit tempted to buy some Sora no kiseki OSTs on the Amazon digital music store, as that’s really the series I’m into right now (it has taken over almost all my Japanese gaming time). I’m also undecided on the Tokyo Xanadu OST. I feel like the Kiseki OSTs are better (at least FC and SC). Otherwise I’m not sure what to buy now, soundtrack-wise.

Speaking of Tokyo Xanadu, I see that there still has been no localization announcement. I’m thinking it won’t be this year since I think text-wise it’d be closer to a recent Kiseki game than an Ys game, and XSeed has announced Trails of Cold Steel 2 (Sen no kiseki 2) for this year and Sora no kiseki the 3rd for next year, and Ys sells well for them so they’d probably jump on that once Ys VIII releases (my understanding is that Falcom doesn’t let XSEED or others work on localizing the game until post Japanese release). I’m just sad that the TX tag is so dead on Tumblr and I don’t know where to talk about it with my sucky Japanese writing skills. Oh well, maybe I just need to take some time to replay the game and study more Japanese in order to understand the Japanese fandom on pixiv or wherever…

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May 10, 2016

So far with Project X Zone 2 & Sora no Kiseki SC

Posted in video games tagged , at 9:36 pm by riulyn

I’m in no rush to finish Project X Zone 2 though I do enjoy playing a little bit every day, especially after freeing my 3DS from Fire Emblem Fates. Overall I think it is much improved on the first game. Even if the plot is nonsense, I like having some more customization between battles (buying equipment, leveling up techniques, setting skills). But more importantly, I feel like the dialogue is more amusing. Maybe I’m just noticing more references, especially Xiaomu throwing them out left and right? Also I am enjoying the Yakuza pair quite a bit. It makes me want to look into those games.

Other than being amused at the ridiculous dialogue, it isn’t so much of an improvement over Project X Zone that I’d recommend it to most people. Still, it’s pretty much exactly what I was expecting, in a good way. Sometimes it’s nice to be surrounded by gaming references.

The other game I’ve spent the most time with recently is Sora no Kiseki SC Evolution, or Trails in the Sky SC + voice acting and CG stills. I want to finish this before the third game’s Evo version comes out in July. I’m up to Chapter 6 and I think for the most part SC been more interesting than FC because there’s been more variety. I’m really not sure how well it would stand on its own as I think there is too much imbalance with heavy amounts of dialogue at some places and spurts of just trekking back and forth in other places. It really relies on you caring about the characters already, I think, with some of the stuff you do or the text you read in the game. While maybe not in the optimal state for enjoyable gaming, I like how in SC character backgrounds are really delved into and not so pleasant events referenced in FC get more background. I do feel like I’ve missed a few things by playing the game in Japanese, but on the other hand I really do enjoy the voice acting.

I think it’s nice to be playing a game where the world and the major players have had so much thought and planning put behind them compared to some of the other half-baked stuff that I’ve played recently. (Yes I do mean FE Fates, among other things…)