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Ys SEVEN Original Soundtrack :: Review by Andrew

Ys SEVEN Original Soundtrack Album Title: Ys SEVEN Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Nihon Falcom
Catalog No.: NW10102820
Release Date: November 19, 2009
Purchase: Buy at VGM World


Ys SEVEN is the latest in the long running Ys series, skipping the standard PC platform and instead launching on the PSP platform. While the game itself is a step forward in terms of innovation, displacing the single player character mechanic with a party system, the music is a step backwards. Stylistically, this soundtrack is more akin to the musical black sheep of the Ys lineage, Ys V. In essence, the music lacks any of the flair that drove the pulse pounding action and instead feels a bit more like emulation of a standard J-RPG and not nearly as action driven.


I'll start with the highlights, first with "Innocent Primeval Breaker", which punctuates the intro movie sequence and actually brought my spirits up. It sounds exactly what one should expect of an Ys soundtrack — simple high intensity power rock. However, in tradition of many of the recent arrangmeents by Yukihiro Jindo, a violin rather than guitar usually takes the lead. It may not be sophisticated in any sort of musical sense, but it is a fun and enjoyable start to the soundtrack.

Another strong track is "Mother Earth Altago", which is exactly what an area theme in a Ys game should sound like. It's a track to drive you forward. The use of the guitar at 1:23 breaks up the core theme quite nicely and gives the track a bit of a boost. Unfortunately the area theme which follows, the first dungeon theme "Oral Tradition", is exactly the opposite. Colorless and formless, it has the effect of putting one to sleep and starts off far too slowly and is far too ambient. The introduction of a musical theme of sort at the 1:25 mark does improve the piece slightly. Other area themes are a mixed bag. "Extensive Forest Green" is a bit hollow and sounds a bit derivative, while "Unknown in the Dark" suffers from the overly ambient nature that plagued "Oral Tradition" and "Isolated Island Consigned to Oblivion" is much the same.

"Vacant Interference" is the first boss theme and it starts out with the right amount of gusto, though it does sound like a standard Jindo combination of electric guitars and an electric violin. Yes it is derivative and predictable, but if something works, why rock the boat? Unfortunately "An Assault" doesn't quite work the same way — it just lacks the requisite punch necessary to keep one engaged. "Crossing Rage" unfortunately suffers from sounding a bit too much like generic rock from the 1980's, and doesn't develop a melody or an identity until two thirds of the way in. Likewise it's a shame that "Legend of the Five Great Dragons" doesn't really start to work really well until 0:35, the intro just lingers on a bit too long. The shear variety of sound and often conflicting musical phrases especially that odd guitar sequence that pops up at 2:26, which sticks out because the track is more or less absent heavy guitar laden riffs up until that point.

Strangely stuffed at the end of the soundtrack, are a set of themes for a character named Tia. While I won't go into the details about why this character is important, it's a strange choice to stuff all of these tracks towards the end of the soundtrack considering that the character is introduced much earlier on in the story. And so the needless repetition at the end serves to frustrate. The theme itself is at its best with the piano incarnation; the other versions don't really add much to the overall melody and are merely changes in key and instrumentation for the most part.

The themes associated with the various settlements in the Altago region including the city itself, are fairly average. "In the Busting Square" has a good ethnic feel to it, conveying a coastal community quite well. "Loud" on the other hand, is track which I skip through on most listens. The plodding rhythm and heavy presence doesn't endear well to me. "Public Palace" with its cute little harpsichord underscoring, which is later replaced by strings is a cute little theme that is well crafted, if a little underwhelming in terms of presence. Finally, the last boss theme "Ancient Disputation" doesn't really work though. The musical ideas are all mushed together and don't seem to gel well.


In short, the soundtrack is fairly average. It certainly has some tracks which feel right at home within the Ys setting and inject some of the flavour the new Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. offered on Ys Origin. However, overall is a comparatively weak entry to the series and doesn't really offer many creative compositions or compelling melodies. Unless you are a collector, this soundtrack is better left skipped in favour of the much superior Ys I & II Chronicles.

Overall Score: 7/10