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Armored Core Nexus Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Armored Core Nexus Original Soundtrack Album Title: Armored Core Nexus Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Aniplex
Catalog No.: SVWC-7195/6; SVWC-7311/2
Release Date: April 21, 2004; October 26, 2005
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Armored Core: Nexus continued to focus on the risk of full-scale war between corporations, but had a considerably lighter atmosphere than its predecessors Armored Core 3 and Armored Core: Silent Line. This is particularly reflected in the score, led by Kota Hoshino, which departs from the series' typical moody and serious soundscapes in favour of various uplifting contemporary tracks. The soundtrack release for the title spanned two discs for the first time and the second disc features all sorts of goodies for series' fans.


Following the success of vocal components on previous episodes in the storyline, the soundtrack opens with a theme song of sorts, "Shining". This track is certainly one of the most light-hearted and cheesy of all tracks in the Armored Core series with elating electronic beats and lyrics such as 'Shining every day'. It'll take most series' collectors by surprise, but fits the nature of the game's storyline well. Nevertheless, Hoshino still maintains the off-the-wall feel of earlier soundtracks in the series with the unusual vocal style and hybridised instrumentation. The hook is also well-integrated throughout the soundtrack, most notably on the electrifying "Armored Core Runs About" and the encompassing "End Roll".

Given the lighter nature of the game, the majority of the instrumental tracks reject the orchestrations of earlier titles in the storyline in favour of mostly contemporary elements. For instance, "World Navigation" is reminiscent of the series' days with Mijk van Dijk with its mainstream techno elements; however, this time they're used for uplifting effect rather than to portray post-apocalyptic scenery. Other tracks such as "Blitz", "Chronocrash", "Chime", and, best of all, "Wallflower" also feature beautiful synthpads while still retaining a certain edge. The warm and soothing soundscaping here is such a pleasant contrast to the dark and jarring approach of the similarly electronic Armored Core 2 and Armored Core: Last Raven.

The soundtrack also incorporates mainstream rock elements for the first time in the series, but they're not as prominent as those in Armored Core 4. "Lightning Volcano" is particularly satisfying, both as a scene-setter and a stand-alone listen, since the various riffs are blended with electronic elements in a somewhat zany manner. "Urgent Evasion" is also effective as a tense scene-setter, given the various rock riffs are presented in quite a grisly way, further enhancing the diversity of the experience. "Scope Eye", on the other hand, aspires a little too closely to a cool indie sound and is a precursor to Armored Core 4's overly egotistical approach.

The soundtrack's producers ensured the soundtrack's increased weight was worthwhile by closing the album with remixes of numerous series' favourites. Defining tracks from the first storyline, such as "Grip", "Circulation", and "Apex in Circle", sound wonderful with the various additions and enhanced samples offered here. The main themes from the game's direct predecessors, "Artificial Sky" and "Silent Line", are also given novel electro-acoustic interpretations alongside other popular tracks. The album ends with a ten minute medley of remixes of other favourites from across the series' music. It is very nostalgic to revisit all these themes, some dating back all the way to 1997, though it's a pity that the transitions are so jarring rather than fluid.


Overall, the soundtrack to Armored Core: Nexus offers a plenty contrast to other titles in the series with its light contemporary tones. There are plenty of enjoyable tracks in the first disc, mainly of an electronic nature. The second disc, which is almost completely dedicated to revisiting series' classics, will also be very valuable for long-term fans of the games. A recommended purchase.

Overall Score: 8/10