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Qui-Gon Joe Aug 8, 2017

Another one of the albums I picked up this summer was the soundtrack to Valkyria: Azure Revolution (or just Valkyria Revolution for the game's English release).  Back when the game was first announced, it sounded really promising to me - a spinoff from a series I like the look of but am not into the gameplay in a genre I do like (action RPG) by a developer I liked and haven't seen in a while (Media Vision) with music by another old name (Yasunori Mitsuda).  It sounded way better to me than all the Valkyria series fans who hated it from the very announcement.  That said, reviews of the game seem to indicate that it is pretty awful even if you don't only hate it because of how it compares to the rest of the series.  I decided to check out the OST anyway, and I'm quite glad I did!

Frankly I'm a little surprised - I've been pretty down on Mitsuda for quite some time.  I feel like of all the "old guard" of RPG composers from the SNES era, he's fallen the farthest on my radar.  So much of his stuff for the last decade has felt like the compositions are just getting phoned in and he gets a pass because of really good recording/sampling/live orchestra.  This album, however, gives me hope that he's still "got it."

Overall the soundtrack as a whole is a lot more... militant(?) sounding than a lot of Mitsuda's previous work.  It does remind me of some of what I've heard of previous entries in this series from other composers.  As I did with Nier Automata, here are a couple of sample tracks!

Disc 1:
1. Azure Revolution - starts with the game's main theme, which is a recurring melody throughout the whole soundtrack.  Surprised this happens so little in game scores.  https://youtu.be/HI6xz5ZZMPM

4. Richer - this is a VERY Mitsuda track.  Could come right out of his work from the early PS2 days: https://youtu.be/KrO4eY-DMeo

5. Marching - The snare drums here highlight I think what I said about how this OST has a very militaristic feel to it.  https://youtu.be/UEIcW8LFARg

8. Threat of the Ruzhien Empire - Reminds me of some of my favorite stuff from the excellent-and-underrated Kid Icarus Uprising OST: https://youtu.be/EKFX8LwaCcw

Disc 2:
1. Enlivened City - Bouncy and fun track that I can only assume is for a large town/city area of the game: https://youtu.be/oDmEApEDxlM

11. Feel My Wrath - cool a capella piece: https://youtu.be/feGkpDqNUxs

Overall while it's not as amazing as his older stuff, I'm pretty happy with Mitsuda's work on this soundtrack.  Just kind of sad I probably won't be bothering to check out the game that it accompanies.  I'm curious if any of the rest of you have checked out either the soundtrack or the game (would anyone recommend the latter even despite the overall negative impressions?).

Pedrith Aug 8, 2017

I have never played the games before and preordered the soundtrack after listening to a few samples.  I am so glad that I did.  The music was a return to form, I only wish his other works will continue this upward trend.

Qui-Gon Joe Aug 8, 2017 (edited Aug 8, 2017)

Pedrith wrote:

The music was a return to form, I only wish his other works will continue this upward trend.

Listening to Azure Revolution has made me way more excited about the Xenoblade 2 OST.  I know he's not the sole composer, but I was a little apprehensive at first when they announced that "the first game's sound team was returning" but they got rid of Shimomura and filled her role with Mitsuda.  And early-2000s me would have been baffled by the idea that I would be wary of Mitsuda scoring a Tetsuya Takahashi game.  But yeah, after hearing this and watching the production notes Mitsuda has been posting to Twitter about Xenoblade 2, I'm hoping that will really be something special.

GoldfishX Aug 12, 2017

Unfortunately, I blitzed through this one when it came out months ago and I NEED to revisit it some more, but my impression was that it was a picture-perfect example of Mitsuda scoring a tactical RPG. Also, I tended to think it sounded excellent as a whole, without drawing a ton of attention to individual tracks (kind of how I have trouble picking out individual Soma Bringer tracks). It's extremely consistent from start to finish. It's still the best original VGM work to be released in 2017 (tough call whether this or the Goemon box would be my favorite overall release).

jb Aug 12, 2017

I honestly wrote this off because for the most part I'd written Mitsuda off after his last roughly 5 years of unimpressive work. I will probably pick this up in the future, though.

Qui-Gon Joe Aug 13, 2017

GoldfishX wrote:

Also, I tended to think it sounded excellent as a whole, without drawing a ton of attention to individual tracks (kind of how I have trouble picking out individual Soma Bringer tracks). It's extremely consistent from start to finish.

I completely agree with this (including the Soma Bringer part), and I actually had a really hard time figuring out what specific tracks to link in my original post.  I highly recommend anyone interested in this just listen to the whole thing!

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