Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits Original Game Soundtrack - Soundtrack Review

How Arc Got His Groove Back

Track Listing
Disc 1
1.Theme of Arc the Lad
2.Kharg ~ Soaring Wish
3.Offense and Defense
4.Darc ~ Way of the Supreme Ruler
5.Natural Selection
6.Mysterious Old Man
7.Yewbell ~ Balmy Breeze
8.The Day of Departure
11.Orcoth ~ Wriggle
13.Sparks ~ Advancing Sky Monster
15.Sulfas ~ Liberation
16.Big Owl ~ Departure
18.Drakyrnia ~ Proud Loneliness
21.Nafia and Windalf ~ Bound Spirit
22.Eternal Seperation
23.Spirit Guidance
24.Cragh Island ~ The People Who Live Along Side Each Other
26.Peisus Temple ~ Free from Distracting Thoughts
27.Silent Sunlight
28.Fierce Battle
29.Barbadoth ~ Craving
30.Wandering Soul
31.Bloody Battle
33.Darkham ~ Reign
34.Desperate Struggle
36.Creeping Crisis
37.Fateful Fight
38.To the Darkness of Hell
39.Memory of the Stars
Total Playtime: 71:21
Masahiro Andoh
Takayuki Hattori
Yuko Fukushima
Koji Sakurai
Takashi Harada
Sony Computer Entertainment

   When Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits was released for PS2 a few years ago, it was received by most as a mediocre game. Not awful, yet it didn't quite stand out in any meaningful way. When games like this are released, it's easy to overlook the redeeming qualities since they are so few and far between. Sometimes even these redeeming qualities are dismissed as mediocre as well. Thankfully, for fans of video game music, Twilight of the Spirits is lesser than the sum of its parts due mostly to a considerably well-done music score by a motley crew of composers.

   Perhaps Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits Original Game Soundtrack is the ideal example of how game music is more enjoyable to listen to outside of the game - this is the only sensical explanation for why the music within the game wasn't well-received. Just listening to a few tracks on the soundtrack CD will tell any listener that it is actually very well-done and quite approachable by just about anyone.

   The music is simple, catchy, and entertaining, and it is not without a few epic cinematic themes. The typical RPG themes are present: battle, love, world map, etc. But the soundtrack also has a rather interesting way of making the themes, though sometimes cliche, sound unique and original. Perhaps this technique can be credited to the fact that so many different composers contributed to the album. Maybe all of the different styles and interpretations of music came together to form this new and memorable sound. As a result, the game and its music earn a very distinctive feel that is as modern and rare as it is familiar and classic. It is this odd arrangement that makes the soundtrack such a pleasure to listen to: the listener isn't quite sure what will happen next, but once it happens they'll wonder why they couldn't predict it.

   Of course, however, this CD is not without its flaws. Many of the pieces are weird to say the least. A conglomeration of dissonant chords, unusual instruments, and haphazardly placed accidentals, which some may interpret as bold and interesting, most will see as irritating. Thankfully, only a few pieces are guilty of these oddities. Though they're not composed badly, they certainly won't appeal to most people. Another disappointment, if it can't already be guessed by looking at the track listing, is that many of the songs are far too short. When someone fits nearly 40 songs onto one 80-minute CD, there are going to be some small pieces. The short songs often end rather abruptly, leaving the listener to wonder if their CD player skipped to the next track on its own. It's really too bad because a lot of these short songs are rather good, and their unexpected endings come off as a disappointment. Though I'm sure looping solved the shortness problem in-game, it doesn't cut it for the CD.

   Thankfully, despite the length of some songs, what is there is excellent for the most part. The five musicians that lent to the soundtrack did a great job. The music is well-crafted with much skill. Each song is flavored differently, with respect to whoever worked on it. This is what gives the CD such a unique and enjoyable sound. All types of music make an appearance, highlighting the diversity and virtuosity of the composers. Everything from peaceful villages to grandiose orchestral fanfares appear to lend spirit to the game. And every piece that in the compilation, no matter what kind, is very well-crafted.

   Because most of the sounds in the album are synthesized, the quality section is shy of a perfect score. But that doesn't mean the sound quality isn't good. It's about what one would come to expect from a PS2-generation RPG, if not a little better. The most impressive sound that comes to mind is that of the distortion guitar. It's an outstanding sample that, thankfully, is used more than just a few times. The over all quality, though, is more than mediocre, but nothing ground-breaking.

   The production values weren't as high as with some of the other soundtracks I've listened to. The biggest reason for this how some songs were cut short or not repeated a second time, as it customary with most game soundtracks, in order to avoid printing a second CD. As a result, many of the fantastic songs aren't done the justice they deserve with a second play-through and a fade-out. As far editing and mixing, however, everything is top notch. Balancing is even and the channels are properly equalized.

   The Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits Original Game Soundtrack is a worthy addition to any game music collection, if not a recommended one. The few shortcomings the album has, short recordings and a few off-the-wall tracks, can be easily overlooked or remedied by hitting the repeat button on the CD player for the short songs and skipping the stranger ones. As far as the content that is on the CD, there isn't anything that's not to be enjoyed. There's a little something for everyone on this excellent album.

Sound Quality
Production Value
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