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#Valkyria Chronicles


Valkyria: Azure photo
Valkyria: Azure

Valkyria: Azure Revolution is changing based on negative demo feedback

Taking a beloved strategy series and essentially transforming it into an action game was always going to be a risk. And for developer MediaVision with Valkyria: Azure Revolution, it didn't seem to pay off. Japanese players got their ha...   read

 
 
Valkyria Chronicles
Year after year, war as a subject is frequently mined for pop culture. These tragedies have been torn up, examined, embalmed, and made presentable so that we can better understand the atrocities humans are capable of com...   read
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Valkyria  photo
Valkyria

Action oriented Valkyria: Azure Revolution is still looking beautiful

Valkyria: Azure Revolution is one of my top anticipated games right now. That qualifier doesn't necessarily include the timeline of "2016," as the game is only slated for a nebulous fourth quarter release in Japan, and hasn't even been conf...   read

 
 
Valkyria Chronicles photo
Valkyria Chronicles
  Watch Video

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered set for May 17 western release on PS4

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered has been a long time coming. Available on PC (without the Remastered qualifier) since late 2014, it finally hit Japanese PlayStation 4s last month, but all we knew up until now was the western release was slat...   read

 
 



Valkyria photo
Valkyria
  Watch Video

Yep, Valkyria: Azure Revolution still looks great

Valkyria: Azure Revolution kind of came out of nowhere. People basically assumed that the series was dead since 2011 when the third game came out (which was Japan-only, by the way), and BAM, Sega announces a brand new upcoming PS4 entry tha...   read

 
 
Valkyria: Azure news photo
Valkyria: Azure news

Valkyria: Azure Revolution gets villain, demo breakdown

I was reviewing our past coverage of Valkyria: Azure Revolution, Sega's PS4 spin off of the Valkyria Chronicles series, and damn, that bust. Straight up distracting. Onto the news. Famitsu has revealed an antagonist to the game, Maxim, whos...   read

 
 
Valkyria Chronicles photo
Valkyria Chronicles
  Watch Video

Valkyria Chronicles Remaster looks great in its debut trailer

Sega released the debut trailer for Valkyria Chronicles Remaster, set to arrive on PS4 in Japan on February 10. The original was already gorgeous on PS3, so it's no wonder that it will look even better on PS4. Valkyria Chronicles Remaster w...   read

 
 
Valkyria Chronicles photo
Valkyria Chronicles

Maybe Valkyria Chronicles isn't dead after all

Sega has filed a trademark for something called "Aoki Kakumei no Valkyria" (Valkyria of the Blue Revolution), which may or may not be the next entry in the Valkyria Chronicles franchise. It's worth noting the mark can be applied to any...   read

 
 
Weekend deals
SEGA's successful PC port Valkyria Chronicles has hit a new low since its November 2014 release. Normally a $20 purchase, GMG has launched a SEGA Games sale this weekend where it drops 75% and with a stacking discount hi...   read

 
Valkyria Chronicles deal photo
Valkyria Chronicles deal

PSA: Valkyria Chronicles (PC) for $6.80, which is real cheap

Hey. Because I'm an idiot, I missed out on picking up Valkyria Chronicles for $8 two weeks ago. Because I am handsome, cool, talented and have nice eyes, Valkyria Chronicles is now on sale on the videogame website GamersGate for just $6.80,...   read

 
 
Valkyria Duel photo
Valkyria Duel

Sega shuts down Valkyria Chronicles mobile game

Sega and NHN are terminating service for their card-based social game Valkyria Chronicles Duel. The lights began going out today, as the companies have already discontinued sales of the browser and mobile game's virtual currency. The final ...   read

 
 
Deals photo
Deals

$9 Valkyria Chronicles as GamersGate 10th anniversary sale continues

The Sweden-based digital game retailer is running an anniversary sale this week, which we covered yesterday. The deals continue today with a solid sale on Valkyria Chronicles for only $9. This is a perfect deal for those who missed out...   read

 
 
Valkyria deal
Gallia, to arms! Several 2014 releases dropped to all new lows this weekend in GMG's "2014 Revisited" PC game sale. Leading the pack today is the Valkyria Chronicles PC port, which finds itself 50% cheaper than usual wit...   read

 
Valkyria Chronicles photo
Valkyria Chronicles

Sega seems pleased with Valkyria Chronicles sales

Valkyria Chronicles came out on PC yesterday. It was a good day. Especially if you're Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. Money, money, money, money... Money! Sega was proud to announce the amazing strategy role-playing game "forced its way to th...   read

 
 
Weekend Deals photo
Weekend Deals

Weekend Deals: Far Cry 4 and Valkyria Chronicles at a discount

Deals brought to you by the crew at Dealzon. FYI: sales from certain retailers go toward supporting Destructoid. We're about a week and a half away from Ubisoft's next big release Far Cry 4. The game is priced at the standard $59.99, b...   read

 
 
Deals photo
Deals

All the Valkryia Chronicles pre-order deals for the PC

Deals from the crew at Dealzon. FYI: Sales from certain retailers help support Destructoid. Announced (sort of) by Sega earlier this week, Valkyria Chronicle's price and impending release was unveiled just hours ago. The game is coming out ...   read

 
 
Valkyria Chronicles PC! photo
Valkyria Chronicles PC!

Sega reveals Valkyria Chronicles PC price and date!

Valkyria Chronciles is coming to PC on November 11 for $20/£15/€20, Sega announced today. The strategy role-playing game will come equipped with all the downloadable content released for the PlayStation 3 version. It's now avail...   read

 
 
Valkyria Chronicles PC! photo
Valkyria Chronicles PC!

Valkyria Chronicles is coming to PC!

[Update: Sega has confirmed the PC release of Valkyria Chronicles.] Sega appears to have a PC port of Valkyria Chronicles in the works, according to a recent rating listed by European classification authority PEGI. The tactical role-playing...   read

 
 
Valkyria Chronicles 3  photo
Valkyria Chronicles 3

Valkyria Chronicles 3 gets an English fan translation

Valkyria Chronicles was one of the best tactical games I had played in a long time when I picked it up at release. So when a sequel was announced (and subsequently localized), I was floored. Sadly, the third game in the series wasn't so luc...   read

 
 
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8===D

UDON announces Valkyria Chronicles 3: Complete Artworks

If you love the Valkyria Chronicles franchise as much as I do, this artbook should go on your Christmas wish list. UDON Entertainment has announced Valkyria Chronicles 3: Complete Artworks for a December release. There's 256 color pages of ...   read

 
 
 photo
8===D

Valkyria Chronicles deploys July 26, announced for mobile

Last month brought some interesting news to light regarding the future of Sega's beloved SRPG franchise with the reveal of a free-to-play card-battling strategy game by the name of Valkyria Chronicles Duel. The announcement was somewhat vex...   read

 
 
 photo
From our community  

Promoted blog: How Sega killed Valkyria Chronicles

[Dtoid Community Blogger Aurain discusses Sega's treatment of Valkyria Chronicles in light of their recent delay in the Western release of Platinum Games' Anarchy Reigns. Want to see your own words appear on the front page? Get writin...   read

 
 
 photo
8===D
  Watch Video

Good news: Valkyria Duel's a new Valkyria Chronicles game

The somewhat less-good news? Valkyria Duel is a free-to-play, browser-based, card-battling strategy game. It'll have base-building elements, territory control, 3D battle scenes (ala Advance Wars), and, of course, a ton of cards based on ch...   read

 
 




Journey Original Soundtrack
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Price: $4.99
Availability:
iTunes / CD release TBA
Artist(s): Austin Wintory

After having an amazing experience playing through the game, I had to wait in anticipation all over again for the game’s soundtrack. We hosted a lovely feature with Austin Wintory about his work on Journey where he discussed the creation of several pieces as well as offered samples, but with the complete soundtrack in hand, I’m surprised there’s actually so much music here, totaling nearly an hour of music. And all of it sounds fantastic with live session artists and even a live orchestra.

All the key elements are here for you to re-experience Journey all over again, but this time aurally. There’s the blistering wind of “The Call,” the playful “Threshold,” the vibrant “Road of Trials” (one of my personal favorites), the foreboding “Temptations” with its lovely harp work and the ominous “Descent” with its rumbling percussion. There are some more atmospheric pieces in between before a powerful trio closes out the album with the desperate “Nadir” that accompanies a key moment in the game, the jubilant and dreamy “Apotheosis,” and the emotionally charged ending vocal theme, “I was Born for This.”

Even when you’re out on the go, you can experience the magic of Journey any time with this soundtrack. Even those who didn’t play the game should appreciate Austin Wintory’s majestic score, and it obviously comes just as highly recommended as the game itself.

[embed]225854:43397[/embed]



Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance Original Soundtrack
Release Date: April 18, 2012
Price: 3,800 Yen ($47 USD)
Availability: CD Japan / Play-Asia
Artist(s): Yoko Shimomura, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Takeharu Ishimoto

I’ve never been a huge fan of Kingdom Hearts titles or their soundtracks. I always found them to be overly upbeat to the point of being cheesy, but that all changed with Birth by Sleep, which took a much more mature approach in the music department. Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance follows suit coming as light-hearted but not cheesy,and changes things up a bit by adding a lot of electronic sounds to the heavily orchestral palette of the series.

Series composer Yoko Shimomura handles the majority of the score, starting with the popular series main theme, “Dearly Beloved,” which gets a sweet waltz arrangement. She provides an eclectic mix of tracks, but my favorites would be the angelic “The World of Dream Drops” with its bell tress, piano, and strings, the elegant yet desperate “La Chloche” with timpani and harpsichord, “All for One” with its classy melody, and “Distant From You...,” which comes as a beautiful and heartwrenching duet between strings and harp. “Deep Drop” also stands out with its dark electronic sound accented by organ.

Square Enix’s Tsuyoshi Sekito and Takeharu Ishimoto also join the mix, with Sekito providing mostly epic orchestral cues with “Majestic Wings” and “Gigabyte Mantis” being my favorites. Ishimoto, on the other hand, provides several memorable moments with his electronic contributions that start with several remixes from The World Ends With You (the bumpin’ club version of “Calling” is my personal favorite) as well as several moody and textural electronic tracks, of which “Keyblade Cycle” stands out with its unsettling and glitchy soundscape. There are also several classical pieces by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and others tucked away at the end of the album.

There’s some great music here, and the packaging for this three-disc collection is delightful with glossy cardboard and some classy silhouettes on the discs themselves. Fans will want to definitely check out what’s new with the Kingdom Hearts series, while others may want to wait and play the game before deciding to drop close to $50 USD on this one.



Manabu Namiki WORKS Vol.2 ~Thunder Dragon 2~
Release Date: December 21, 2011
Price: 2,625 Yen ($32)
Availability: CD Japan
Artist(s): Manabu Namiki

For those who don’t know, Manabu Namiki has become somewhat of a legend over the years for his soundtracks to many a shmup title from Cave, Zuntata, and more. He’s also a member of Basiscape. This album presents his soundtrack to the 1993 title, Thunder Dragon 2. While the album contains 17 tracks, several are ‘alternate versions’ of the same two themes that accompany you throughout all of the game’s seven stages.

While “Fly to Live,” “Live to Fly,” and their variations are your standard energetic shmup tracks with an electronic backing and a jazzy vibe, the highlights are the two new arrangements: the super funky “Still Live to Fly” by Shinji Hosoe and the touching piano ballad, “Fly to Live -Love Theme-“ by Namiki himself. I also dig the epic final battle theme, “Marginal Attack” and the ridiculous “Voice Collection,” showing off some of the worst voice acting of all time.

With so little music presented here when you remove the countless indistinguishable variations on the two stage themes, only hardcore fans of Manabu Namiki will probably find this worth the price.



Piano Collections NieR Gestalt & Replicant
Release Date: March 21, 2012
Price: 2,800 Yen ($34)
Availability: CD Japan
Artist(s): Keigo Hoashi, Kumi Tanioka, Ryuichi Takada, Yuri Misumi

This was easily my most anticipated release of 2012. The NieR soundtrack is one of my favorites of all time, but I wasn’t sure how this album would work without the haunting vocals of Emi Evans. I was impressed to find that the arrangements here retained their magic, but in a different way. The arrangements are pretty straightforward, with MoNACA (the game’s original composition team) handling most of the arrangements and performances and guest Kumi Tanioka (Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles) performing three, which was a nice treat.

In the end, the question as to whether or not these arrangements are ‘better’ than the original ones is kind of a pointless one. I don’t think they are better or worse, but rather, different. I’ll usually default to the original versions with Emi Evans, but I can’t discount the soothing and simply elegant arrangements here either. I definitely think it’s worth checking out on its own merits as well as to send a message to Square Enix that we want more NieR.



The Music of Retro City Rampage
Release Date: February 2, 2012
Price: $7.99 CAD (Digital) / $43 CAD (Vinyl)
Availability: Bandcamp
Artist(s): Freaky DNA, Norrin Radd, virt

[Update: You can pick up the vinyl for $39 CAD directly from Lotus Audio if you're interested]

Retro City Rampage is attempting to be the ultimate expression of fanservice to those like me who consider the NES to be their first videogame love. The quirky humor and endless videogame references carry over into the soundtrack, and the team has once again done things right by releasing the soundtrack composed by three accomplished chiptune artists well before the release of the game to generate hype along with a limited editon vinyl release that is simply beautiful (and yes, the blue version I drooled over is almost sold out, and the green is completely gone).

The soundtrack itself is a lot of fun, although somewhat short at just about 40 minutes in length. Fan-favorite virt gives us a gritty and irreverent opening theme as well as a few parody tracks that made me chuckle, including “Not Mega…” that sounds almost exactly like… well, that famous blue guy. He actually contributes the fewest number of tracks, followed by Freaky DNA who brings the funk with “Half Steppin’” and “Bit Happy,” two of my favorite tracks on album. Norrin Rad handles the largest number of tracks, lending a poppy sound with the catchy “Dance Off,” the spacey “Proton Decay,” and the giddy “Smut Peddler.”

I can’t say that many of the melodies here stuck with me afterwards, but I imagine that will change after playing the game. I love what the team has done with the soundtrack and especially the fact that they’ve released It before the game’s release. Be sure to check it out.

[embed]225854:43399[/embed]



SONIC ADVENTURE Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: May 18, 2011
Price: 2,400 Yen ($29) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)
Availability: CD Japan / iTunes
Artist(s): Jun Senoue, Kenichi Tokoi, Masaru Setsumaru, Fumie Kumatani

This is an odd release that came out last year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s odd in that it’s a single disc ‘best of’ collection, whereas the originally issued soundtrack contained two discs. Why they didn’t re-issue the full two-disc soundtrack, I don’t know, but it goes for hundreds of dollars on the used market these days, so with this release, you may as well take what you can get.

And you’ll want to take it. Crush40 and Jun Senoue have been, in my opinion, destroying Sonic’s musical legacy for so long with all their cheesy vocal tracks that I’d forgotten just how good this soundtrack was. Senoue and Crush40 are here, but this is their first outing together, so they come off as more subdued. The few tracks that Crush40 is featured on are actually tasteful and catchy. As for the rest of the soundtrack, it’s some of the best that the Sonic series has to offer with incredibly melodies covering pop, rock, and electronic styles. I could list nearly every track on this collection as a favorite, so I’ll refrain and simply say “Windy Hill” from Windy City and “Egg Carrier - A Song That Keeps Us On The Move” are my jam.

Fans of classic Sonic the Hedgehog music that missed out on the two-disc version will want to pick this up for sure.



SONIC THE HEDGEHOG CD Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: November 23, 2011
Price: 2,400 Yen ($29) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)
Availability: CD Japan / Play-Asia / iTunes
Artist(s): Masafumi Ogata, Naofumi Hataya

Few soundtracks are as controversial as the Sonic CD soundtrack. The original soundtrack was composed by Sega composers in Japan and was featured intact in the Japanese and European releases of the game. Fans in North America were probably unaware, however, that Sega of America completely re-scored the game for the North America release. The original score was much more electronic in style, resembling past Sonic soundtracks, while the North American version got a more atmospheric slant. Why this was done, nobody knows, but it happened, and there wasn’t a proper release for the original Japanese/European soundtrack until now.

What you have are the core stage themes with additional “good future,” “bad future,” and “boss” mixes. I have to say that while I like both versions of the soundtrack, I prefer the ones presented here with a fun, tropical “Palmtree Panic,” the sexy smooth jazz flavored “Tidal Tempest,” the upbeat fusion “Quartz Quandrant,” and the chugging electronic “Wacky Workbench” areas. The early 1990s-flavored hip-hop version of “Stardust Speedway” also made me chuckle. While this version resonates with me more, I do have to admit I like Nielsen’s “Sonic Boom” vocal theme better than the horrible hip-hop “You Can Do Anything” found here, and the inspirational rap ending theme, “Believe in Yourself” is just embarrassing. There are some bonus remixes found here as well, including renditions of “Sonic Boom” and “Stardust Speedway” featuring Jun Senoue, Crush40 and Cash Cash (an electronic group featured heavily on Sonic Generations). Fans of Naofumi Hataya (who also scored NiGHTS) should appreciate the track-by-track artist breakdown.

Of all the 20th anniversary soundtrack releases, this one is most worth your attention as it’s not a simple re-issue, but a first-time release with bonuses. It’s worth checking out to get an alternate take on the game’s soundtrack for fans in North America who didn’t know any better.



Valkyria Chronicles 3 Sound and Song Collection
Release Date: May 11, 2011
Price: 3,500 Yen ($42)
Availability: CD Japan / Play-Asia
Artist(s): Hitoshi Sakimoto, Shiro Sagisu, Hikaru Nanase, Masato Nakayama, Katsuhiko Kurosu

This is another one by Hitoshi Sakimoto. I love his Western-flavored Valkyria Chronicles soundtracks, and the soundtrack for Valkyria Chronicles 3 was particularly mature and moody after the more upbeat Valkyria Chronicles 2. I’m looking at this one so late after its release because it was initially released by Basiscape Records in February 2011. I was wondering what this re-issue was all about, and apparently it’s the same great soundtrack with the wonderful guitar arrangements featured on the Basiscape release swapped out for four licensed vocal themes used in the game and in the anime adaptation. These are rather standard Japanese pop and rock tracks, although JAM Project’s “Song of the Soldiers Chasing the Wind” from the game actually fits in with the score as a triumphant march with male choral-style singing, much to my surprise.

I’d honestly recommend picking up the Basiscape Records version with its guitar arrangements over this one. They are incredibly well done, and with the exception of the aforementioned JAM Project track, the vocal themes here don’t have a whole lot of connection to the series. You can pick up the Basiscape Records version at CD Japan as well.

[embed]225854:43423" data-vidtitle="

Note Worthy 001: Kingdom Hearts 3D, Journey, and more Welcome to Note Worthy, a new feature we’re rolling out on Destructoid! If you’ve read anything I’ve contributed over the past year at Destructoid, you’ve probably noticed that it all pertains to game ...  
Full story

" data-purl="note-worthy-001-kingdom-hearts-3d-journey-and-more-225854.phtml" data-vidsummary="" data-remodal-target="watch">8===D


Journey Original Soundtrack
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Price: $4.99
Availability:
iTunes / CD release TBA
Artist(s): Austin Wintory

After having an amazing experience playing through the game, I had to wait in anticipation all over again for the game’s soundtrack. We hosted a lovely feature with Austin Wintory about his work on Journey where he discussed the creation of several pieces as well as offered samples, but with the complete soundtrack in hand, I’m surprised there’s actually so much music here, totaling nearly an hour of music. And all of it sounds fantastic with live session artists and even a live orchestra.

All the key elements are here for you to re-experience Journey all over again, but this time aurally. There’s the blistering wind of “The Call,” the playful “Threshold,” the vibrant “Road of Trials” (one of my personal favorites), the foreboding “Temptations” with its lovely harp work and the ominous “Descent” with its rumbling percussion. There are some more atmospheric pieces in between before a powerful trio closes out the album with the desperate “Nadir” that accompanies a key moment in the game, the jubilant and dreamy “Apotheosis,” and the emotionally charged ending vocal theme, “I was Born for This.”

Even when you’re out on the go, you can experience the magic of Journey any time with this soundtrack. Even those who didn’t play the game should appreciate Austin Wintory’s majestic score, and it obviously comes just as highly recommended as the game itself.

[embed]225854:43397[/embed]



Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance Original Soundtrack
Release Date: April 18, 2012
Price: 3,800 Yen ($47 USD)
Availability: CD Japan / Play-Asia
Artist(s): Yoko Shimomura, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Takeharu Ishimoto

I’ve never been a huge fan of Kingdom Hearts titles or their soundtracks. I always found them to be overly upbeat to the point of being cheesy, but that all changed with Birth by Sleep, which took a much more mature approach in the music department. Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance follows suit coming as light-hearted but not cheesy,and changes things up a bit by adding a lot of electronic sounds to the heavily orchestral palette of the series.

Series composer Yoko Shimomura handles the majority of the score, starting with the popular series main theme, “Dearly Beloved,” which gets a sweet waltz arrangement. She provides an eclectic mix of tracks, but my favorites would be the angelic “The World of Dream Drops” with its bell tress, piano, and strings, the elegant yet desperate “La Chloche” with timpani and harpsichord, “All for One” with its classy melody, and “Distant From You...,” which comes as a beautiful and heartwrenching duet between strings and harp. “Deep Drop” also stands out with its dark electronic sound accented by organ.

Square Enix’s Tsuyoshi Sekito and Takeharu Ishimoto also join the mix, with Sekito providing mostly epic orchestral cues with “Majestic Wings” and “Gigabyte Mantis” being my favorites. Ishimoto, on the other hand, provides several memorable moments with his electronic contributions that start with several remixes from The World Ends With You (the bumpin’ club version of “Calling” is my personal favorite) as well as several moody and textural electronic tracks, of which “Keyblade Cycle” stands out with its unsettling and glitchy soundscape. There are also several classical pieces by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and others tucked away at the end of the album.

There’s some great music here, and the packaging for this three-disc collection is delightful with glossy cardboard and some classy silhouettes on the discs themselves. Fans will want to definitely check out what’s new with the Kingdom Hearts series, while others may want to wait and play the game before deciding to drop close to $50 USD on this one.



Manabu Namiki WORKS Vol.2 ~Thunder Dragon 2~
Release Date: December 21, 2011
Price: 2,625 Yen ($32)
Availability: CD Japan
Artist(s): Manabu Namiki

For those who don’t know, Manabu Namiki has become somewhat of a legend over the years for his soundtracks to many a shmup title from Cave, Zuntata, and more. He’s also a member of Basiscape. This album presents his soundtrack to the 1993 title, Thunder Dragon 2. While the album contains 17 tracks, several are ‘alternate versions’ of the same two themes that accompany you throughout all of the game’s seven stages.

While “Fly to Live,” “Live to Fly,” and their variations are your standard energetic shmup tracks with an electronic backing and a jazzy vibe, the highlights are the two new arrangements: the super funky “Still Live to Fly” by Shinji Hosoe and the touching piano ballad, “Fly to Live -Love Theme-“ by Namiki himself. I also dig the epic final battle theme, “Marginal Attack” and the ridiculous “Voice Collection,” showing off some of the worst voice acting of all time.

With so little music presented here when you remove the countless indistinguishable variations on the two stage themes, only hardcore fans of Manabu Namiki will probably find this worth the price.



Piano Collections NieR Gestalt & Replicant
Release Date: March 21, 2012
Price: 2,800 Yen ($34)
Availability: CD Japan
Artist(s): Keigo Hoashi, Kumi Tanioka, Ryuichi Takada, Yuri Misumi

This was easily my most anticipated release of 2012. The NieR soundtrack is one of my favorites of all time, but I wasn’t sure how this album would work without the haunting vocals of Emi Evans. I was impressed to find that the arrangements here retained their magic, but in a different way. The arrangements are pretty straightforward, with MoNACA (the game’s original composition team) handling most of the arrangements and performances and guest Kumi Tanioka (Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles) performing three, which was a nice treat.

In the end, the question as to whether or not these arrangements are ‘better’ than the original ones is kind of a pointless one. I don’t think they are better or worse, but rather, different. I’ll usually default to the original versions with Emi Evans, but I can’t discount the soothing and simply elegant arrangements here either. I definitely think it’s worth checking out on its own merits as well as to send a message to Square Enix that we want more NieR.



The Music of Retro City Rampage
Release Date: February 2, 2012
Price: $7.99 CAD (Digital) / $43 CAD (Vinyl)
Availability: Bandcamp
Artist(s): Freaky DNA, Norrin Radd, virt

[Update: You can pick up the vinyl for $39 CAD directly from Lotus Audio if you're interested]

Retro City Rampage is attempting to be the ultimate expression of fanservice to those like me who consider the NES to be their first videogame love. The quirky humor and endless videogame references carry over into the soundtrack, and the team has once again done things right by releasing the soundtrack composed by three accomplished chiptune artists well before the release of the game to generate hype along with a limited editon vinyl release that is simply beautiful (and yes, the blue version I drooled over is almost sold out, and the green is completely gone).

The soundtrack itself is a lot of fun, although somewhat short at just about 40 minutes in length. Fan-favorite virt gives us a gritty and irreverent opening theme as well as a few parody tracks that made me chuckle, including “Not Mega…” that sounds almost exactly like… well, that famous blue guy. He actually contributes the fewest number of tracks, followed by Freaky DNA who brings the funk with “Half Steppin’” and “Bit Happy,” two of my favorite tracks on album. Norrin Rad handles the largest number of tracks, lending a poppy sound with the catchy “Dance Off,” the spacey “Proton Decay,” and the giddy “Smut Peddler.”

I can’t say that many of the melodies here stuck with me afterwards, but I imagine that will change after playing the game. I love what the team has done with the soundtrack and especially the fact that they’ve released It before the game’s release. Be sure to check it out.

[embed]225854:43399[/embed]



SONIC ADVENTURE Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: May 18, 2011
Price: 2,400 Yen ($29) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)
Availability: CD Japan / iTunes
Artist(s): Jun Senoue, Kenichi Tokoi, Masaru Setsumaru, Fumie Kumatani

This is an odd release that came out last year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s odd in that it’s a single disc ‘best of’ collection, whereas the originally issued soundtrack contained two discs. Why they didn’t re-issue the full two-disc soundtrack, I don’t know, but it goes for hundreds of dollars on the used market these days, so with this release, you may as well take what you can get.

And you’ll want to take it. Crush40 and Jun Senoue have been, in my opinion, destroying Sonic’s musical legacy for so long with all their cheesy vocal tracks that I’d forgotten just how good this soundtrack was. Senoue and Crush40 are here, but this is their first outing together, so they come off as more subdued. The few tracks that Crush40 is featured on are actually tasteful and catchy. As for the rest of the soundtrack, it’s some of the best that the Sonic series has to offer with incredibly melodies covering pop, rock, and electronic styles. I could list nearly every track on this collection as a favorite, so I’ll refrain and simply say “Windy Hill” from Windy City and “Egg Carrier - A Song That Keeps Us On The Move” are my jam.

Fans of classic Sonic the Hedgehog music that missed out on the two-disc version will want to pick this up for sure.



SONIC THE HEDGEHOG CD Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: November 23, 2011
Price: 2,400 Yen ($29) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)
Availability: CD Japan / Play-Asia / iTunes
Artist(s): Masafumi Ogata, Naofumi Hataya

Few soundtracks are as controversial as the Sonic CD soundtrack. The original soundtrack was composed by Sega composers in Japan and was featured intact in the Japanese and European releases of the game. Fans in North America were probably unaware, however, that Sega of America completely re-scored the game for the North America release. The original score was much more electronic in style, resembling past Sonic soundtracks, while the North American version got a more atmospheric slant. Why this was done, nobody knows, but it happened, and there wasn’t a proper release for the original Japanese/European soundtrack until now.

What you have are the core stage themes with additional “good future,” “bad future,” and “boss” mixes. I have to say that while I like both versions of the soundtrack, I prefer the ones presented here with a fun, tropical “Palmtree Panic,” the sexy smooth jazz flavored “Tidal Tempest,” the upbeat fusion “Quartz Quandrant,” and the chugging electronic “Wacky Workbench” areas. The early 1990s-flavored hip-hop version of “Stardust Speedway” also made me chuckle. While this version resonates with me more, I do have to admit I like Nielsen’s “Sonic Boom” vocal theme better than the horrible hip-hop “You Can Do Anything” found here, and the inspirational rap ending theme, “Believe in Yourself” is just embarrassing. There are some bonus remixes found here as well, including renditions of “Sonic Boom” and “Stardust Speedway” featuring Jun Senoue, Crush40 and Cash Cash (an electronic group featured heavily on Sonic Generations). Fans of Naofumi Hataya (who also scored NiGHTS) should appreciate the track-by-track artist breakdown.

Of all the 20th anniversary soundtrack releases, this one is most worth your attention as it’s not a simple re-issue, but a first-time release with bonuses. It’s worth checking out to get an alternate take on the game’s soundtrack for fans in North America who didn’t know any better.



Valkyria Chronicles 3 Sound and Song Collection
Release Date: May 11, 2011
Price: 3,500 Yen ($42)
Availability: CD Japan / Play-Asia
Artist(s): Hitoshi Sakimoto, Shiro Sagisu, Hikaru Nanase, Masato Nakayama, Katsuhiko Kurosu

This is another one by Hitoshi Sakimoto. I love his Western-flavored Valkyria Chronicles soundtracks, and the soundtrack for Valkyria Chronicles 3 was particularly mature and moody after the more upbeat Valkyria Chronicles 2. I’m looking at this one so late after its release because it was initially released by Basiscape Records in February 2011. I was wondering what this re-issue was all about, and apparently it’s the same great soundtrack with the wonderful guitar arrangements featured on the Basiscape release swapped out for four licensed vocal themes used in the game and in the anime adaptation. These are rather standard Japanese pop and rock tracks, although JAM Project’s “Song of the Soldiers Chasing the Wind” from the game actually fits in with the score as a triumphant march with male choral-style singing, much to my surprise.

I’d honestly recommend picking up the Basiscape Records version with its guitar arrangements over this one. They are incredibly well done, and with the exception of the aforementioned JAM Project track, the vocal themes here don’t have a whole lot of connection to the series. You can pick up the Basiscape Records version at CD Japan as well.

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