Friday 26 October 2018

My 8 Favourite JRPG Music Tracks From 2018 (So Far!)

JRPG music is full of variety. From acid jazz, dance and heavy rock tracks, there’s good music of all kinds to find in a lot of games and 2018 has been no exception. In the games I’ve played this year, I’ve found myself enjoying the electronic tracks of many composers and I’ve also found enjoyment in more traditional orchestral soundtracks that sound amazing with music production quality always increasing. With lots of great JRPGs out so far this year, I can say most of them have had great soundtracks too, so these are some musical highlights from JRPGs I’ve played this year.

"Cyber Duel"
Composer: Masafumi Takada
Masafumi Takada is one of my favourite composers thanks to his work from Danganronpa and his use of a wide variety of sounds and effects really goes well with the electronic nature of Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth. The extra tracks he did for Hacker’s Memory such as Cyber Duel really captured the nature of Hudie and everything new added to the game, both fitting in well with the previous tracks while also giving the familiar looking environment a much needed fresh element. Cyber Duel reminds me a lot of one of my favourite tracks he did for Danganronpa V3 called Debate Scrum with its driving electronic sound that Takada does so well and having a different take on that kind of track in the form of Cyber Duel was a great backdrop to my new favourite game mechanic in Hacker’s Memory in its Domination Battles and really fit the mood well.

"Thrill, Risk, Heartless"
Artist: LiSA
Sword Art Online’s anime has always had great music and themes and the lively rock opening track for Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet really helped it shine before the game was released since it put itself in my head quickly, making the game hard to forget. While the song isn’t really used in the rest of Fatal Bullet, it’s driving rock guitars and passionate vocal by singer LiSA make it set a good first impression. I listened to this track a bunch when I first got Fatal Bullet and it always got me pumped to go home and play it and I can’t help but think of the song and get a little excited when I see clips from the opening video because of how well it packs a bunch as an opening theme.

"Lacrimosa of Dana"
Composer: Falcom Sound Team jdk
It’s hard not to throw the entire soundtrack of Ys VIII into this list as I really liked its overall unique sound that balanced gentle tracks and crazy rock tunes surprisingly well, but the opening theme of Ys VIII Lacrimosa of Dana really set its mysterious story tone well with its pretty melody that always leaves something lingering. When hearing and seeing the opening movie using this track, it’s easy to feel the emotion and tension laid by the carefully placed string sections and the way the track builds and manages to open Ys VIII softly while also giving a hint at bigger things to come makes it really feel special.

This track also did something I love in certain games where as I was running through one of the later dungeons, this track played in the background and really made the emotions feel heightened at the right point. I love when games put sad themes in during exploration portions at the appropriate time and with such a gorgeous theme, this track did its job of setting the soft, sad tone very well.

"Burn My Dread (Novoiski remix)"
Game: Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight
Remix: Novoiski
Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight isn’t out in the west yet, but its music is something to get really excited for. Persona games always have pretty great soundtracks, but this remix of Burn My Dread reminded me how great the original song was while also putting a dance spin on it, with plenty of electronics and distorted vocals added in giving it a very modern feel. Burn My Dread was and still is a great rock track in its original form, but I can’t help but tap my foot to the beat of this remix, which is perfect for a dance game and the way this version takes advantage of the rising vocal line to create a big chorus makes this an unforgettable track from the ones used in Dancing in Moonlight and I’ll be listening to it and burning it into my memory as much as possible when they hopefully release a soundtrack for the new Persona Dance games.

Composer: Takeharu Ishimoto
The World Ends With You is effortlessly cool and so is its track Twister, a quick rock track with plenty of other genre influences in it with its acoustic and electric guitars mixed with electronic sounds and horns. I actually prefer the original track to the remixed version made for Final Remix, but luckily both are featured in the Switch port so I can enjoy both and I loved whenever either popped up in battle, but I prefer the original version that keeps things a little more simple and think it sums up the game’s style very well. With interesting harmonies and a fitting cool vibe, this song and the many other great ones in The World Ends With You will probably force me to buy its original soundtrack so I can listen to them when I’m not playing and Twister is worth a listen if you wanna get an idea of the cool music from the game.

"Bokura no Network"
Game: Dragalia Lost
Artist: DAOKO
I’m somewhat concerned about putting this track in here since all vocal versions of it have been ripped off the face of YouTube, but I love it so much everytime I play Dragalia Lost and hit its home screen that it felt wrong to not mention it. I find it adorable how its characters walk to the rhythm of this happy track as it loops and have found myself accidentally bopping my head to its pop beat in public on multiple occasions. Dragalia Lost is getting me into its artist Daoko in general and most the tracks she provided for the game fit it well as well as being great standalone tracks, so I hope this song gets an album feature or single release so I can listen to it both in and out of the game.

Spoiler Warning:

The next two tracks are from final boss battles, so please proceed at your own risk (and if you're watching the video skip ahead around 15 seconds after the titles if you want listen to what I have to say and not have the tracks spoiled. Thank you!)

"Battle At Journey’s End"
Game: Octopath Traveler
Composer: Yasunori Nishiki
As a boss battle theme, Octopath Traveler’s track Battle At Journey’s End track really set the tone for me after witnessing the climax of each character’s journey. It’s just the right amount of pumping for these genuinely hard boss battles, with well-used percussion and its horn section upfront that really shines in this track. It’s the perfect cherry on top of a fantastic soundtrack that fits its eight characters well and the fact that this one track sits well at the final boss track of all its characters shows how good of a track it is and makes everything feel cohesive at the end of each journey.

"Filling the Shade"
Composer: Tatsuya Yano
Atelier Lydie and Suelle’s soundtrack is overall very light, with a mix of soft, humourous and relaxing music but its boss battles always knew how to crank things up and its final boss track Filling the Shade did that in its own unique way. The operatic rendition of a melody featured in other tracks in the soundtrack such as disorder in order tied this final battle into the rest of the soundtrack and game well, and had the dissonant harmonies and tribal feel that seems to feature in many Gust soundtracks is always something I enjoy in their games. The way this motif shown at various moments in the game was played in this boss battle with all the interesting harmonies and its big chorus all came together to create an intricate boss battle track that suits its tricky boss and the uniqueness of it really makes it one of my favourites from Lydie and Suelle’s soundtrack.

You can pick up most of these games and soundtracks on Amazon and Play-Asia!
(The Amazon and Play-Asia links help support my JRPG Jungle content so if you use them, thank you!)

What are some of your favourite JRPG tracks and soundtracks from this year? Who are your favourite JRPG composers?
Leave a comment below, send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle or tell me on FacebookYoutube or Instagram and let's talk!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Make sure to follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter and Instagramlike JRPG Jungle on Facebook and Subscribe to the mailing list and Youtube Channel for updates on content and random musings on JRPGs and the JRPG world. You're awesome! <3

No comments:

Post a Comment