Etrian Odyssey Untold 2 -The Knight of Fafnir- Original Soundtrack
Etrian Odyssey Untold 2 -The Knight of Fafnir- Original Soundtrack
January 28, 2015
Buy at CDJapan
The Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Knight of Fafnir Original Soundtrack accompanies the 3DS remake of the second game in the series. Featuring arranged music of the original soundtrack, as well as new music, both in FM synth and in the style of the more recent games, that accompanies the story mode aspect of the game, the soundtrack offers a fresh take on the iconic tunes. How does the overall music turn out and does the new music live up to the original soundtrack?
As with its predecessor, the three major parts of the soundtrack are the newly arranged labyrinth, town/event, and battle themes. For Etrian Odyssey Untold 2, the labyrinth themes are initially based of seasons, starting with “Labyrinth I – Woodland Ruins,” representing summer, and ending in “Labyrinth IV – Cherry Tree Bridge,” representing spring. These labyrinth themes translate quite nicely to live instrumentation and are one of the highlights of the album. From the upbeat “Labyrinth I – Woodland Ruins,” which is based off of the Norihiko Hibino arranged album interpretation, although with a bit more complexity, to the beautiful and ethereal “Labyrinth IV – Cherry Tree Bridge” with its soft electro-acoustic tones. Of note is “Labyrinth III – Woodlands of Frozen Flowers,” representing winter. It’s wintery, crystalline soundscape mixed with woodwinds, piano, and saxophone lends to a very tranquil atmosphere. As for the town themes, they are a vast improvement over the first remake’s soundtracks corresponding themes. The major thing is that they fit well into the soundscape created by the rest of the soundtrack and the town themes are especially bright with their woodwind focus and jazz/ensemble tones. Most of these themes were done by Ancient’s Takeshi Yanagawa and I think his contributions here make the town themes much stronger.
As for the remade battle themes, here is where some improvement could have been made. The normal battle themes translate quite nicely compared to their FM counterparts with their jazzy orchestral rock tones. Yanagawa contributes to the normal battle theme arrangements with his take on “Battlefield – Shiver.” His approach, which focuses more on electronic/rock hybrid is generally successful, although the melody itself is a bit muddied by the style. It’s also not as punchy as the original, but still enjoyable on the whole. The boss themes, however, aren’t as strong when written for live instruments, with a few exceptions. The FOE theme, “Battlefield – A Sudden Gust of Wind that Calls for Death,” is, in my opinion, much better than the remake from the first game’s soundtrack, thanks mostly in part to the great bass guitar. The other boss theme, the event boss theme that happens in the third labyrinth, “Battlefield – Guardians of the Sorrowful Ice,” is arranged by Yanagawa, and I feel that it really captures the tone of the original quite nicely. Bleak and sorrowful, it exudes atmosphere and really accentuates the gravity of that battle. As for the other boss themes, they feel a bit lacking, mainly because the percussion isn’t as prominently mixed. As a consequence, this makes the tunes sound more subdued than their FM counterparts, especially for “Battlefield – Scarlet Rain.” The final boss themes, which are based off of Koshiro’s Sekaiju no MeiQ 2 Super Arrange Version, also suffer from weak percussion. The melodies of all of these themes do convert fairly well and the main instruments for them work for the purpose of battle.
The second disc on the album features the new music composed for the game. “Reaching out for the future,” a vocal theme that accompanies the opening animation, has a very anime-like sound, with its pop flavor. It’s an enjoyable song, but I find it a bit weaker than the first remake’s opening music. There is also an instrumental version of this tune featured on the album. The new town theme, “Town – Peaceful Dining Table,” has a jazzy lounge sound with a breezy feel and a great melody. The two event themes, “Sorrow – End of Thinking” and “Sorrow – With the Wind,” feature a mysterious, slightly unsettling woodwind and piano piece for the former, and a poignant piano melody with a hint of sadness for the latter. The labyrinth theme comes in two varieties, “Labyrinth – Ginnunga” and “Labyrinth – Ginnunga – Depths.” The former is quite mysterious and ominous and definitely doesn’t focus on beauty, like the regular labyrinth themes, but since the environment is totally different (ancient ruins vs. forest), it fits wonderfully within the setting. The “Depths” version adds more ambient background noise to accentuate the original piece. Compared to the first game’s final floor counterpart of the new dungeon, I feel this one is more successful, despite the minimal additions to the existing track.
There are plenty of new battle themes as well. The normal battle theme and the boss theme for the new dungeon opt for a rock approach, more akin to Etrian Odyssey III. Since the Princess class from that game is used in the story mode for this game, it makes sense to adopt this style of music. The battle theme, “Battlefield – Swords Swung,” has a lot of power. It’s more progressive in nature and doesn’t focus on melody as much at times. It’s still quite enjoyable though. The boss theme, “War – Shadows of Death Over There” features some electronic aspects in the melody alongside the rock. In addition, the bass guitar adds to the power of the piece and the guitar solos featured are awesome. The next two themes share a common motif. Throughout the game, when the main character transforms in battle, the music changes to “Bloody Fight – Betting It All.” It’s fast paced, stylistically similar to “Battlefield’s Awakening” from Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, but with more rock punch. The melody is fantastic and full of energy. The story mode dungeon’s final boss music, titled “War – At the End of the Labyrinth, Resounds of Swords,” is an epic orchestral tune and easily the best orchestral focused boss theme on the entire soundtrack. In addition to the original portions of the theme, it incorporates the aforementioned “Bloody Fight – Betting It All” into the composition. It’s dramatic, heroic, and makes for a fantastic listen. Of course, each of these new themes also has a complementary FM synth version, which complements the live instrument version very nicely. The “Labyrinth – Ginnunga – Depths” FM tune isn’t as strong as the instrumental counterpart as it is hard to simulate the various atmospheric elements in the original with limited channels, making it sound a bit flatter on the whole. In both the instrumental and FM counterparts, the new music for Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Knight of Fafnir is, on the whole, better than the first game’s remake’s new music.
In the end, the Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Knight of Fafnir Original Soundtrack is worth a listen for fans of the original game and the direction the music has gone starting with the fourth entry in the series. The new music is an excellent addition to the soundtrack and gives a glimpse as to what may be in store for a potential remake of the third game’s original soundtrack or even Etrian Odyssey V. Although some of the battle themes from the original soundtrack suffer a bit upon their move from FM to instruments, the entire soundtrack is still quite cohesive, more so than the first game’s remake and fans of that style of music will most likely enjoy Koshiro’s offerings here, both original music and arrangements.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on February 12, 2015 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 19, 2016.
Great review, Don. I think you hit my feelings on this one right as well. I will say, as I’ve listened to it multiple times, I’ve warmed up to it more and more– there’s still a lot of character to the battle themes, even if they don’t punch me in the face the way they used to.
Dungeon themes are just great, though. Love ’em.