Hero Must Die Original Soundtrack

heromustdie Album Title:
Hero Must Die Original Soundtrack (Yusha Shisu Original Soundtrack -itoken limited-)
Record Label:
Gentle Echo
Catalog No.:
GECD-0006
Release Date:
April 27, 2016
Purchase:
Buy at Amazon JP

Overview

Hero Must Die (aka Yusha Shishu) was a mobile RPG released back in 2007 just as the mobile gaming industry was starting to take off in Japan. Nine years later, a remake was released by Nippon Ichi for the Vita complete with expanded content and overhauled presentation. Kenji Ito (SaGa, Mana) wrote the soundtrack for both versions of the game in one of the first of many instances of a big-name composer being hired for a Japanese mobile project. He personally released the soundtrack for the Vita version of the game through his personal label earlier this year.

Body

While Hero Must Die itself was known for breaking barriers in mobile soundtrack, the same isn’t true for its soundtrack, which reflects all the bad aspects of hiring big-name composers for casual projects. The opener of the soundtrack was supposed to reflect the tragic protagonist of the game with its transitions from a heroic brass fanfare into a solemn piano solo. Yet while the elements were there for a remarkable composition, Ito failed to deliver: the brass work is heavy-handed and poorly synthesised, the piano solo is underdeveloped and harmonically barren, and the track time is pathetically short at just one minute seven seconds. While these shortcomings may have been forgivable for a 2007 mobile release, they’re not acceptable for a fully-fledged Vita remake.

As the soundtrack progresses, it’s clear that Ito focused on rehashing tried-and-tested formulae rather than immersing himself into the scenario of the game or the unique opportunities of the gameplay. “Reluctant Goodbye” attempts to create a sorrowful sound with its longing strings and piano undertones. However, any emotional effect is dampened by the generic melody, naive orchestration, and muddy synthesis. “Ending” should have been a bittersweet masterpiece, but instead it proves another blandly-written, badly-synthesized faux-orchestration. “Air Travel” proves a bit more likeable with its charming melody and upbeat pop flavours, but could fit in any old dating sim soundtrack.

This six track soundtrack is rounded off with two battle themes. The normal battle theme “Dynamism” is listenable but uninspired. While the ‘violin + rock band’ scenario was fresh when Falcom started pioneering a decade ago, it’s lost all novelty now that it’s a go-to formula of Ito’s. There have been many tunes written in similar vein with more likeable melodies and extensive development. Much better is the final battle theme.  It avoids the pitfalls of other tracks here with its hybrid style, impressive synthesis,  and 3:37 playtime. While the rock/orchestral combo is yet another tried-and-tested formula for Ito, it’s at least done well here, resulting in the sole highlight of the soundtrack.

Summary

It seems that Kenji Ito offered more to Hero Must Die in terms of name publicity than he did in terms of musical creativity. His offerings here are nearly all unmemorable, generic, underdeveloped, and badly implemented. But worst of all, they’re extremely short. There are just six tracks and 12 minutes of music here, meaning the soundtrack neither satisfies as a stand-alone listen nor justifies its hefty 2160 JPY. Skip this soundtrack in favour of something were Ito actually put in some effort.

Hero Must Die Original Soundtrack Chris Greening

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

1.5


Posted on July 2, 2016 by Chris Greening. Last modified on July 2, 2016.

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About the Author

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!



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