NieR:Automata Original Soundtrack Hacking Tracks

Album Title:
NieR:Automata Original Soundtrack Hacking Tracks
Record Label:
Square Enix Music
Catalog No.:
SQEX-10593
Release Date:
March 29, 2017
Purchase:
Out of Print

Overview

NieR:Automata Original Soundtrack Hacking Tracks is a disc included as a first-press bonus for the NieR:Automata Original Soundtrack. It compiles together the chiptune versions of tracks from the original soundtrack that were used in the game for hacking sequences. All of the arrangements are handled by Shotaro Seo from MONACA. Given that these tracks were originally included in the game, some may complain about not having them included as part of the original soundtrack album, but ultimately the contents of this disc do not make or break what was already an excellent soundtrack.

Body

The disc begins with the chiptune rendition of “City Ruins.” Like the others of the album, it takes after the sound of earlier chiptune days. Seo chooses apt sounds to adapt the original pieces, but many of the renditions are just alright because they lack the emotion of the vocalists or the dynamism of the arrangements of the original soundtrack. Thus “City Ruins” is fine and enjoyable in itself, but doesn’t really measure to the expansiveness or subtle emotion of the original. Many other area tracks are like this as well; “Memories of Dust” still has a good melody but doesn’t sound as exotic, and “Forest Kingdom” loses its notable features here. Some tracks do make a good transition though: the steady buildup of musical lines in “Wretched Weaponry” is very clear and easy to appreciate in the chiptune version, while “Possessed by Disease” manages to capture the exotic elements of its melody, and I actually like “Amusement Park” the best of these, as its playfulness translates well into chiptune sounds.

The battle themes of the album are also rather mixed. “Birth of a Wish” is rather monotonous in chiptune form, while “A Beautiful Song” completely loses the power and drama that made the original a soundtrack highlight. “Dark Colossus”, “Dependent Weakling”, and “Song of the Ancients – Atonement” are rather nondescript, though the “Song of the Ancients” at least has its excellent melody to carry it. “War & War” has one of the better arrangements, bringing out its countermelodies here more (and it was only with this version that I noticed that the melody is a variation on “City Ruins”), though the original track is one of the weaker ones to begin with. However, an album highlight is “End of the Unknown”, taking one of the more unique tracks of the original soundtrack and giving it a big makeover. The central melody is more lyrical here, bringing it out in a fresh way. Many elements of the original also just seem to translate more naturally here, making it an all around successful track.

The endgame tracks are largely good too. “The Tower” is a really great rendition, as its original oscillating synth is right at home in this chiptune setting. The spacious melody becomes an excellent contrast to it here, and even the percussion seems to work better for this track than in others. “The Sound of the End” similarly works well, as the strings pattern also sounds great in chiptune and contrasts strongly to the melody. The consistent intensity is also effective, feeling relentless and oppressive. The last track is “Weight of the World”, whose full track is not actually heard in the game. It has its own lighter charm that is very distinct from the emotional and heavy originals. The touch of having multiple “voices” on the chorus is nice, as is the vibrato they add to the main melody line, but I would have liked some variation on the second loop of the track, or perhaps some ornamentation on the main melody to make it more lyrical.

Summary

NieR:Automata Original Soundtrack Hacking Tracks is a nice bonus album to have, but it isn’t essential. The chiptune versions of the tracks are very straightforward for the most part, and as such fall short of the standards set by the emotional and dynamic originals. A couple manage to feel right at home in this format, and the arrangement for “End of the Unknown” is a reworking that is fresh and exciting. Some of the tracks might have worked better if they deviated more from their originals, particularly the slower tracks of the album. As a whole there is nothing bad here, since it is all based off of a great original soundtrack, but there is also nothing to feel bad about if you missed out on getting the album while it was available.

NieR:Automata Original Soundtrack Hacking Tracks Tien Hoang

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

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Posted on March 24, 2020 by Tien Hoang. Last modified on March 24, 2020.

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