Tales of Destiny 2 PSP Version Premium Soundtrack
Tales of Destiny 2 PSP Version Premium Soundtrack
February 15, 2007
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A pre-order bonus with the PlayStation 2 remake of Tales of Destiny was a collection of arranged music from the first four main Tales titles. It’s inevitable follow-up came a few months later in the Peach Gumi Dramatic DVD packaged as a pre-order bonus with the PSP version of Tales of Destiny 2. This time it features music from three more recent games in the Tales series — Symphonia, Rebirth, and Abyss, but not Tempest — resulting in only nine arranged tracks being created in total. The album is also closer overall to what might be expected from a promotional album and considerably less impressive than its predecessor. Nevertheless, it’s hardly a half-hearted effort and deserves a closer look.
The album opens with two much-loved Abyss battle themes arranged in Sakuraba’s classic progressive rock style. “Wing of Hope” stays close to the original in terms of melody and structure, but makes considerable refinements in terms of instrumentation. The timbral contrasts of the airy sprawling arpeggios, distorted guitar riffs, and light orchestral melodies are excellently done and the late appearance of Sakuraba’s dissonant piano work adds to the richness. “The Arrow Was Shot” misleads with a slow atmospheric piano-based introduction, but soon erupts into a frenzied jam dominated by heavy rock organ work. The development section is the best feature of the arrangement, introduced with dissonant organ and piano work before transitioning into a fascinating solo. It’s pretty different to the opening arrangement on the Tales of Series Battle Tracks but potentially just as fulfilling. Symphonia’s “The End of a Thought” is given far more colour than the original here with its bass punctuation, use of distortion, and exuberant solos. From 0:56, orchestral forces are introduced to the theme, which adds to the driving anthemic sound.
The focus of the album is principally on action themes, but not all adopt a progressive rock style. Rebirth’s “Guidance of of the Moon” takes a slow-building atmospheric route with orchestral forces and threatening sound effects emanating above repeated ‘cello and brass punctuations. During the second minute, the arrangements becomes highly motivating and coloured with all sorts of orchestral and choral flourishes. Symphonia’s “Eternal Oath” also takes a two-tiered approach, opening with a serene orchestration and transitioning into a dramatic action theme. The action section is incredible, mixing moody electronic beats, string melodies, choir chants, and rock organ solos, but isn’t quite long enough to be entirely fulfilling. Rebirth’s “Icy Edge” features Sakuraba’s characteristic triumphant sound with bold string and brass melodies and a driving basso ostinato. The arrangement is a bit linear and one-dimensional, staying closer to the original than most other pieces on the collection. It nevertheless adds to the colour of the album so is a welcome addition.
Moving towards the conclusion of the album, Rebirth’s “The Edge of an Oath” is treated in Sakuraba’s progressive rock style once more. The rock organ is used for most of the melodies, harmonies, and solos alike here, creating a rather distinctive and nostalgic sound. This is another arrangement that lacks exuberance or originality, but it remains rather enjoyable nonetheless. The penultimate track, Abyss’ “Happiness in My Hand”, is the only piece on the album without any action sections. Its fragile piano melodies and warm woodwind use will inspire comparisons with his work on Eternal Sonata; especially evocative moments are the sudden flute solo from 1:57 and the addition of ethnic choir and instruments in the concluding passages. The album concludes with another classic Tales battle theme, Symphonia’s “Last Battle ~Decision~”. This arrangement combines orchestral, choral, rock, and electronic elements to create the type of atmosphere one would expect from a coda. The focus on the strong original melody adds to the sentimental sound. A pleasing way to finish.
The Tales of Destiny 2 PSP Version Premium Soundtrack is a less exuberant than its predecessor. The focus on action themes, close adherence to the originals, and smaller amount of material overall means that the album isn’t as diverse or creative. Nevertheless, all the arrangements enhance the originals in an enjoyable way and there are a few spectacular efforts. Perhaps Sakuraba was aware that commercial Tales arranged albums were on the horizon and restrained his efforts here in preparation. This album is a pretty impressive pre-order bonus nevertheless and about what one would expect from such a release — enjoyable but not ground-breaking. While less recommended than other Tales arranged albums, this is still a worthwhile listen.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.