Valkyria Chronicles III Original Soundtrack

Valkyria Chronicles III Original Soundtrack Album Title:
Valkyria Chronicles III Original Soundtrack
Record Label:
Basiscape Records
Catalog No.:
Release Date:
February 23, 2011
Buy at CDJapan


An early success of the PS3 era, the first Valkyria Chronicles was scored by Hitoshi Sakimoto, in an increasingly rare solo effort. A sequel followed for the PSP, and now another, both scored by Sakimoto. This soundtrack release includes additional guitar arrangements of music from the series.


Sakimoto reveals himself yet again as a master of orchestration and thematic manipulation. Ideas form and collapse before our ears, and joy can melt into sadness or repose in an instant. The orchestration is so perfected, its effects so natural, that one can too easily take it for granted. Take, for example, the opening moments of the main theme: a trumpet call reminiscent of John Williams leads into a flamenco inspired guitar passage, which segues into a march. The tone varies between triumphant and striving. It is very effective, and its construction much more natural than the above implies, but unfortunately it lacks freshness, feeling too close to its inspiration.

“In Search of the Next Battle” introduces an important secondary thematic element, of a similar style to the main theme. The track’s underlying bassline, however, is straight out of Vagrant Story, and despite the excellence of the orchestration (the entrance of the piano, doubled quietly by strings and synth, is a highlight), it feels underdeveloped. The same theme reappears in “As a Squad,” where it is used as a prelude to the main theme, and in “‘The Nameless’, Takeoff!”.

The action themes, such as “Seesawing” and “Crow of Disaster,” are well executed but not given enough time to develop and gain momentum before they are looped. Part of “Dark Hero” sounds more akin to Hans Zimmer than Sakimoto, and the only interesting part of “Final Decisive Battle” is the appearance of the main theme partway through. The rest contains cymbal crash after cymbal crash, sometimes doubled with anvil, and as the mix is very muddy, it ends up just sounding like noise.

Some of the soundtrack’s better moments feature interesting instruments or combinations rather than a standard orchestral palette. Despite its short length, “The Looming Sound of Ammunition Boots” makes a stronger impression as a tension theme of a very different color, combining gamelan and slap bass with orchestra. The exotic sound of the gamelan makes another appearance in “Fear and Guts,” weaving subtly in and out of the texture. “OPEN FIRE!” features acoustic guitar and synth pads, and although it sticks out, it does so in a good way. In the first section of “We Are ‘The Nameless’,” a lively fiddle tune dissolves into a melancholy interlude.

After a triumphal reprise of the main theme in “Unnamed Heroes” comes a guitar arrangement of the main theme in “Together with a Little Fortune.” This leads into the bonus tracks of the album, arrangements of pieces from the previous two games in the series by various Basiscape composers. It’s surprising, if gratifying to hear how well these orchestral pieces work in arrangement for guitar, and all four of these tracks are well arranged and performed. I would single out “Theme of Valkyria ~Guitar ver.~” as my favorite, though, as it builds wonderfully throughout.


Sakimoto’s best scores, Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy XII, were solid throughout. Every piece, it seemed, was a part of the greater whole. Since he formed the Basiscape team and began focusing on producing scores in addition to composing them, Sakimoto has perhaps not had the chance to produce another such masterpiece. Unfortunately, while it contains a number of highlights, including its well-executed bonus tracks, the Valkyria Chronicles III soundtrack falls far short of Sakimoto’s best work.

Valkyria Chronicles III Original Soundtrack Ben Schweitzer

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


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Ben Schweitzer. Last modified on August 1, 2012.

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