I hope I am not the only one who has noticed a certain trend about games that are released alongside a new videogame console: they're almost always terrible. This has been especially true with RPGs.
From Software, the company that decided not to pay attention to this tried and true rule of game-making, put out two horribly mediocre RPGs when the PS2 first came to this entertainment-hungry world. One of them was Eternal Ring.
Fortunately for those of us who have learned to appreciate music outside of the context of the videogame, the fate of a game need not be the fate of a game's music as well. The Eternal Ring OST has been, for me, a re-awakening to the possibility of finding good music in bad games.
(Relevant side-note: Beyond the Beyond, another gruesomely bad RPG for PS1's early years, had a pretty good soundtrack).
"Solid" is the keyword to this OST. It contains enjoyable melodies and instrumentation on almost every track. Traces of impressionist music styles blend with a more contemporary flavor, and the result is generally pleasing. The synth quality, especially on voice and piano, are fairly reminiscent of some of my favorite OSTs: Alundra and Treasure Hunter G.
As if a full-length disc of OST wasn't enough, we are also treated to six bonus tracks, higher-quality MIDI arrangements of some of the game's best songs. The change isn't too vast (take a listen to tracks 1 and 28; the differences are slight), but I found that I enjoyed both original and arranged tracks quite a bit.
I do not know the context of these songs with the respective game, and I don't have any intention of ever doing so. The music stands well on its own, and it's a shame that it does not correspond to a higher quality game, or else the soundtrack may have been more well known. Considering this soundtrack's lack of popularity, it is somewhat hard to find through online stores, but that also means that you might be able to secure it for a fairly low price. Whatever the case, I hope you have taken away some of the same insight as myself from this soundtrack: sometimes we find beauty in the most unexpected places.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann