Jukebox Heroes: Six great ArcheAge tunes

    
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Jukebox Heroes: Six great ArcheAge tunes

ArcheAge is well-known for being one of the more beautiful MMO game worlds out there, but does its music stack up in comparison? The answer to that is a little yes and a little no. I got ahold of it several months ago, well before I was even paying attention to this game or its strong following. I felt that it was decent: pretty in spots, but short and not significantly better or worse than a lot of fantasy scores out there.

It’s certainly an Asian-style soundtrack with similarities to the Final Fantasy series and TERA. The score was composed by Music Director DaMeAte and reportedly garnered a few awards over in Korea. Good for it, I say! Let me present to you six of the best offerings from this album and let you make up your own mind as to whether they exceed or disappoint expectations.

“Ancient Forest”

If something could be labeled as a crossbreed of eastern and western sounds, this track would be it. The chimes, guitar twang, and exotic instruments that lead into the female vocals are at once at odds and oddly complementary to each other. As for the vocals, I’m not too keen on them, but I shall tolerate for the sake of peace.

Really, it’s hard to listen to this piece and not feel tensions unwind. It’s maybe not the best forest theme I’ve ever heard, but I like how it slowly moves from beauty to an eerie atmosphere with little bouts of whistling.

“Gweonid Forest”

How do you feel about vocal tracks in your MMOs? Some people really hate them, I’ve found, even though they’re far more prevelant in Asian titles. For those voting “dislike,” it’s usually due to the immersion-breaking that vocals can cause while going about one’s adventures. Soundtracks should enhance the adventure, not necessarily call attention to itself and, by doing that, point out how people are in a game.

I’m… OK with vocals, but they’re on a short leash with me. This track has a heavy youthful chorus overshadowing what I feel are far superior vocals. At least the voices aren’t too shrill.

“High Price of Victory”

This track starts out much like you’d expect, with the music weeping over fallen heroes with those militaristic horns. It’s actually pretty blah until it makes a surprising transition at the 40 second mark to a more upbeat, faster tempo section. The way I read it is that the first portion is mourning losses while the second celebrates the overall victory and honors those lost by saying that it wasn’t futile after all. It’s somewhat cliché all of the way through, but I like the beat of the second part enough that I wanted to include it.

“Izu”

What I like best about this piece is what sounds a little like steel drums that fade in and out among the ever-present choir. Wow, there is a whole heck of a lot of singing in this soundtrack. It’s pretty enough to listen to, but I’d like to know whether people playing this game get really distracted by it. It almost gets melodramatic in spots here, making me wish that I could toggle the voices off and just listen to that funky little ditty in the background.

“Village Theme 2”

Village themes are a steadfast favorite of mine, mostly because they strive to be cheerful and homey to convey the welcoming and safe atmosphere of those locations. This shamefully short but catchy track has a fun melody that’s like touring through the introduction of every comedy movie small town.

“White Forest 2”

Here a soulful flute is initially accompanied only by a minimalistic piano, but that backup fleshes out as the track goes on with drums, vocals, and other instruments. While the melody is quite simple, it’s the type that will get in your head — and you won’t mind it so much. It makes me think of victory music, which mystifies me as to why this would be a forest theme, but oh well. Good track. Justin like.

MMOs are meant to be heard as well as seen, and chances are that music ties your memories to these games more than you might realize. Every two weeks Jukebox Heroes listens through a game soundtrack and picks out the highlights to share and discuss. And if you like this column, then don’t miss the author’s MMO music podcast, Battle Bards!

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