While I never really got into Drakengard, NieR has made me a fan of the universe forever. I actually enjoyed the music from the first two Drakengard titles despite not having played them at length, so when Drag-On Chips Music was announced to commemorate ten years of the franchise, I had to have it.
So, how does the chopped up classical soundtrack to Drag-On Dragoon crossover into the 8-bit universe? And is NieR as beautiful in wave form? Find out below.
As for how the original Drag-On Dragoon soundtrack sounds in 8-bit format, I’ll say “faithful.” The original soundtrack, while incredibly interesting, was difficult to listen to given the downright harshness of the sounds produced with sampled bits from classical pieces. Although the album isn’t true to 8-bit limitations in terms of channels and even sounds (especially in the percussion department), I’d say the tracks here are impressively recreated and retain their unsettling nature, and fans will be pleased to know that the decisive “Exhausted” is featured. Drag-On Dragoon 2 took a more melodic approach, with the regal “Fate,” the dark fantasy “Plains of Pity,” the ultra-catchy “Moaning Waterways,” and the beautiful pop ballad “Hitori” (my favorite track from the first two games) standing out.
The material from NieR is what I was here for, though. The haunting opening to “Snow in Summer” gives way to guttural percussion and bass with a chip choir that is simply amazing. The simplicity of “City of Commerce” is enchanting, while the adventurous take on “Song of the Ancients” gives it a whole new dimension, almost sounding like a field theme. “Dark Lord” sports an appropriately eerie lead, while “Ashes of Dreams” is dreamy and gorgeous, staying subtle yet sweeping.
There’s a bonus piano version of “Exhausted” as well as a history DVD included in the package that contains trailers and commercial spots for each game in the franchise as well as a neat little 8-bit demake of the introduction from the original Drag-On Dragoon with the corresponding 8-bit music which is a nice touch.
I love this album. It’s a worthy addition to any collection of a fan of the original themes. Unfortunately it’s only available with the limited edition 10th anniversary box, which has sold out at multiple retailers. Still, if you can get your hands on it, it’s quite good, although I could go for a NieR Chips Music album alone!