January 23, 2012

Music Monday: Nier - Ashes of Dreams / New

Nier is one of those games I haven't gotten around to trying -- and perhaps never will, if I listen to the less-than-flattering reviews it's earned -- but it just looks so damned quirky and interesting that I'll always be curious about it. Supposedly, it's made up of interesting enough parts -- solid story and characters, varied level design, multiple endings -- but the whole experience overall is often agreed upon as being monotonous and not cohesive enough to warrant any recommendations.

It seems almost a shame, then, that such a dubious and overlooked title is blessed with such stellar music. Nier's soundtrack features beautifully-written themes and variations, and a refreshingly unique prominence of vocals -- the highlight of it all being the melancholic voice of singer Emi Evans.

One of the main themes, Ashes of Dreams, illustrates how impressively different the music is from what one might expect to hear in a video game. I'm not sure how this piece is used within the context of the game, but the tone seems far too ambiguous and arresting to be content hovering in the background. Emi's voice and annunciation demands one's full attention -- and I think if I were playing Nier and this song began playing, the rest of the game might have to take a back seat.

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