Thanks to our resident JRPG columnist Jason Schreier, I have been playing The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky on my Vita. (When I'm not playing Persona 3 Portable that is.)
Have you played this game? I'm thinking the answer to that may well be "no," but if you're a Vita owner looking to bulk up your PSP JRPG collection (and if you're a Vita owner, you should be doing this), allow me to recommend it. It's a bright, fun game and it has a really funny script thanks to some fantastic localization by XSEED.
It's also got a monster of a soundtrack. Composed by Hayato Sonoda, Wataru Ishibashi, and Takahide Murayama, the music is at once very jazzy and oddly straightlaced. The chord progressions are often more vanilla than the comparatively lush harmonies you'd hear in a game a Final Fantasy game.
But the TitS soundtrack (sorry, had to call it that at least once in this article) has its own vibe, and it's ac ool one. In particular, I love the battle music, which plays above. Titled "Sophisticated Fight," it's a quasi-latin jazz boogaloo broken up by open, building sections that remind me of nothing so much as Pat Metheny Group.
I was amazed by this version of the song created entirely in Mario Paint, because come on! Who does these things! It's remarkably close to the original version:
Speaking of songs from this game that leave me with a big stupid grin on my face, this one, awesomely titled "Target Vanquished," is another favorite. It's the victory music that plays after each battle, and it is so damned triumphant, I just… the snare drum! The brass! I want this to play every time I walk into my apartment.
And hey, while we're here, here's a fun track by Pat Metheny Group called "First Circle." They're so smooth, but it's some of the most burning smooth jazz ever made. Love this tune.