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Review: Assassin’s Creed 3 Soundtrack


If a soundtrack could threaten, this would be it...

Assassin's Creed Soundtrack 3...

When you think of game soundtracks, there are a few games that personify its importance; most often driving games where radio can be heard (Need For Speed, Grand Theft Auto etc). So it is for this reason that when turning on an epic game like Assassin’s Creed 3, often the soundtrack can be taken for granted.  But deep down, we all know what we want to hear the whole time - not the ice cool musings of a gangster rapper, but 100% serious, apocalyptic ‘I’m going to cause some serious medieval carnage’ symphonies. It just sets the tone for the games lofty nature, much like how ‘Out of Touch’ by Hall & Oates really sets the tone for driving around the seedy, 1980s world of GTA: Vice City.

With all of this in mind, the latest in the Assassin’s Creed series has a soundtrack which doesn’t disappoint, managing to sport some pretty interesting track names along the way.  The main theme starts with some low, sinister strings, eventually bursting into a flurry of echoed drums and horns; a three minute long battle cry.  Track two, ‘An Uncertain Present’, is pretty aptly named, little soft stabbing synths leading into some very unnerving synths which wouldn’t be out of place in the tense scenes of a crime thriller.  As we arrive at track four we are faced with a track called ‘Welcome To Boston'; not exactly the Boston you would expect someone like Bruce Springsteen to be singing about at one of his trademark stadium rock gigs, but a more medieval, brooding Boston, where the only type of entertainment to take in would be a hanging.

This thankless tone is pretty much how the majority of the tracks can be summed up.  Each song feels like at any moment it could morph into a beastly, hooded warrior and slice you to pieces.  Largely, there are only slight changes to the feel of each song. Track seven, ‘Through The Frontier', invites the welcome addition of the strange wailings of a sort of old monk type fellow, which develop into quite demented screams.

There are two tracks on the album that tear up the very deathly script, as things cheer up for a few minutes. Track 17, 'Fight Club', has a very Irish feel to it; upbeat violins play the tune for a fight club that would make Michael Flatley a prouder leader than Brad Pitt. Remember: "Rule one of fight club is not to talk about fight club, but to bring it to life with some slightly homoerotic Riverdance impressions" - word for word right there. Perhaps Brad Pitt’s gypsy character in Snatch would be more suited.

Again, this vibe is replicated in the quite jovial track 20 ‘Beer and Friends.’  These two songs are the most fun you will be able to squeeze from the soundtrack; they are effectively the eye of the storm in terms of the rest.  Probably the most aggressive track of them all, ironically, is number 18 ‘Eye of the Storm.’  Various layers of high-pitched strings, violently stabbing over the top of some psychotic, echoing percussion.  This is a track that under no circumstances will take shit from anyone.

Overall, this soundtrack does exactly what you would expect it to; its serious and old fashioned like the time period it plays over.  As you work your way through Assassin’s Creed 3, you will probably overlook the songs a lot of the time, which is in many ways the biggest compliment it can receive.  Put it on at a party, however, and you will be left with a room filled with either terrified or fleeing guests.

4 stars


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