MP3: Assassin’s Creed III (2012)

November 21, 2012 | By

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Rating: Excellent

Label: Ubisoft Music/ Released: October 30, 2012

Tracks & Album Length: 25 tracks / (63:53)

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Special Notes: n/a.

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Composer: Lorne Balfe

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Review:

Set in & around the American Civil War, Lorne Balfe’s score for UBISOFT’s latest edition of the popular video game is a really attractive offering of styles, all built around a tempo that infers urgency – to either get from Point A to B, or carefully wade through a dangerous series of deadly obstacles.

Balfe’s score doesn’t really offer a fully developed theme, opting instead for a short phrase which is spun into a wide variety of styles and arrangements. “Welcome to Boston,” for example, has a seafaring style (in terms of instrumentation) and blends a bit of bell-chiming, slow-building chords reminiscent of vintage James Horner + the minimalist figures typical of Philip Glass (particularly the overlapping brass flares that close the clue). The follow-up cue, “Freedom Fighter,” continues in a more James Bondian design, with heavy percussion and churning strings, whereas a more elongated version of Balfe’s phrase – “A Bitter Truth” – features warm strings reminiscent of John Barry’s more pensive Bondian material.

There are some slight evocations of exiting Remote Control scores – a bit of Crysis 2 [M], echoes of Inception [M] – but the score’s most impressive aspects include a perfect balance between electronics and organic sounds, and really fine performance details. Rather than score scenes with repeated & extended cues and looped action material, Balfe mapped out each scene’s progression, shifting accents on specific instruments. The woodwinds, dulcimer, voices, and strings are warm and beautifully evocative of the era, albeit filtered through very modern sensibilities. The rich variety of material ensures the score stands on its own, lacking the fragmentation and abruptness of lesser works.

Note: UBISOFT has also released Winifred Phillips’ equally potent score for the splinter game Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation [M].

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© 2012 Mark R. Hasan

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External References:

IMDB Soundtrack Album Composer Filmography

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