Friday, March 2, 2012

Music Appreciation: Mass Effect 3

Music to save the galaxy by.

  With less than 4 days to go, and 4 weeks since I last wrote something, I figured now would be as good a time as any to bring back some music appreciation. This time, however, I wanted to bring something that hasn't been released yet, and since Mass Effect is about the only thing I can think of right now, I decided to dig around to see what I could find. As luck would have it, I found some pretty great stuff.
The soundtracks of Mass Effect are some of my favorite in games. They are brilliant, they are beautiful, and they are mature. The first Mass Effect took us to a soundscape reminiscent of 70's and 80's sci-fi's like Blade Runner, Terminator, and The Running Man. It was a world of music long since lost, but brought back in a gorgeous way. From the fluttery openning of The Citadel's Presidium to the triumphant climax of From the Wreckage, this game set itself as an homage to "the good ol' days" that inspired it, as well as something truly unique in video games, and really all media in the past decade. Jack Wall, Sam Hulick, and Richard Jacques really pulled this one off.
  Mass Effect 2 was a contentious title for a few people, myself included, at least at first. Eventually I came to the conclusion that it was a better game in almost every way, but it had it's share of problems and, perhaps worst, didn't feel quite as "Mass Effect." A large part of this, I think, was due to the soundtrack. That's not to say it's bad, because it's not. Any game would be happy to have this quality of a soundtrack. It just lost some of that 80's sci-fi feeling that I had fell in love with. I mean, yeah, there was still The Suicide MissionGarrus, and Mordin. But it seemed that the series had moved to broader, sweeping orchestral pieces rather than the more personal tones of the synthesizer. Oh well. The music in Afterlife pretty much made up for everything I might have been upset with. Here's a remix by the original composer, Jesse James Allen.
  The music of Mass Effect 2's DLC was composed by a different team, and was amazing in it's own right. It seemed to mix the love of the electronic with more of a Hans Zimmer approach to the broad themes. The combat theme to Overlord is one of my particular favorites, although something about The Shadow Broker battle just makes me stop everything I'm doing to sweep my hand with the music.
  The team behind Mass Effect's 1 and 2, sans Jack Wall, combined with the talents of the team behind the DLC are coming back for an all out soundtrack blitz for the final game. Much like everything I've gathered from the Demo, it seems like this game really is taking what the teams learned from Mass Effect 2 and about how they could make it feel like Mass Effect 1 again. The phrase "this is what Mass Effect 2 should have been" comes to mind, but should also be discarded because Mass Effect 2 had to be exactly what it was to get here. It's called evolution, and from what I've played and heard, this series is really finding it's natural order.
  I'm as spoiler free as I can with these links, even picking things with minimal spoiler titles. There shall be no "Death of Qui-gon" here, my friends, but I can't say for the suggested links afterwards. Just be forewarned.
  First, a slight diversion, because Zeus almighty I cannot stop listening to this song. It's the dance music to the clubs in The Citadel.
  Next, something you're likely to hear early on, it's the Character Creation music. The char-creation of Mass Effect 2 was a favored piece, so this one fits right at home in my heart. Because that's where I store my music.
  If you've played the demo, then you are already familiar with the theme to the Salarian Homeworld. This one reminds me a lot of the Mass Effect DLC, with the sweeping orchestral intertwined with electronic doodads. Have a listen!
  Here's something for the lovestruck spacefarers, the romance theme. This appears to only be a piece of it, but it gives you a good look at what you'll be hearing in your eventual boning sequences. Unless your Forever Alone Shepard.
  Do you have a favorite piece of Mass Effect music from the series? On a scale from "Very" to "Hnnggh" how excited for Mass Effect 3 are you? Posty your comments below!