Videogame Soundtrack Reviews:
Saints Row III, Kingdoms of Amalur- Reckoning, Red Orchestra 2, and Deus Ex
Part 4: Deus Ex
I was somewhat anticipating this soundtrack to be my favorite so I had decided to save the best for last. Of course that meant I would have the most trouble with it; as that is always how it goes with me.
It had a slightly rough transit which resulted in the tiniest of scratches on the disk. This insignificant blemish prevented the disk from playing in my CD player and loading on to my laptop to transfer to my mp3 player. My desktop uploaded the songs, but it has no speakers and because I haven’t upgraded to Windows 7 my iTunes has been behaving all wonky and kept popping up and ruining the transfer to my little $10 travel player. I tried cleaning the disk and went looking for my old Sony Diskman, but in the end the only places I could get to play the CD were in the car and on my DVD player. That wasn’t quite as convenient as the other soundtracks and I was left really hoping that it would be worth the trouble.
Of all the games I was probably the most familiar with the story, specs, and imagery from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. My friend Josh Finney is a comic book artist & author who, along with his wife Kat Rocha, created the super-badass series Titanium Rain; a story about war, human evolution, and the choices and consequences involved in altering/enhancing the body with mechanical prosthetics, Nano-bots, and wetware. Josh told me all about the trilogy and the comic book series that ran concurrently with Human Evolution by DC Comics. I even follow Elias Toufexis- the voice actor who plays the main character, Adam Jensen, on Twitter!
I liked the game’s socially-meaningful premise, along with its complexity and depth; giving different options for a player regarding how to handle a particular situation and how each choice changes the outcome and where the player goes from there seems like it would provide virtually endless possibilities. I was also excited about the setting and somewhat “sci-fi” aspect to the whole game, hoping that meant the soundtrack would be closer to the kinds of music that I enjoy.
I wasn’t disappointed- the Deus Ex: Human Revolution Original Soundtrack By Michael McCann was exactly as good as I was hoping it would be! From “Icarus” to “Endings” the entire album had me entranced and nodding my head. Admittedly a lot of the music could be classified as ambient with a few more fast-paced techno numbers mixed in. It actually reminded me a lot of the soundtrack that Daft Punk did for the movie Tron, only to be honest I prefer this CD to that one.
I liked the more dance-able songs with a faster beat to them the best. Among my favorites of those type were the main theme, “Icarus,” as well as “Opening Credits, The Hive, Hung Hua Brothel (Extended Cut),” and “Namir (Trailer Edit).” All of these had wonderfully varied and layered beats with haunting notes and occasional vocals or classical instruments that lent an eerie, almost supernatural quality to them. They are all quite beautiful and fun to listen to.
I was quite partial to the tracks “Barrett Boss Fight” for it’s more intense and aggressive sound, as well as to “Main Menu” and “Entering TYM” for its contrasting sound and effect compared to the first two. I love the use of stringed instruments in the mixing; I believe I heard at least a violin and a cello, a swell as the varied male and female vocals and chanting. On top of being nearly ethereal in its loveliness, all of it was used to great effect to add emotion and depth to the songs.
Mr. McCann is truly brilliant and without a doubt Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the best soundtrack out of the four that I have reviewed. Not only would I recommend buying this to my friends but I would also buy it for myself, as I have had it on repeat in the DVD player and I’m currently working very hard to find a way to load the whole thing into my iPod. It also makes me want to play the game now, which from a marketing standpoint is not such a bad thing.
A+, 10/10, 5 stars, thumbs up, or whatever you want to use to say CD = Happy.
01. Icarus – Main Theme
02. Opening Credits
03. Main Menu
04. First and Last
05. Detroit City Ambient (Part 1)
06. Detroit Marketplace
08. Barrett Boss Fight
10. Jewel of the Orient
11. Lower Hengsha Ambient (Part 1)
12. Singapore Ambient (Part 2)
13. After the Crash
14. The Hive
16. Hung Hua Brothel (Extended)
17. Everybody Lies
18. LIMB Clinic
21. Entering TYM
22. Return to Hengsha
23. And Away We Go
24. Namir (Trailer Edit)
All the music for Deus Ex: Human Revolution Original Soundtrack was written, produced, performed, mixed, and arranged by Michael McCann with additional arrangements on “The Hive” by Eric Arvisais and vocals provided by Andrea Revel & Ariel Engle. Additional mixing by Francois Arbour was done on the tracks “First and Last, Home, Jewel of The Orient, Penthouse,” and “Return To Hengsha” through GameOn Audio. It was produced by Square Enix Ltd. in association with Sumthing Else Music Works Distribution, ©2011.
And that concludes my series of game soundtrack reviews for the time being!
Next projects include a review issue #1 of Metal Magazine’s new comic The Four Horsemen and mourning the loss of The Walking Dead until next fall by getting around to writing my combo review of episodes 11 & 12 (the finale) and assembling a season 2 image gallery.
Until then my augmented friends,