game score

Soundtrack review: Five worlds of Plarium (Jesper Kyd – 2015)

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Plarium is amongst Facebook’s most hardcore game developers. They create the games I keep seeing advertised on like “Sparta: War of empires” or “Stormfall: Age of war”. I am not a big gamer and anyway strategy games are not my thing, but they do provide great soundtracks. And when an iconic name like Jesper Kyd, the creator of the “Assassin’s Creed” sound, is attached, I am in. This compilation “Five worlds of Plarium” is a concept score album which features music from their most famous games. I usually don’t write about compilations but since it’s Kyd and a concept album, I’ll give it a go.

The opening is a pirate theme which reminds me a lot of the “Assassin’s Creed” series. “Tides of fortune” has the strings and stride to count as a decent theme for sailing the seas although it’s nothing I haven’t heard before. “Hellas” is more to my taste: a sweeping and evocative melody with some subtle instrumental inserts that make me think of Greece.

I have been spoiled with great game scores recently so I guess I am frowning when the music is normal. There’s nothing wrong with this selection of Jesper Kyd themes; it’s just that they are too gamey for me. This isn’t the kind of music to rouse and excite me when I listen to it out of context but it’s the perfect companion for someone to get lost with in the game world. That is the point of the music so I can’t complain.

The music seems scaled down to me. It could get epic but it doesn’t. It doesn’t come close to me and it doesn’t grab me. I have to wait until the final section of “Total domination” to finally feel something. That shows me how powerful the music could become if the composer would allow it. The music feels a little too generic and repetitive for my taste. Bits and pieces get me excited but they don’t last for very long. Luckily the Celtic longing in “Stormfall” suits the dark weather outside as I am writing this review and warms my heart.

“Five worlds of Plarium” will probably be a fest for Jesper Kyd fans. They know the sound and they will appreciate every note in this one. I am not sure how appealing this compilation will be for the casual listeners or for the neophytes. I am also sure than fans of the games will find something to relate to.

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About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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