game score

Soundtrack review: StarCraft II: Legacy of the void (2015)

legacy-of-the-void

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is a standalone expansion pack to the military science fiction real-time strategy game StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, and the third part of the StarCraft II trilogy developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The game was released on November 10, 2015. The expansion includes additional units and multiplayer changes from Heart of The Swarm, as well as a continuing campaign focusing on the Protoss race. The single-player campaign will feature an evenly amount of missions similar to Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm and will center around the Protoss character Artanis, hierarch of the Khalai Protoss. The campaign in Legacy of the Void will focus on the Protoss and conclude the events of the Starcraft II trilogy. The score is composed by Jason Hayes, Mike Patti, Neal Acree and Glenn Stafford.

I love game scores because unlike a movie score, the story they are written for could involve me as well. The gamer lives and breathes the game and the music will guide him, pick him up when he’s down, warn him or make him fret. It will always help me, as a listener; create my own imaginary world for it.

Jason Hayes is present on all tracks and the first time the music really touches me is right from the second track “Khala’s end”. The emotional outburst moves me and makes me want to live a moment like that, even as dramatic as it sounds. There’s love in the music and there’s a lot of regret. I can mirror my own feelings in the surface of this cue. And this is just the beginning. Is seems every cue from “StarCraft” tells its own story and challenges me to come up with my own. “Valor my shield” is a revelatory cue and I perceive it as if it was uncovering layer after layer from a complex and interesting story.

There are quieter moments as well. I wish cues like “Oblivion awaits” would appear on every score. The haunting female vocalization, the emotion that somehow makes me think of the music of the TV show “Spartacus”, the epic intensity of this theme, everything works and I care, I am involved, I want to help. Wow I really want to know where this cue appears in the gameplay. I can see this cue playing as the end credits of a very emotional story roll. Both here and in the magnificent “We stand ready” and “My path is set” I recognize Neal Acree’s magic. I feel he always goes a little extra and pushes to the cue to limits no other composer would touch.

I navigate the music of “StarCraft II – Legacy of the void” with the same passion and emotional connection as I would invest in the game. I want to know what happens next, I want to see the development and end of this musical story and I want to hear more game scores. This composition is the best advertisement for game music you could have. It stands on its own, it’s complex and it brings action, emotion, wonder and a rich listening experience. For me this is the kind of epic score that asks me to take a break after listening to it because it might hurt the next one. Great job!

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 59 / 59

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

The Stars Our Home

Khala’s End

Valor My Shield

Oblivion Awaits

Attack On Korhal

The Keystone

We Stand Ready

The Fall Of Shakuras

Blades Of Justice

Last Stand

The Preserver

My Path Is Set

The Golden Armada

The Dark Voice

Unity

Honor Guide Me

Second Chances

The Firstborn

The Spear Of Adun

Holding Up The Sky

My Life For Aiur

 

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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