Film scores

Soundtrack review: Quantum Break (Petri Alanko – 2016)

“Quantum Break” is an action-adventure science fiction third-person shooter video game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Studios, The game was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One on 5 April 2016. Directed by Sam Lake and Mikael Kasurinen, the game features Jack Joyce, the main protagonist, trying to stop Paul Serene, a close friend and Monarch Solutions CEO, from enforcing the End of Time after a failed time-machine experiment, which gives Jack time manipulation powers. The score was written by Petri Alanko.

It’s been such a great past couple of years for game scores that I can’t wait to discover another great one. Besides, time travel, time manipulation, two of my favorite topics. Or wishes? Anyway, let’s get to the music. I am happy that the beginning of the score is electronic orchestral, that rare breed between two favorite genres, dressing the warmth of orchestral music in a metallic shell. “Campus” blends them the best as the coldness takes charge for the next cues.

This is a game score and even more than in the case of film scores it shouldn’t be overwhelming and take the focus away from the on screen action. It should be part of the experience and somehow from the sound of it I imagine being inside a game simulator instead of in my room with a console in my hand. The music is very immersive and alternates quiet tension with metallic action. There are pieces that border with ambient music and I love imagining things during “Remote warning”.

Some cues are underwhelming and probably just atmosphere setting for different scenes. Others, like “Dodging bullets” are exciting electronic feasts even if this one goes more towards the DJ / clubbing side of electronic music. It works in small and exciting doses like this one. I feel the need to raise the volume for this one. It’s the most hardcore piece from the score.

“Quantum break” is not the type of score to shatter my world and make me want to listen to it over and over again. It sets a specific atmosphere and it’s an enjoyable and mostly cold electronic music album in which I found moments to connect with, especially the more ambient and ethereal ones. Being that I like electronic music a lot a cue like “Beth” is enough of a find from this album to satisfy me. That plus the quiet and beautiful final two cues are my favorite moments from “Quantum break”. What did you think of it?

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 22 / 49

Album excellence: 47%

Highlights:

Campus

Remote warning

Beth

Goodbye? Again

Doubt, despair, hope

A whisper

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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