game score

Soundtrack review: Anima Gate of memories (Damian Sanchez – 2016)

Sonotrigger - Anima - Gate of memories (Original Soundtrack) - cover
You don’t need to be a game music fan or even a gamer to enjoy “Anima: Gate of memories”; you only have to be a dreamer.

“Anima Gate of Memories” is a third person action RPG in which the player must explore a vast world filled with both dangers and wonders. The game is mostly focused on action, but as any good RPG, it will also have infiltration and puzzle content. In addition, while Gate of Memories is story driven, it does not force you to ride along rails from place to place. The notion is to give players freedom to explore a rich world and tackle obstacles in the order they want. These choices, even if you make “wrong decisions” or leave behind story points, will have a big impact on the progression of the game. The score was written by Damian Sanchez.

During this past couple of years there has been a tone of great game scores, epic or quiet and dreamy, retro or modern. Some of them were high profile; others have maybe gone undeservingly unnoticed. Because of this I’ve tried to listen to as many game scores as I can to be able to discover hidden gems. As I listen to “Rylen”, the opening theme from “Gate of memories” I congratulate myself for picking this one; the opening theme is perfectly dreamy and driven by an angelic voice. It reminds of one of the best three games scores I ever heard, “Elder scrolls online”. I know this mood will not stay but it charged me enough and I take the equally great action parts head on. I love choral presence in a score, be it movie or game and it seems this one has it galore. From “House of cards” like shrieking to incantations and whispers, “Anima” has it all.

I love to have an imaginary spirit guide as I explore new words…the presence of a voice, either strong or ghastly, serves as such a guide and I follow the thread throughout the score. The blending of voice and music make me realize I’m inside a fantasy world. I can so see myself playing this game and exploring the world brought to life by this music… if this were the score for a movie I’d be excited to watch and jealous for the characters; this is a game though and I can actually be part of the story. Damian Sanches wrote a score exactly the way I needed to expand my imagination, to make me dream, to make me join the fight and to involve me deep in whatever is going on. The deep quiet parts like “Graven” alternate with spectacular highs in action moments like “Monsters of memories”, “Puppet’s mansion”, “Harbinger of destruction” and many others. The journey of listening to the score is as fulfilling as hours of immersive gaming.

With a score like this any game would become ten times more exciting; once I enter this world I don’t want to leave it. There are no limits in the music as it is rich, addictive and it takes me over as if it was endless vines surrounding me. Both epic and emotional, this score is magic, a fairy tale you must not miss. It shows a maturity in composing I usually hear in seasoned game craftsmen like Austin Wintory, Neal Acree or Jeremy Soule. I think Damian Sanchez will soon get even bigger and more high profile projects to work on. He surely deserves it.

You don’t need to be a game music fan or even a gamer to enjoy “Anima: Gate of memories”; you only have to be a dreamer.

Cue rating: 95 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 56 / 72

Album excellence: 77%

Highlights:

Rylen

Struggle

The Forsaken Road

Monsters Of Memories

Arcane

In The Middle Of Nowhere

Puppet’s Mansion

Lands Of Folklore

The Dark Child Of Light

The Seasons Temple

The Trial

Graven

Pain

Ergo Mundus

Breach Of Worlds

The Savior

The Gate Of Memories

Nexus Of Conscience

The true monster

 

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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