game score

Soundtrack review: Dying light – The following (Pawel Blaszczak – 2016)

“Dying Light: The Following” is an expansion pack for the open-world first person survival horror game Dying Light. The game was developed by Techland, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 9, 2016. The expansion introduces new characters, a new story campaign, new weapons and gameplay mechanics. Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition includes this expansion, the original Dying Light game and all of the downloadable content released for the original game. The score for last year’s original game by Pawel Blaszczak ended in my top 10 scores of 2015 so there are high expectations for this one.

It must be a strange thing to say considering this is a zombie apocalypse survival story but I couldn’t wait to be back in that dark musical atmosphere. The opening cue “The following” is a sweet music box like tune, dark and dreamy, the kind that sits firmly in the center of my imaginary synth world. The original score was all about the dark synth and I am happy to see that “The following” stays within the same musical confines. The synth is my favorite instrument and sound so whenever a score is released that features it heavily I am a happy camper. Even if I need to fight hordes of zombies. I love the simple and dreamy melodies, I love the misty darkness and I adore getting lost in music like this.

If you want to know where the nostalgic sweet spot for me is, listen to “On the edge of light”; that is the kind of cue that moves me and helps me think, relax, dream…. the score is not at all aggressive. The atmosphere it sets is ominous and dark but for me also strangely comfortable. “Dying light: The following” is an exploration of a barren and unknown territory where danger lurks without jumping at me. The score is beautifully lonely and quiet.

During the second half the pace picks up as the danger grows. The music is still electronic and intense. “Lonesome” and “Brothers of the sun” are two such cues that only make the score more varied and exciting. Cues like “Negotiation fails”, “Inhuman”, “Faster” or “Horde” are the most alert from the score and make my pulse rise. The peacefulness of the first half which probably plays for the daytime play is replaced by a sense of urgency and fright for the night.

Think of this score as “The terminator” without the permanent threat of the metal machine. The enemy is quieter and slower half the time and this gives me as a listener space to reflect and even somehow enjoy the surroundings. Once I am accustomed to it the zombies invade the music as well and it’s time to run.

Pawel Blaszczak invites us on a beautiful retro trip that will satisfy all the fans of the genre. Atmospheric at its best, “Dying light: The following” will help the gaming experience and also provide a very enjoyable reflection companion. If you liked last year’s score of if you’re just a retro synth fan, grab this one. I will surely return to it.

Cue rating: 94 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 61 / 82

Album excellence: 74%

Highlights:

The Following

On the Edge of Light

Deserted Day (Bonus Track)

The Mother

Done (Bonus Track)

A Touch of Darkness

Solitary Day (Bonus Track)

A Breath of Inhumanity

Negotiation Failed

Necessary

Conclusion

Inhuman

Faster

Horde

Dormant day

Jasir

Water

What next

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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