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Soundtrack review: Assassin’s creed origins (Sarah Schachner – 2017)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: Assassin’s creed origins (Sarah Schachner – 2017)

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“Assassin’s Creed Origins” is an action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is the tenth major installment in the Assassin’s Creed series and the successor to 2015’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. It was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on October 27, 2017. The game is set in Ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic period and recounts the secret fictional history of real-world events. The story explores the origins of the centuries-long conflict between the Brotherhood of Assassins, who fight for peace by promoting liberty and The Order of the Ancients—forerunners to the Templar Order—who desire peace through the forceful imposition of order. Sarah Schachner wrote the score. I remember her previous AC score, “Unity” was not a favourite of mine but this franchise has seen some quite interesting scores.

Even if there were a lot of different composers coming together to create the “Assassin’s Creed” sound over the years am AC sound has come to surface with the light strings and the main theme from “Origins” is amongst the best I’ve heard as it’s already gripping and alert and even if the plot of this particular game is different I still feel like I am jumping on roofs in Florence as I listen to it. The cello provides the emotional depth of the action theme and the percussion inspires me. A main theme should be addictive and should make you want to listen to it over and over again and this one checks the boxes. My knowledge of ethnic string instruments is quite limited since there are so many of them but I bet the exciting and adrenaline pumping sounds I hear in “Return of the Medjay” are the Portuguese cavaquinhos that Antonio Pinto made popular for me with his scores. It’s the only string instrument I can think of that sounds both South American and African. Instruments in this score are the equivalent of weapons and as I talk about them the music keeps pulling me back in and making me pay attention to the gripping action cues that Sarah throws at us. Yeah this is an AC game score to be remembered as soloists keep playing the life out of those maddening strings.

There are not a lot of things I ask from an “Assassin’s Creed” game score; the plot and gameplay is so well known and so clear that I know just what I need to keep me hooked and immersed and motivated and there are few other sounds that get me as pumped up with adrenaline as the suffocating strings; a score like Henry Jackman’s “Captain Phillips” comes to mind as it was non stop frantic tension only done by strings. Sarah Schachner strips her music of anything unnecessary and the result is a lean, mean and simply captivating; whether the music is electronic or ethnical, whether the pace is fast or slower it all makes sense and as a standalone listening experience it ranks as my favourite from the entire franchise. I love it from beginning to end and I want to play the game now just to experience it in context.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 40 / 72

Album excellence: 56%

Highlights:
Assassin’s Creed Origins Main Theme
Return of the Medjay
Bayek of Siwa
Legions of Blood
Dead Kings and Living Gods
Born of the Sun
I Walk on Your Water
Nomads of the White Desert
Be My Eyes
The Cracked Wall
Apep’s Vengeance
The Last Medjay
Chthonic Invasion
The Hyena’s Fire
Moonlight on the Nile
Ezio’s Family (Origins Version)

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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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