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Soundtrack review: FIFA 19 The journey: Champions (Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe – 2018)

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Soundtrack review: FIFA 19 The journey: Champions (Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe – 2018)

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“The Journey”, which debuted in FIFA 17, was the first of its kind. Powered by both user choice and actual match gameplay, the story driven mode focused on a single character’s career. Thanks to powerfully-rendered cinematics of the Frostbite™ engine on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC versions of the game, players follow Alex Hunter as he rises to the pinnacle of world football after taking the Premier League by storm. Continued in FIFA 18 with The Journey: Hunter Returns, players return to win the MLS Cup with the LA Galaxy before heading to Europe to lead Hunter’s club to a domestic league and cup double. Reaching its dramatic conclusion in FIFA 19 with The Journey: Champions, Hunter now joins Real Madrid in the dramatic finale to chase UEFA Champions League glory with his favored number 29 shirt. The previous score was written by Junkie XL who provided some pretty heroic moments, now it’s time for his friends Hans and Lorne to take a crack.

Well, expectations are high for this one because if Hans and Lorne cannot write epic heroic music, nobody can. Except their brand of heroism is different than the one that popular opinion usually demands; their heroic music is dark, synthetic, uncomfortable at times but I am a fan of that sound and the opening cue “Legacy” which sounds like an outtake from the “The dark knight” sessions is right up my alley. The thing with this game is that unlike other franchises, FIFA doesn’t rely that much on music, it doesn’t need music as much as, say, “World of Warcraft” or “Assassin’s Creed” do to enhance the game play. The music is lean, often simple and in the same time catchy; no bells and whistles as the composers go for the straightforward story mode, with guitar melancholy, inspirational female voices and the ever present and all time favorite of mine “Zimmer buildup” which I guess I can call “RCP buildup now”. You know the RCP sound and if you are a fan, like me, you’ll feel a bit of goose bumps at the way “Rising star” builds up; this is motivational trailer level music.

I think the score for “The journey: champions” is just what this particular game needed; taking into account the target audience of the game, the feel of a sports drama, this is what I wanted to hear: simple electronic melodies, surges of inspirational music, a collection of synthetic anthems that simply work. I found at least a couple of cues that I will try for my own running playlists. Hans and Lorne treat the main character and his story as they would any character they had to deal with, accompanying his highs, lows, triumphs and tribulations with that dark immersive sound that has been coming out of Remote Control Productions for 10 a decade now. If you don’t enjoy that particular sound you will not find anything in this score. I am a fan, so I welcomed gladly one more hour or Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe electronic music.

Cue rating: 78 / 100

Highlights:
Legacy
Rising Star
From The Bottom
A Bright Future

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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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