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Soundtrack review: X-com: Legacy (Adam Schneider, Chris D’Ambrosio, John Broomhall – 2018)

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Soundtrack review: X-com: Legacy (Adam Schneider, Chris D’Ambrosio, John Broomhall – 2018)

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“XCOM 2: War of the Chosen” is an expansion pack for the 2016 turn-based tactics video game XCOM 2. XCOM 2 is a turn-based tactics video game. The War of the Chosen expansion makes changes to XCOM 2’s campaign structure and adds new enemies, new hero characters, modifiers, and more behaviors for characters. An add on for the game called “Tactical Legacy Pack” was released in October 9, 2018. It features a series of missions set between the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2, new items, new maps and the option to play the game using either the original XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s soundtrack or an all-new soundtrack based on X-COM: UFO Defense, the first game of the original X-COM series. The music for this expansion was written by Adam Schneider, Chris D’Ambrosio, John Broomhall.

As soon as this score starts I go in full nostalgic lock down: it’s synth wave, the quintessential electronic ambient genre of the most wonderful decade of them all, the 80s. It is my favorite musical place to visit, no matter the ramifications or subtleties within the genre. I grew up on this sound and since for me nostalgia is what weighs the heaviest in the enjoyment of a score be it for movie,game or TV, I am all in. Since this is a game score, the immersive feeling is even greater and while I am not a gamer I feel invited to play this particular game because I could get involved and actually enjoy this music while doing something, while being part of the story.

The synth wave genre has known a revival in the past few years with more and more bands bringing back this sound and this trend has fortunately spilled into film and game music as well. Synth wave is one of the genres that doesn’t know boundaries and for me the enjoyment of an album has nothing to do with what it was written for. This could be a solo Adam Schneider album or this game score it makes no different for me, what I experience while listening to the music doesn’t change.

The score for “X Com: legacy” joins the retro synth ocean of recent years and also gives me the Sci-fi sound fix I am often looking for. The music isn’t just ambient or reflective, there’s awesome 80s electronic action as well like in “Intercept” which echoes back to so many movies I watched growing up. It’s that awesome mix of electronics and rock. With three composers on board the music is varied enough to please fans of different sub genres so whether your poison is the quiet menace of the Terminator sound or the busier more eclectic action sound, you’ll find something to enjoy here. From cold to melodic, the range of this album is enough to make me recommend it for all electronic and synth music fans.

Cue rating: 83 / 100

Highlights:
UFO Defense
Intercept
Retaliation
Alien Base Assault
Mission Accomplished

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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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