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Soundtrack Review

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Assassin's Creed III
The Tyranny of King Washington (Music from the Video Game)


Composer: Lorne Balfe
Ubisoft Music
Available 23 April 2013

Assassin's Creed III: Tyranny of King Washington is a 3-part DLC series exploring an alternate reality in which George Washington goes mad with unlimited power, foregoing Presidency to rule as tyrannical King. In this alternate world, Connor is and remains Ratonhnhaké:ton. Having never become an Assassin, he must endure new trials, acquiring the skills he'll need to take down a possessed Washington and win freedom for his land once and for all. Composer Lorne Balfe has produced an epic score to help Connor know when to duck, dive and fight...

I've been a huge fan of Lorne Balfe since I heard his score for the 2007 game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. For me, the music played an integral part of the campaign game play, helping to heighten the emotion. I've reviewed several of his scores lately and I'm always surprised at the man's diversity and raw talent. In fact, the only slight blip, for me, was his work for The Sweeney.

Balfe's score for the 3-part DLC add on for Assassin's Creed III is an impressive collection of tracks. The album contains 40 pieces of music and lasts for an impressive 1 hr, 38 min, 09 sec.

You'd think, considering this is a DLC, that the developers would just have recycled Balfe's impressive score for Assassin's Creed III, but no, instead they've commissioned a whole new body of music to accompany the game play.

What's great about this is that, without copying and pasting, Balfe has on occasion referenced his earlier score - but in a very subtle way. For example, the tracks 'Frozen' and 'You Must Succeed' revisit 'Through the Frontier', but they're given a whole new slant. In fact the only track that is instantly recognisable (for obvious reasons is 'Assassin's Creed III Main Theme (Wall of Sound Remix)' which is a slight reworking of the original theme.

I was also pleased to see Balfe appearing to pay homage to the late, great John Barry. Tracks 'The Tyrant' and 'Wolf In Sheep's Clothing' sound like they've stepped out of one of Barry's classic '80s James Bond scores.

I've listened to this over and over for about five days now, and I actually tried to find some fault with it - because it sounds too damn perfect. But I give up, there is no faulting this album. There isn't a dull track or wasted second of music. This is easily Balfe's most impressive game score to date.


Darren Rea

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