For the past games in the Assassin's Creed franchise it was composer Jesper Kyd who was the musical voice behind the massively popular series. Kyd did an amazing job of crafting a supreme world and atmosphere for players to explore and play in. He made the Assassin's Creed games come alive and he truly did carry the games. However, with Assassin's Creed: Revelations the people at Ubisoft started to transition the equally amazing Lorne Balfe into the mix. The two split scoring duties and each tackled different parts of the game while never even meeting in person once. For Assassin's Creed III it was Lorne Balfe who took sole scoring duties and boy does he deliver.
Lorne Balfe has serious experience when it comes to big and emotionally charged music. His scores always have that grand feel but still manage to grab me emotionally. He is a very melodic composer and his scores truly stand on their own. This is definitely the case here. Assassin's Creed III is such a wonderful fusion of unique instrumentation and cultural textures all the while making you feel like you are on a grand journey. The music is an unbelievable mix of both middle eastern and colonial sounds. Of course everything is executed in a loud fashion that really keeps the excitement up. The entire score is not just pure action music either. Balfe is able to really inject character and story into this one; a rare feat for a video game score. So many games these days just want pounding music to go under the action, but Balfe is able to add so much more. The track "Connor's Life" is an excellent example of the emotional weight Balfe is capable of. The rest of the score is just top notch action. It never felt like I was listening to a video game score and the tracks had plenty of forward momentum to them. At no point did it feel like the music was running in place, which is common in game scores. Another great thing is that the action tracks never trip up between each other. Many games will have lots of action music that just all sounds the same. Lorne Balfe has always been able to craft tracks that aren't just variations of one another, and that gives the score more depth. In the end I was satisfied and entertained all the way through. Balfe starts us off exceptionally, plunges us into the world of the game and then back out to its sci-fi reality.
Lorne Balfe has found himself a nice niche in video games. With massive hits like Modern Warfare 2, Skylanders and now Assassin's Creed he is simply wowing with project after project. His strong voice is behind every score, but each score he's done has differed vastly. He just did the the film The Sweeney as well, which was another great Balfe score. Lorne has not only proven his amazing musical abilities through sound but through story as well. I've been listening to his work ever since he started working with Hans Zimmer and it's amazing to see how he's becoming such a presence in the scoring world. Can't wait to hear what's next!
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