The Assassin's Creed franchise just keeps growing and with each new game and add-on, we see a new composer tackle the same open world videogame formula. Not many game franchises have employed that many composers throughout their lifespan and while changing composers mostly ruins any sort of connections through musical themes, it does create a huge variety of scores for all the different settings of the games. The latest in this long line of composers is Bear McCreary with his score for Syndicate's latest DLC.
The common theme with Assassin's Creed expansions is to be darker than the main game, with Dead Kings last year and Jack The Ripper this year. McCreary's score is just that. A lot of menacing suspense and action with a handful of emotional bits scattered throughout. Where Syndicate (my single most favourite score of last year and probably ever) relied on stunningly beautiful orchestral tracks that really don't sound anything like a videogame score and more like an actual concert piece, Jack The Ripper goes a different way entirely. McCreary's "Theme From Assassin's Creed Syndicate: Jack The Ripper" (most complicated track title I have ever had to type in) starts off with as a slow, suspenseful theme before bursting into intense action relying heavily on percussion to create a loud and menacing experience. While not being as enjoyable as Austin Wintory's score to the main game, it gets its message across nicely. This is a dark and suspenseful game. Assassin's Creed scores can't seem to get by without at least a tiny amount of electronics, and McCreary's music is no different. Though a lot of the music is orchestral, throughout the incredible action piece "Evie Frye" some electronics burst through but never become too dominant. "Jack The Ripper" is the final action track and while not being quite as good as "Evie Frye", there is something noteworthy about the action tracks. Their length at 6 and 7 minutes. Most videogame tracks are only 2-3 minutes long as modern games like to dynamically change the ingame music depending on what the player is doing.
Overall, the album presents a memorable listening experience though it does not last long as you will get through the five tracks rather quickly. The action writing is stunningly intense, the suspense solid and the minor bursts of emotions do their job. Definiely worth a listen!
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