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Crysis 2 by Borislav Slavov, Tilman Sillescu, Hans Zimmer & Lorne Balfe [Main Themes By Hans Zimmer] (Review)

posted Apr 27, 2011, 6:07 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Apr 27, 2011, 6:59 PM ]

Crysis has always been regarded as one of the best shooters on the market so when Crysis 2 was to hit consoles it wasn't without great anticipation. The first game was scored by the great Inon Zur. For this outing Borislav Slavov has the role of the main composer as well as music director director. The score is also co-composed by Tilman Sillescu. However, I bet a certain German composer is the one drawing all the attention to this score. Fact of the matter here is that Hans came onto the project very late into production just out of pure admiration of the game and what Crytek was doing. What he was able to offer was a certain cinematic branding quality with his theme. Lorne Balfe also helped out in Hans' minimal involvement. Out of the 46 tracks on this 2-disc set Hans and Lorne composed 6. So the meat of this score is from Borislav and Tilman.

What does this score offer? A lot. When it comes to first person shooters scoring can be extremely tricky because in most cases the main character doesn't speak so any emotional interaction from the player usually is evoked by the setting, sound effects and of course score. Yes, most shooters try to have a plot but only a very few have been successful in crafting characters and a story that the players actually care about. Games like Call Of Duty and Killzone 3 have terrible plots and are all about the experience, while now and then games like Halo, Bioshock, and Half Life show us something different. Crysis 2 falls in the first group I'm afraid to say. The game is EXTREMELY overhyped for being a very standard shooter. But it's the visuals, sound and score that make it a worthy experience. The score here is quite good.

The thing about Crysis 2 is that it's not a linear game, well not entirely. One of the drawing points is the ability to choose your infiltration strategy. You are never bound to a single path and this is where the music works. The music helps make your decision as a gamer feel scripted. Whatever you decide to do whether it's shoot everything or sneak in undetected, the music will follow your choice. You will feel embedded in the environments and certain situations become tense because of the score. The music has an incredibly grand scope and it makes your journey feel immense. The composers really crafted their own sound and their own universe. The textures used are amazing and make the music feel organic even though heavy electronics are used. You are always able to pick out individual sounds. The brass section gives it an immensity that is indescribable. The use of a solo violin helps accent certain tracks and becomes a noticeable trait of the score even in Hans' themes. The music can get a bit "loopy" at times meaning certain tracks do fall into background tracks. So in the game if you're taking your time to do something the music may feel like a record stuck on a loop. Then again it is a video game and that is expected especially when major areas offer players multiple paths. Also when you compare this to other game soundtracks the looping is actually quite minimal. The way the music is presented on this 2-disc release you actually feel progression as the story is being told. You rarely feel like you are running in place. All of that makes this score extremely good.

So, Crysis 2 offers up an excellent blockbuster score that is anchored by Hans' extremely awesome theme. All of the composers involved should be proud because they were able to offer up something that went beyond background scoring. The music crafts a unique universe that makes it undoubtedly Crysis 2. While Hans' involvement was minimal I do feel that without his thematic expertise the score could have been left without a defining quality and thankfully he was able to offer it. The end result is one of the best first person shooter scores composed. Borislav Slavov and Tilman Sillescu's instrumentation gives the music such a grand weight that after your first listen you will definitely feel the impact of the music.

Note: This is a review for La-La Land Records' 2-Disc release of the score, not the EA Games digital release which is significantly less music. This release is HIGHLY recommended over the digital.

Listen to FMM's Exclusive Interview with Lorne Balfe who discusses working on Crysis 2: Click Here