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Gears Of War 4 by Ramin Djawadi (Review)

posted Nov 4, 2016, 4:14 PM by Kaya Savas

Gears Of War has proven to be one of the few XBOX franchise exclusives that has managed to last and keep delivering the goods for players. It’s also a game franchise that has gotten some fantastically entertaining music composed for it. Veteran game composer Kevin Riepl kicked the franchise off in a great direction, but like all video games recently, the developers want an epic cinematic sound. In the 90’s it was the other way around, you had composers like Michael Giacchino getting their start in video games and then using it as a launching pad into film and TV. Today it’s TV and game composers who graduate to game composing as video games have evolved into an equally quality medium for storytelling that allows composers a unique and open canvas.

Steve Jablonsky took over the franchise at the height of Transformers’ popularity to give Gears Of War a gritty scope, and he successfully did that with his scores for the second and third games. The one misfire was Gears Of War: Judgement, a score co-composed by Steve Jablonsky and Jacob Shea that never quite found its voice. With the fourth installment we have a new composer and a new voice to the franchise as Ramin Djawadi takes over the reigns and delivers a score that embraces the orchestral sound more-so for a score that aims to build the characters instead of just the action.

Gears Of War 4 is a surprisingly fresh and propulsive action game score. Djawadi brings his signature sound to the series with a new theme and an overall feel that makes the music have more gravitas. Jablonsky’s scores were definitely adrenaline-based and meant to add scope as well. Djawadi’s action builds feel a bit more robust and the score isn't afraid of being melodic. Since the Gears Of War games aren’t really well-known for their story-telling, you’ll find the score is about 95% action gameplay music, with a touch of more plot and character based scoring. And yes, that is the typical makeup of a cover-based shooter, but equate the storytelling and role of music in games like Uncharted or Last Of Us. Djawadi’s music does a great job of keeping things moving, and he definitely uses instruments and electronics in some cool ways. The score is structured with a short opening and finale with a bulk of gameplay music in the middle, and all together it’s a great score from Ramin.

It’s great seeing Ramin return to gaming after successful scores to Medal Of Honor, Medal Of Honor: Warfighter and Shift 2 Unleashed. Gears Of War 4 continues the tradition of scope and propulsive action to the series but this time Ramin makes the score feel more organic, even though he still utilizes electronics a good bit here. If you’re looking for a some great action gameplay music in that Djawadi style, Gears Of War 4 should satisfy very nicely.