Mass Effect is probably one of the greatest examples of how video games can tell stories, develop characters and revolutionize interactivity. I think the only franchise to top it would be Metal Gear Solid. Characters in Mass Effect are always the priority, and with that you're gonna need some good music. Jack Wall was a huge part of this franchise and for unknown reasons was not part of this final installment. While this is clearly a team effort you can't ignore that Sam Hulick is the only composer to have worked on all 3 games. Lennertz, Velasco and Dikiciyan all contributed to DLC for Mass Effect 2 and now join this composer team for the epic conclusion. We also have Clint Mansell who was reported to be attached to this game a long time ago. His involvement though is incredibly minimal as the game launch got delayed and he had to depart due to other projects, but one can't deny that as a whole this scoring effort is fantastic.
Hulick keeps the style in check as Mansell's dreary opening gives the start of the game a cinematic flair. From there Hulick, Lennertz, Velasco and Dikiciyan run the show contributing amazing moments. It does seem that what Mansell did in his track set a groundwork. Does it sound like Inception? You bet, but I'm not going to complain about that. Some of the motifs in that track find themselves among the other composers' efforts. It creates an overall sense of cohesiveness and isn't choppy at all. Despite 5 unique voices being here we seem to have 1 unified style, which is rare for video games. I found the emotions to play very strong and in the game when a central character parishes I actually cared. Last time that I cared about a video game character dying was in Metal Gear Solid 4. As a longtime fan of Christopher Lennertz I really enjoyed his contributions; "A Future For The Krogan" is simply a stunning track. Video game vets Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan do an unbelievable job at crafting a large epic sound. All the while Sam Hulick keeps everything streamlined in pure Mass Effect style while adding some powerful emotion to it all. Clint Mansell can be heard for a second time in the ending as his signature piano finale rounds it out.
Mass Effect 3 is a really strong experience. I wish there was a stronger lead voice out of everyone involved though. If you look at Harry Gregson-Williams on Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and 4 and see how he worked with the other composers it truly made it a more concentrated experience. There are some rumors floating about concerning why Clint Mansell only shows up twice on this soundtrack, but don't let that distract you from the amazing job Sam, Christopher, Cris and Sascha did.
*This review is for the exclusive soundtrack that comes with the Collector's Edition.
*The artwork is not official