- Review by Leo Mayr - 6/7/18
Bear McCreary never seems to rest. Besides scoring countless TV shows and several movies, somehow now he has found the time to compose the score for the new God Of War videogame. While McCreary is no stranger to videogames, his efforts here managed to exceed any expectations I could have had.
Starting with the phenomenal main theme, McCreary instantly captures the tone of the game perfectly. The theme is a loud and aggressive, yet also deeply emotional piece that perfectly represents the aged Kratos. While musically, the theme isn't overly complex, it's memorable enough to stick with you right away, making you wish you were playing the game every time it pops into your head.
Throughout the game, the theme pops up every now and then, creating some truly special moments of storytelling that are not as common in interactive media as they should be. Something as simple as turning the camera to reveal Kratos standing there is made memorable just by having the opening to that theme played once.
McCreary's score is mostly orchestral, with a few touches of Norse culture and a stunning choir to create quite a unique soundscape for the game. Yet you can almost always recognize McCreary's own style in the music.
As it's a God Of War game, there's a lot of punching things into bits, and the action music is right on point. The music is loud and intense, always pushing you further and keeping you on the edge of your seat. For a videogame score it's unusually well structured, and can end up feeling more 'cinematic'. There's more than a few lengthy tracks on the album that do a great job at showing off the score.
The game contains a surprising amount of emotional depth, and McCreary's score is equally impressive. While it's easy to overlook the calmer, more personal moments amidst all the mayhem and carnage, the score does a great job at tying the journey together and making you relate to the characters. "Salvation" for example is a truly stunning piece, and at nearly 7-minutes it's quite unusual to find it in a big budget action game called God Of War.
The game was designed as one single take, so the camera never cuts. In that same way, there are few moments where the score feels like it was patched together, instead the music is dynamically adapting to whatever is happening on screen with few noticeable cuts.
God Of War is a stunning videogame score that reminds us how well musical storytelling can work even in a triple-A title like this. In a flood of open-world sandboxes, the more linear games that focus on story over large playgrounds also tend to allow more developed musical storytelling. While it's not unusual to see fantastic scores in smaller projects, having a game of this scale use its score to the fullest potential is something you don't want to miss.