Monday, 28 February 2011

VG Score Review - Shadow Of The Colossus: Roar Of The Earth (Ko Otani)

An Excellent Soundtrack... If you want an epic score that contains a technical genius not often found in the videogame industry.

Not So Much... If you yearn for strong thematic ties between tracks, with a large portion of the score taken over by repetitive action cues that do little to advance the main themes of the score.

This score hails from the Japanese Videogame Industry, and so is a fairly unique album, full of interesting instrumentation and melodic lines.
The concept of the Shadow Of The Colossus videogame is to search an absoutely huge wasteland for even huger beasts, or Colossi. Other than killing the Colossi, of which there are only sixteen, the rest of the game is spent riding on horseback exploring the wasteland as you see fit.
Because of the structure of the game itself, the score is fragmented into two halves. One half of the score consists of bombastic, epic and generally astounding battle music, to suit the size of the creatures that the protagonist is facing. Whilst these cues are thrilling on first listen, the scoring for the quieter moments in between each battle is what will keep you coming back. However, being a videogame soundtrack, each track lasts little more than a couple of minutes, and so the album jumps back and forth between quiet and LOUD and subdued and EAR-SHATTERINGLY LOUD!! a tad too abruptly.
Other than this, the score is near flawless. Whilst lacking in obvious John Williams-style themes, the atmosphere provided in the quieter cues is one that captures Wander's isolation superbly, with each track maintaining a deep melancholy that is rarely found in films, let alone videogames. This is most effectively conveyed in the tracks "Prologue: To The Ancient Land", "Prayer" and "Epilogue: Those Who Remain".
In conclusion though, it's pretty silly for me to be taunting you with this score, as it is quite difficult to get hold of. Having just checked on Amazon, the lowest price is in fact now £28.99, so it's really only for score enthusiasts. In fact, it may actually just be better to buy an old Playstation 2 and the game and get the whole experience, as Shadow Of Colossus was undoubtedly one of the (little-known) highlights of the console.

Rating: 9.0

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