Review Summary: I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite soundtrack on the Citadel.
Regardless of what the individual naysayers have to say, the Mass Effect franchise has reinvented the space opera genre of video games and stands apart in the RPG genre alone. The tales of Commander Shepard and his ragtag team have sent the gaming community into a frenzy of hype and anticipation so when the sequel to the critically praised game was finally released in early of 2010, game developer Bioware had an impossible task of creating a game that not only surpasses the original, but distinguish itself from the rest of every other role playing game out there.
Mass Effect 2 is the modern answer to the future of RPG gaming… there’s just no denying it. Garnering over thirty perfect reviews and being one the most critically praised games ever, the sequel acts not only as the natural progression from the original, but as the grim second chapter to the series as a whole. Jack Wall, the mind behind the music of the Mass Effect universe and other successfully praised games, is no stranger to creating scores and soundtracks that stun critics and audiences, this is fully felt on his award winning work with Myst, Jade Empire and the original Mass Effect game. But Mass Effect 2 stands as Wall’s magnum opus, his masterpiece of work that will stand the test of ages and be recognized as a classical work that few will ever be able to top.
Being cited as ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ of the gaming industry, Mass Effect 2 is the darker second chapter to the Mass Effect universe and Jack Wall makes this come alive in his composing abilities. His vibrant use of strings and horns, coupled with the heavily reverbed grand piano makes the soundtrack a bleak and grim affair to go through. Perfectly reciting the trials and turmoil’s of Commander Shepard and his group of companions, Wall has a no-holds-barred approach in making this soundtrack that is a perfect blend of science fiction exploration, grim apocalyptic piano interludes, and edge-of-your-seat string compositions that takes the listener on the journey of Shepard.
Atmospherics play a huge part in Jack Walls creation. Every track naturally ebbs and flows, with some featuring bass heavy opera-esque parts while simultaneously having the part naturally evolve into a dark electronic piece. The soundtrack itself carries a sense of desperation, hopelessness and a grim undertone that fits perfectly with the dark atmosphere of the game itself. One could go so far to say that the soundtrack alone is enough of a catharsis to have to fully experience the game in all its glory. It takes you on a journey that few, if any, other soundtracks can take you one. Composers from every genre and moviemaking will have to up their game from this point on to even be relevant when compared to this classic of a soundscape.
Jack Wall has had talent ever since his beginnings with the Myst franchise but it is only until now, in the early parts of 2010, that his natural ability of creating chilling soundscapes has finally reached its maximum. The Mass Effect 2 Original Soundtrack is a twenty seven track long, nearly two hours of shear genius that even the naysayers of the game itself cannot deny is a classic apart from all others. I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite soundtrack of all time.