Michael McCann
Deus Ex: Human Revolution


4.5
superb

Review

by MO USER (7 Reviews)
July 26th, 2012 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A brilliant video game soundtrack 3 years in the making

Deus Ex Human Revolution (DE:HR for short) is a cyberpunk game focusing on the enhancement of the human body through futuristic mechanical augmentations. It follows a security officer who suffers extreme injuries and must be implanted with these augmentations in order to stay alive; in essence making him go from being completely flesh and bone to a shadow of his former self. This is the central theme throughout the game which revolves around the debate of whether or not human experimentation (essentially altering our bodies to make them faster, stronger, etc) is right or wrong and the struggle within the protagonist over his own beliefs on the idea. While charting a course for DE:HR’s soundtrack, composer Michael McCann made sure to keep this central theme at the heart of the score and as a result has created one of the most memorable and dense video game soundtracks to ever brace the ears of a gamer.

The game is set as a prequel to the acclaimed 2000 release Deus Ex taking place a generation earlier. It is set in the beginnings of world-wide corporate mechanical augmentation where there are still strong feelings against it as well as shadow governments/agencies conspiring to make the science a reality. These two sides of the story are represented by two main musical elements in the soundtrack: electronic and acoustic. The electronic element rightfully represents the new world of augmentations and mechanics which most of the humans are driving towards; while the acoustic elements of the music represent the side against these developments and those for keeping the human body the way it is. This presents a rift where the two sides are always at battle; both within the gameplay and story, as well as the music itself through the combination electronic sections often with human voices or string instruments layered overtop.

This is immediately emphasized in the beginning of the soundtrack with the song “Icarus” as it begins with the vocal chanting of a woman who slowly starts being overtaken by a synth beat. The reemergence of the vocals and chord changes catch up with the synth and the fight continues until the end of the song. As the first track it sets the stage perfectly and helps introduce listeners to the strong atmosphere and mood of the game. McCann has cited Massive Attack and Aphex Twin as his biggest influences when coming up for the tracks for this OST. It shows right off this first track as “Icarus” bears resemblances to Aphex Twin’s tune “Xtal” through the use of female vocals over an electronic beat. The battle continues through the soundtrack as there are tracks which feature all out electronics such as “Barrett Boss Battle” and others sporting an organic feel such as “Endings”. The organic side of the mix is very dark and haunting, almost dragging behind it a sense of desperation as if foreshadowing what’s to become of the world in its eyes.

In the end the DE:HR soundtrack is one of the most brilliant soundtracks for a video game I’ve heard in a long time. The idea of focusing more on atmosphere and mood than melody is perfect, as one does not want to get too swept up and distracted by the music while gaming; however wants the music to help enhance and bring the full experience of the game to life. The hard hitting beats similar to influences such as Massive Attack, combined with the 30-piece instrumental sections and vocals make for a perfect duality. It’s being able to capture and perfectly combine this duality in the most subtle, yet effective ways that makes this the quintessential video game soundtrack of 2011.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
MO
July 26th 2012


18755 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

originally posted at http://www.sputnikmusic.com

got taylormeme'd

Xenophanes
Emeritus
July 26th 2012


10594 Comments


Double post drat

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

Xenophanes
Emeritus
July 26th 2012


10594 Comments


Rented this from redbox, played it for an hour, then forgot to return it for 4 days.


That was my experience with this game.

KILL
July 26th 2012


71856 Comments


nice review dude, loved the original deus ex but never bought this, played it but damn yea i gota get

Digging: A Guy Called Gerald - Black Secret Technology

MO
July 26th 2012


18755 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ahhh eli man I loved the game, my goty 2011 no doubt. such a great foreshadowing of whats to come, so good

Satellite
July 26th 2012


20818 Comments


yeah either this, arkham city, skyrim or portal 2. can't decide.

one of the best soundtracks ever.

blastOFFitsPARTYtime
July 26th 2012


1477 Comments


Nice. Game and soundtrack both rule.

iambandersnatch
July 26th 2012


1481 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

As mentioned the soundtrack is way less in-your-face than the original deus ex music, but both are great. Some really good ambient shyte, is very cohesive as well.

Acanthus
July 26th 2012


9543 Comments


Still need to beat the game, the track listing is longer than the version I have; damn extended editions.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

iambandersnatch
July 26th 2012


1481 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Someone had a review of this under "Soundtrack" which is now gone? Why didn't it get moved with the album? Tsk tsk mods

Satellite
July 26th 2012


20818 Comments


just decided i'm gonna listen to this and walk around detroit at night. might even do a stealth takedown or two. wish me luck!

blastOFFitsPARTYtime
July 26th 2012


1477 Comments


Good night and good luck.

taylormemer
July 26th 2012


4917 Comments


Good work bro. ;)

TheNotrap
July 26th 2012


8108 Comments


Nice work man, have a video pos.

Digging: Threshold - For The Journey

MrElmo
July 26th 2012


1955 Comments


Awesome game and soundtrack, it's good to see "smart games" like bioshock, deus ex, the witcher or pretty much any bioware rpg. Anyone knows if another deus ex will come?

ZedO
July 26th 2012


1096 Comments


great review, MO, will check this out..

MO
July 26th 2012


18755 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Someone had a review of this under "Soundtrack" which is now gone? Why didn't it get moved with the album?"

yea that was mine it got accidentally deleted but it's all good cause taylor's the man

"the track listing is longer than the version I have; damn extended editions."

yea if you go on youtube you can find something like 75 sections it's pretty odd

also thanks all


Shuyin
July 26th 2012


11703 Comments


sounds pretty sick, good review.

Digging: Django Reinhardt - Djangology

Ayashi
July 26th 2012


267 Comments


I played through this game twice, the second time was without killing anyone. Great game, if a bit repetitive! Don't remember the music much

Evreaia
July 26th 2012


4043 Comments


Bought this game a while ago (just don't have the time to play it).. All I remember doing was trying to get that damn basketball in the loop. After 20 minutes I noticed some barrels and made a staircase.

Loved that.



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