Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Call Of Duty: Ghosts Video Game Score Review

Hello again! We're nearing the end of the year, and big scores are coming out in both the film world, and video game world! I'm a huge fan of the CoD game scores, not so much the games themselves though. The majority of the scores are all fast paced, well done action themed music, and it's good fun to listen to! This time, we have departed from Black Ops II's composer Jack Wall, and we've turned to a much less experienced composer, David Buckley. I'll be honest, I've never even heard of the guy! I'm hoping for his sake that he can pull of one of the biggest scores of the year! Let's see if he does in this 35 track, 1 hour and 14 minute long score!

We begin with Main Theme. It has a techno vibe to it, mixed in with some cool brass. It turns into less of an action, fast paced theme, something I'd expect, and goes for something more mysterious and heroic. It's a surprise to say the least! Whilst the piece isn't incredibly memorable, it has some pretty awesome orchestral riffs! Ghost Stories is a slow and plotting kind of piece. Buckley hasn't jumped the guns, which is something that is quite common in Call Of Duty scores. They're never incredibly complex; more like straightforward action fun! Ghost Stories provides a few nice riffs, but doesn't offer heaps. Rorke Files has a techno percussion beat playing off in the background which shall certainly urge your foot to tap along! It's more of the same, but with some small new riffs here and there. It's certainly not bad, not in the slightest! It just doesn't offer much!

Loki Combat gets the fast paced stuff rolling, and it does it in great fashion! Buckley doesn't succumb to the temptation of throwing loads of percussion in, and instead focuses the piece around some heavy brass and edgy strings. The piece loses it's intensity and speed towards the end for an anticlimactic finish. I sense more to come! Infiltration keeps the intensity up, but leaves more of an emphasis on percussion and small riffs. Buckley mixes the piece up with a variety of melodies, and you never know exactly where the piece wants to go, but it's not the most interesting of pieces. Tower Battle is a little more of a heroic and action filled piece. It has some interesting and powerful riffs thrown in, but the piece lasts a mere 1:15, to my disappointment. Sin City has a refreshing pace and volume. It's a complex piece, and Buckley does try to keep interest high with a variety of melodies and beats. Santa Monica Beach Invasion is an emotional piece, or at least it tries to be. It just doesn't have too much of an impact. It never hits me in the heart, I guess. It's a little off target, despite the obvious effort. Whilst there are impressive moments, I was never marveling at the piece. Computer Hack returns us to the lower volume, and to the quick and short percussion. It's a mysterious and treacherous piece, but it doesn't reach any thing significant. Enemy HQ builds up for a short while, before proceeding with some powerful and intelligent brass and strings. After the first big climax, the piece never seems to go anywhere for the rest of it's running time.

Threnody is a short and dull piece. It doesn't do much at all! Space Suicide is a building sort of piece, which takes it's merry old time to get started! It leaves itself room to build, but it doesn't achieve anything. End Of The Line mixes brass with synth to great effect for the first minute or so. It has some touching moments, but it fails to deliver a decent send off. Severed Ties is a little more aggressive than a lot of our more recent pieces. It doesn't sound like Buckley is really trying to push his orchestra to their limits, unfortunately. It has interesting sounds to it, but it never really gives you a really powerful and loud punch. Despite this, it's more complex and powerful than a lot of our more recent pieces, so I'll mark it up. Clockwork is full of foreign sounds, all appealing to the ear. I'm clenching my fists, waiting for Buckley to launch something that will have me mystified, and the piece hints and teases at something like this a couple of times. It doesn't ever go for it though, to my disappointment. San Diego Burning showcases the piano present, and has some saddening and emotional moments thrown in. I so desperately want Buckley to go for it! To give us some raw power or a little volume! He hasn't so far, but he hints and teases here and there. The final minute delivers a much needed volume step up, but even this isn't enough to save the piece. Atlas Falls leads up and down a couple of times with pace and volume, before some catchy and funky riffs kick in. It doesn't last long, but it's certainly a little bit of fun! Space Enemy throws it's punches quickly, opening up with some powerful beats. It drifts back down, and embarks on a mysterious route. It's volume is a nice change, but the pace is still a little too slow for my liking. Buckley delivers some genius riffs through out the piece, but they never seem to create a solid, full picture, unfortunately.

Odin goes from a more subtle opening, to a touching and heroic rhythm. There are some moments of pure brilliance lying within this piece, and it finally hits a soft chord, to my delight! Gathering Intel sticks to the same background riff the whole way through, a synth based riff, which is quite amusing and catchy. Meanwhile, the rest of the piece has some interesting and complex rhythms flowing in and out. It's well sounding, but it's not remarkable. No Man's Land Battle is a battle piece, obviously, and it covers complex and smart riffs and melodies. Nothing too incredible. Trench Run has a little bit more pace and intensity to it than a lot of our previous pieces have had. It's a little too one dimensional for my liking, and it never feels like Buckley is really letting go, something I've noticed the whole way through. Stealth Kill reflects it's name. It's quiet and mysterious. I find it slightly more suiting than a lot of the score so far, the fact that the name reflects the kind of piece we're going to get. There are some fun and memorable moments laying throughout, but it doesn't have much more to offer. Liberty Wall reminds me that whilst Buckley is inventing new and smart riffs and melodies all throughout the score, he is failing in creating something that feels complete. Every piece up to this point has left me desperately wanting more! Liberty Wall is a reflection of this point, and it never gives enough to keep you satisfied. Maybe that's what he want, I'm not sure. I'm hoping for better things to come.

Brave New World is less dark and brooding than previous pieces, and delivers some more satisfying riffs and beats, whilst keeping the common theme of originality that the rest of the score has composed. Northern Andes Mountains, Venezuela has a sense of urgency to it to begin with. After a short period, it curls back into it's shell, and doesn't try much else for the duration of it's running time. Birds Of Prey is much more aggressive and intense than our predecessor. It is a short piece, but it's certainly one of the more memorable attempts at power. Federation Base has an urgency to it, once again! A little bit of consistency in that area is something I like to see. It doesn't have much variety, but it certainly keeps you interested. The Hunted has a dark and complex melody playing throughout that should have you engaged. It ends quietly and dully. Struck Down has me turning up the volume, as it lays a lot of emphasis on smart percussion. It lasts a short while, but will certainly have you listening in carefully.

Ghost Killer is a mix between touching and dark. It's short running time is fitting, and it doesn't try to do too much. It's satisfying, at least. Train Chase begins with some intensity, and it carries this through the majority of the piece. The brass and strings set a strong pace and beat, which is nice to see! Federation Battle is filled to the brim with complex and fast riffs, and this keeps the piece fresh and vivid. It's the piece I've been wanting the entire score, and I've turned my volume up on full just to embrace it! It's climax is powerful and satisfying, and it's got me appreciating Buckley once again! Legends Never Die is a sad piece. Buckley has certainly been keeping his cards close to his chest, if this is what he can deliver. There are some breathtaking percussion moments littered throughout, and the brass works well to create a mystifying and powerful environment.  It's the longest piece, which earns a big thumbs up from me! Buckley has earned a lot of points back for these past few pieces! Atonement is another touching piece, which earns lots of stars in my books! For a final piece, it's a rewarding one. There are some particularly memorable trumpet riffs placed throughout the piece, and they steal the show for me! Buckley ends us with some soft, yet dark and dangerous sounding music. Satisfying ending!

Conclusion:
David Buckley is, in a sense, a musical genius! He has created a consistently smart score, one which embraces originality and certainly isn't a grind to get through. There are some powerful and touching moments throughout, particularly towards the end, which steal the show for me. Despite all of this, there is a point at which the score constantly under delivers. It doesn't satisfy for a good majority of the pieces, and it'll always leave you wanting more. Normally, I'd say that's a good thing, but when it constantly gives you this same feeling, it becomes a little irritating. This aside, Buckley has a great career ahead of him. His composing skills are fairly great, and I can't wait to see what more he can deliver in the future. A solid score!

Highlights:
Loki Combat
Space Enemy
Odin
Train Chase
Federation Battle*
Legends Never Die*
Atonement

Individual Piece Scores:
Main Theme-87
Ghost Stories-79
Rorke Files-78
Loki Combat-90
Infiltration-79
Tower Battle-82
Sin City-85
Santa Monica Beach Invasion-72
Computer Hack-75
Enemy HQ-89
Threnody-50
Space Suicide-66
End Of The Line-74
Severed Ties-80
Clockwork-70
San Diego Burning-85
Atlas Falls-75
Space Enemy-91
Odin-97
Gathering Intel-86
No Man's Land Battle-78
Trench Run-79
Stealth Kill-86
Liberty Wall-70
Brave New World-85
Northern Andes Mountains, Venezuela-74
Birds Of Prey-88
Federation Base-83
The Hunted-72
Struck Down-85
Ghost Killer-78
Train Chase-94
Federation Battle-100*
Legends Never Die-100*
Atonement-99

Junkie Score: 81.74

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