Quick Reviews
Assassin’s Creed: Unity
Soundtrack Volume 2

By Jorge Figueiredo - January 13th, 2015

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For me, movie soundtracks are as important as dialogue. The same applies to videogame soundtracks as well. It is not uncommon for me to hear a fragment of a game’s score and know roughly which part of the corresponding videogame it deals with. If the game is okay and the soundtrack is good, then I will have positive memories of that game. If the game is good and the soundtrack is good, then I will probably return to that game long after I have completed it. I guess that is one of the reasons that I always go back to the Assassin’s Creed series: the music is so good. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Volume 2 of the Assassin’s Creed: Unity soundtrack, and I have been enjoying it a lot. Sarah Schachner, the composer for the music on this volume, did a tremendous job and is a fantastic example of how music can really increase immersion when it comes to videogames.

Volume 2 of the Assassin’s Creed: Unity soundtrack contains music featured in the combat, co-op, and multi-player sections of the game. Sarah has obviously drawn on a number of different elements to weave together a very satisfying score, which works well in the game but also on its own. Sarah has considerable expertise with a number of different stringed instruments, as well as arranging and synth work. It should come as no surprise then that given the time period of the game, she relies primarily on classical sensibilities – however, due to the subject matter and the ties to the present and future, there are some modern threads within the rich tapestry of her music.

The track list (21 tracks) contains music suited to a variety of moods (and why wouldn’t it, as it is accompaniment for a videogame). While most of the tracks are keyed to action, I find that within some songs the tone sways back and forth between relaxing and adrenaline-pumping – but the transitions are deceptively smooth, so the music is never really too jarring (unless it is supposed to be that way in the game – in which case one has visual cues to help with the “shock”). It should come as no surprise that the majority of instruments are stringed – violins and harpsichords comprise the bulk of the “historical” pieces with the occasional subtle booming of modern percussion. Then, in other pieces, the tone is more futuristic, employing the use of synths to keep the futuristic aspect of the game in arm’s reach.

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Sarah Schachner – master of stringed instruments, synths, and cool hair.

I have always loved the music of the Assassin’s Creed series, as there seems to be several motifs that peek out from hiding once in a while. Within the Unity soundtrack, I could discern familiarity in the form of strains from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (which should come as no surprise as Sarah worked on that soundtrack as well). I wondered, too, if I heard some personality from Ezio’s theme at times – and in a recent conversation with Sarah I was happy to note that I wasn’t just imagining it1.

If you’re a soundtrack buff or if you love the Assassin’s Creed series, you might want to consider picking this soundtrack up. Sarah’s ability to combine historically-themed music with science-fiction undertones is amazing, and creates a very dynamic and fun listening experience. Volume 2 of the Assassin’s Creed: Unity soundtrack is available on iTunes. You can also pick up Volume 1 (Chris Tilton) and the bonus tracks on Volume 3 (Ryan Amon).

1 – Toronto Thumbs will be posting the full interview with Sarah in due course.

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