1/10/2011. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin
pub: La La Land Records LLLCD 1175. 2 CDs, total running time 98:41. Price: $19.98 (US).
check out website: www.lalalandrecords.com
‘SOCOM 4: US Navy Seals’ is the fourth in the series of tactical shooters on Playstation 3, featuring an elite five-man Navy SEAL team fighting to defeat an aggressive revolutionary leader in an unspecified South Asian country. A heavily tactics focused game in the vein of ‘Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six’ and ‘Full Spectrum Warrior’, it is a game that relies on planning and coordination between the members of the team to achieve success.
The game released in May 2011 to mixed reviews, citing a limited, rather generic single player but a more rewarding on-line team-based multi-player component. Many felt that the single player in particular suffers from a lack of key choices made, with the result being a fairly bland game that doesn’t stick out amongst the huge choice of polished first person shooters in the market right now.
The soundtrack to ‘SOCOM 4: US Navy Seals’ is by that man Bear McCreary, who seems to not need sleep the amount of music he composes in a year. With Hans Zimmer recently contributing to the soundtrack to ‘Crysis 2’, Clint Mansell doing the ‘Mass Effect 3’ soundtrack and the first person shooter genre getting ever more polished and lucrative, it appears that the top TV and film composers are being enticed into the video game market more and more, which can only be a good thing for the atmosphere of such games. McCreary contributed the soundtrack to ‘Dark Void’ a few years ago, another game that suffered from mediocre reviews, with the soundtrack getting more plaudits than the rest of the game.
This soundtrack is a fairly successful mood piece, performed by the Skywalker Sound Orchestra. It has a lot of wind instrument led pieces, evoking that South Asian jungle feel and some of the moodier pieces evoke the stealth action games like ‘Splinter Cell’ and especially Harry Gregson Williams’ classic soundtrack to ‘Metal Gear Solid’. Tracks like ‘Clawhammer’s Betrayal’ and ‘Revelations’ are similar to some of the work McCreary did on the soundtrack to ‘Battlestar: Galactica’, evoking the mix of eastern and traditional rock influences seen in tracks like ‘Black Market’ from season two of that show.
Like many soundtracks by Bear McCreary, this is a very engaging, listenable record with an interesting blend of styles. Considering the rather lacklustre reaction to the game it accompanies, this might not be as appreciated as some of his work, but it remains a really enjoyable standalone collection of music and fits very well with the ‘Battlestar: Galactica’ work, so any fans of those soundtracks could do worse than add this to their collection.
Tomas L. Martin
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