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Crysis 2 Original Videogame Soundtrack :: Review by Harris Iqbal

Crysis 2 Original Videogame Soundtrack Album Title: Crysis 2 Original Videogame Soundtrack
Record Label: Electronic Arts
Catalog No.: iTunes
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Purchase: Buy at Amazon


Crysis 2 was one of the most hyped video games in recent memory and thankfully lived up to expectations according to most players and critics. An integral aspect of the experience was the musical score, an orchestral epic written in the spirit of Hollywood action flicks. In fact, one of today's leading film composers — Hans Zimmer — composed the main themes for the title while Borislav Slavov and Tilman Sillescu created the rest of the score in the same image. Ahead of a two disc physical release, a digital version of the soundtrack was recently released on iTunes and other outlets.


In his second video game score to date, Hans Zimmer produced an impressive main theme for Crysis 2. He offers a cutting-edge mix of electronic and organic sounds reminiscent of his work on Inception, yet with some welcome twists. A haunting electronic riff portrays New York City's alien invaders, while a triumphant brass figure captures the image of the Nanosuited hero. While both ideas are memorable and fitting, it is the way they interact that is particularly fascinating and the final sound is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Lorne Balfe presents Zimmer's main theme in a succession of variations across the soundtrack. "Crysis 2 Intro" is carefully tailored for the opening cinematic, evolving from its piercing distorted introduction towards an epic action-packed conclusion. "Insertion" fleshes out this material to offer the definitive version of the main theme and offers plenty of novel insights into the alien vs. human conflict during its playtime. "Invaders" is a relatively brief recapitulation featured at the end of the score that leaves listeners in a reflective mood.

Borislav Slavov builds on his idol's approach with a range of other tracks on the score. "New York Aftermath" is the emotional centrepiece of the score, building from its ambient introduction towards a tragic climax at the 1:45 mark. The piano, violin, and cello parts are treated in a particularly intimate way here and bring a very human element to the experience. "SOS New York" continues to focus on blending string solos with electronic and orchestral parts, but focuses more on conveying urgency than tragedy. With its highly detailed scoring, the final score is stunning in context.

Other than such impressive narrative themes, the soundtrack features some thrilling action tracks. Tilman Sillescu's "Under Assault" and "Close Encounter" are breathtaking with their fantastic pacing and dynamic mixing, once again demonstrating how far games have come in their production values. The former is especially enjoyable for the way it seamlessly transitions through sections concerned with expressing danger, tragedy, and heroism. The interactive variations of this track featured in the game are elegantly blended into one here. Sillescu also pleases with "Rampage", which reprises the melodic ideas from "Under Assault" in a much more climactic manner.


The score for Crysis 2 reflects that the game industry can do giant action scoring just as well, if not better, than film-makers in Hollywood. Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe did an excellent job on the main theme, while Borislav Slavov and Tilman Sillescu produce some engaging cinematic cues and action tracks too. Note that Electronic Arts' digital release reviewed here is only a sampling of the imminent physical release, though features most of the important themes. Nevertheless, the soundtrack is fitting for a wider audience and is extremely powerful in the game.

Overall Score: 8/10