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Dragon Age Origins -Leliana's Song- Original Videogame Score :: Review by Chris

Dragon Age Origins -Leliana's Song- Original Videogame Score Album Title: Dragon Age Origins -Leliana's Song- Original Videogame Score
Record Label: Electronic Arts
Catalog No.: iTunes
Release Date: October 25, 2010
Purchase: Download at iTunes


Following the critical and commercial success of Dragon Age: Origins, BioWare developed the legacy of the game with the release of several downloadable content chapters. The most notable of these was Leliana's Song, which explored the backstory of the character Leliana and offered eight new missions. Inon Zur returned to offer some brand new vocal and instrumental themes specifically for the chapter. His new music was recently compiled into a 13 minute digital release by Electronic Arts for listeners to behold on a stand-alone level.


The soundtrack opens with the song the downloadable content is named after. Having won listener's hearts on Dragon Age: Origins, Aubrey Ashburn returns to offer a breathtaking vocal performance based on Elvish lyrics. When combined with Zur's instrumentation — this time dominated by harpsichord passages and other period instruments — listeners are transported into a vivid fantasy world. The sole problem is that the track is brief, standing at just one minute in length; the development is dramatic and beautiful, but simply not extensive enough to be as awe-inspiring as "I Am the One". There is also a pleasant, but also dissatisfyingly short, dark variation entitled "Sorrow" at the centre of the release.

On the instrumental tracks, Zur incorporates further authentic instrumentation to represent Leliana's backstory. In stark contrast to the mostly dark themes on the main game, "Day in A Life" is a warm and frivolous piece of background music dominated by organic instruments. "Leliana's Dance" is equally charming with its lively folk rhythms, while "Evening and Night" soothes listeners at dusk with its gorgeous woodwind performances. All in all, such tracks are actually more reminiscent of the music in Japanese RPGs than Western soundtracks, although Electronic Arts controversially cut the loops. Despite their brevity, they're enjoyable listens that bring something novel yet fitting to the Dragon Age universe.

There are several tracks on the soundtrack that are more characteristic of Zur's musicality. "In the Dungeon", in particular, is reminiscent of the artist's work on the Prince of Persia series with its dark soundscaping and ethnic infusions. "Street Fight" meanwhile features similar Middle Eastern elements yet has a much more frantic and heavy feel appropriate for combat. One particularly appealing feature of both tracks is how Zur incorporates pounding percussion and punctuated strings to bring dramatic weight to the experience. Nevertheless, it's still very clear these tracks were composed primarily with the game in mind rather than stand-alone listening.


The handful of new tracks composed for Leliana's Song are generally effective in context and enjoyable outside it. Inon Zur didn't let the intricacy and quality of his music slipped, despite composing for downloadable content rather than the main game. Despite this, the music definitely sounds additional and this is particularly reinforced by the short length of both the tracks and release as a whole. Electronic Arts have adjusted the price of the album accordingly, so some may wish to supplement the main soundtrack with these tracks. Everyone else should eagerly anticipate the soundtrack for Dragon Age II released next year.

Overall Score: 6/10