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Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Original Game Soundtrack :: Review by Steven

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Original Game Soundtrack Album Title: Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Original Game Soundtrack
Record Label: Ubisoft Music
Catalog No.: iTunes
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Purchase: Purchase at Amazon MP3


In the third main game in the series, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, the main character Ezio embarks on a new adventure fighting against the Borgias in Rome. Ubisoft also added multiplayer gameplay to up the ante for fans of the game. Jesper Kyd, whose previous scores in the series continue to receive industry awards, returned here and characteristically blended acoustic, electronic, and increasing Renaissance percussion. The score is a bit darker than its predecessors as well and the eeriness of vocals and dark electronic atmospheres can be at times quite chilling.


Like previous entries for the series, the opening "Master Assassin" has a strong rhythmic drive. However, the nature of the soundscaping is entirely unique and ensures an engaging thrust throughout. The blending of atmospherics and samples continues in "The Brotherhood Escapes" with a sort of drummed martial call to arms and dissonant backdrops and manipulated sounds. A chromatic line, in repetition, is spread through the track as the drumming intensifies. Kyd warms this track a bit with the haunting vocal that allows for some presence of thematic continuity.

In "City of Rome", this atmospheric blend is warmed by acoustic guitars and a female vocalise reminiscent of "Earth" from Assassin's Creed II. This is the first indication of some attempt at period composition in the score. "Cesare Borgia" creates a fascinating blend of tense string pedals, Gregorian Chant, and bell tones against a sinuous, and even a little sinister violin melody. It is again combines features common to earlier scores in the series with welcome individualistic touches.

Many of the tracks in the first half of this presentation are shaped in a similar way: drum patterns, ambient design ideas, and occasional melodic, or motivic, contours. The result is perhaps a more intense gaming experience, but is potentially less satisfying as a listening experience because the overall sound of the score stays fairly constant. Furthermore, given Kyd's characteristic minimalistic musicianship, there is relatively little harmonic movement in the music. Some will find this makes the music somewhat static on a stand-alone level, but equally it can also have a fascinating and meditative effect.

Between the more functional tracks, there are some intriguing brilliant moments. The first of these is "Echos of the Roman Ruins," with chant-like voices mimicking Renaissance vocal lines set against the intriguing use of bells and chimes. Later "Roman Underworld" is stripped to a beautiful vocal line above an electronic pedal tone. These ghostly segments of the music are among the most intriguing parts of the score overall. But this was not created to be an authentic period score and most of the time the pulsing contemporary electronics win the day, which no doubt succeeds in contemporizing the gaming experience.


For the most part, Kyd's score for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood follows the tradition set by its predecessors while taking a more contemporary direction. Compared to typical action scores, Kyd offers some strong choral and soprano voices in addition to various minimalistic stylings to tie the various tracks together and give them a unique aura. For the first time in the series, this soundtrack is available physically with the collector's edition of the game, though a wider digital release will also be available separately through iTunes and Amazon MP3.

Overall Score: 8/10