Assassins Creed II – Earth
My favourite game is Assassins Creed II; my favourite piece of music from the game is ‘Earth’, composed by Jesper Kyd. It was recorded, along with all the other tracks, at Capitol Records with a 35-piece string ensemble and 13-person choir.
This piece of music is expressive and intense. It starts off calm and relaxed with only a few instruments being played and vocal notes being sung. Then it gradually builds up to bring suspense and drama into the music by adding instruments, effects and making the piece louder. This happens at around 1 minute and 30 seconds into the piece.
At the age of 13, Jesper Kid wrote music for the Commodore 64 and Amiga. He used the Amiga computer to midi sequence synths, drum machines and samplers. He has always used sampling in his style when composing music.
To create/process the music there is a variety of hardware, e.g. channel strips and effects processors, keyboards, pre-amps, sample modules and various MIDI and audio interfaces. There would be more than one computer being used to alter the different instruments in software like audition, software samplers and effects processors.
This piece of music is expressive and intense. It starts off calm and relaxed with only a few instruments being played and vocal notes being sung. Then it gradually builds up to bring suspense and drama into the music by adding instruments, effects and making the piece louder. This happens at around 1 minute and 30 seconds into the piece.It reminds me of someone running. In the beginning the person is walking but someone is after the person, he realises and starts to run, indicating the intense and louder music being played during that time slot. Then as the music dies down, the tempo slows and it gets quiet, it tells me the person is safe from the offender and is back to a normal pace.
The music makes me feel a rush of adrenaline from the contrasts in the tempo and dynamics in the piece. It makes me feel excited and calm and the piece reaches the end.
I think the music composed for this game works really well as the game is based around assassination and the music brings the intensity and feeling of the game.
Okami soundtrack – The sun rises
The audio is used in the final boss fight of the game Okami. The music starts off slow but then soon after the music becomes more upbeat and more intense as the fight between Amaterasu (a sun goddess) against Yami (an emperor of darkness) goes on. The music is constantly uplifting and makes you feel like you have the upper hand on the boss as the instruments used make it harmonious and melodic. It gives the sense that you are powerful and unbeatable, and with the adrenaline rush feel of the music, it makes it seem that you are defeating the boss with ease.
The piece is tonal and in a major key all throughout, making the music sound happy and triumphant. As the piece develops, the mood stays positive which helps the player stay clam through the final battle in the game.
There is little variation in the music dynamics, as it starts out as mf (moderately loud) and stays like that until the end when it fades out to ppp (very very soft).
For the entire duration of the audio in the boss fight, the texture is polyphonic because of all the layers in the music are intertwining. There are many different instruments and sounds included in the piece. For example; in some parts, there is the cry of an eagle as well as what sounds like a dog or wolves howl. Classical Japanese works inspired this piece of music. Furthermore there are many traditional Japanese instruments used in this work from the percussion (clappers, drums), strings (zithers, banjos, plucked instruments) and the wind family (flutes). The in game sound effects are there s well, including the ink swipes as you paint across the screen. The blast sounds that Yami makes when he firs a beam out of the hole in his hand, and the noises of Yami attacking.
The piece doesn’t end on a cadence as it is on a loop and is meant to carry on until the player has defeated the boss and then the game stars the next dong on the soundtrack. The track is intense and expressive and due to the fact that it repeats over and over, it influences the players mind and makes them more focused on the game and therefore the boss in the current stage of the game. When you finally defeat the boss, Yami, there is a short rattling sound that fades out after a second, signalling the end of the battle, and you victory.
‘The Sun Rises’ has a vivace (lively) and allegro (fast) tempo, which gives the music more anticipation and makes the player feel more connected to the game, determined to play and win the battle that is currently engaged. It reminds me of someone running into a life or death situation and then gaining the upper hand on the enemy and gaining the feeling that you have almost defeated the boss.
Overall, the use of sound in this track is great. It manages to make you feel like you are right there beside Amaterasu (the wolf you play in the game Okami) fighting the boss yourself. Including the fact that the music is enticing and greatly encouraging as it generates positivity from its upbeat tempo, and tonal melody throughout the piece, keeping the player focused on the virtual wolds surroundings.