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View Full Version : The History of AC's Music: an Ode to the Amazing Scores We Have Heard



Wolfmeister1010
01-22-2014, 02:40 AM
Say what you will about Assassin's Creed. Say it is like COD, or it is tired, or it is not what it should have been, but there is one thing that is very special, and very unique in AC, something that too few games take for heart.

Assassin's Creed has ALWAYS dished out AMAZING soundtracks. While some may be better than others, there is no doubt that even the series' worst OST is 100 times better than the music we get to experience in almost all other games. For an aspiring game/movie composer like me, it truly is very inspiring to see a massive AAA series make sure that each of their games possess a top notch score by sparing no expense by hiring the biggest and best names in the music industry. Let us take a brief walk back through the history of the music of Assassin's Creed, and. I will discuss the parts that I loved, and the parts that I did not love so much!

Assassin's Creed 1: Jesper Kyd makes an extraordinary track that sets AC's track record of amazing OSTs in motion. Tracks like "City of Jerusalem" and especially "Access the Animus" http://youtu.be/ZiCml4wNrbU are the more critically acclaimed pieces. In this score, Kyd employs a very mysterious tone, incorporating male and female vocals with guitar and electronic sounds to make a unique melting pot of sound that leaves you in awe. It was far from true to the setting, but that didn't matter, as it was still glorious enough to capture our hearts.

Assassin's Creed 2: This OST, also by Jesper Kyd, continues the AC legend of music with a very different sound from AC1. In this score, Kyd keeps the guitar and electronic sounds, but employs much more female vocals and violin to create a dramatic, tragic "renaissancey" tone. Arguably the most famous track of AC OST history, "Ezio's Family" defines the whole score, with its chilling vocals and intense pickup moments. Other favorite pieces include "Dream of Venice' and "Venice Rooftops" and "Home in Florence"

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood: Jesper Kyd returns with a very different sound in this game. To fit with the theme of darkness, poverty, and death in the harsh Roman setting, Kyd employs a much darker spin on his cheery AC2 score. It basically sounds like AC2 OST had a bad day, but the score itself is far from bad. While not quite as memorable as AC2's, it still captivated me for sure with it's tragic violin sweeps and woeful vocals that took me to the disease ridden streets of the once magnificent city of Rome. Probably the most famous track in the OST is "Borgia Occupation" which plays while roaming the poor section of the Centro district: http://youtu.be/kVqP0nXTj0M

Assassin's Creed Revelations: Jesper Kyd returns for his final work in AC with this OST, accompanied by Lorne Balfe. In this OST, kyd REALLY gets into the period and setting of the game with pieces like "Istanbul". He also retains many electronic noises and miscellaneous sounds in the music, which doesnt always work, like in the song "Rebuilding the Brotherhood" http://youtu.be/NtT_-GJ0MVI which is basically a jumbled up mess with no soul. However, "Street Fight" http://youtu.be/6F47m_kkwVk is probably one of my favorite combat tracks in the series, and "Forum of Ox" http://youtu.be/-qjjqh2-LOo is also one of my alltime favorites. Balfe, on the other hand, employs a different sound in his part of the OST by using much more dramatic violin swings like in "Main Theme" http://youtu.be/mLgQ3em2JYY

Assassin's Creed 3: Lorne Balfe surprises us all with a MAGNIFICENT score. It contains arguably the best AC main theme in history, and uses period instruments like flutes and string pianos to create a very interesting sound. It also uses the bagpipe, and intense fiddle pieces, like in the acclaimed "Fight Club" piece http://youtu.be/gxU54NeKZJo . It also had AMAZING frontier combat/escape themes that were so good that I would often run around the frontier and pick fights just to hear it. Unfortunately, it did not make its way into the OST. http://youtu.be/_AVlBeOTzkY . It is really a shame that the cities featured no ambient music, and pieces like an unreleased Boston theme http://youtu.be/(null) and "Saving Terry" theme http://youtu.be/(null) were not included either.

TOKW: Lorne Balfe surprises again by not only using a different sound in the OST, but he somehow managed to create an AMAZING OST...for a DLC!! He goes FULL ON BATMAN in these pieces, like in the Boston Battle theme "close city" http://youtu.be/s_RNzizj16U and my personal favorite "Dark Alleys"
http://youtu.be/bDf4zHawRhI
which use intense violin melodies, all in a woeful minor key. "The Man in the Wolf Hood" is also one of my favorites. http://youtu.be/lLZxxdDUgWA

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: Brian Tyler appears to make this amazing score. In this OST, Tyler uses guitar and violin to make a very authentic pirate tone. One of my favorites is "Pyrates Beware" http://youtu.be/xYwuf24HBW8 which sends chills down my spine everytime. He also uses electronic sounds in pieces like "Into the Jungle" which reminds me of his Far Cry 3 OST. The OST also contains tragic and emotional pieces like "Last Goodbyes" http://youtu.be/(null) and some great naval battle themes like "Under The Black Flag" http://youtu.be/kPXDTNsTlrc with the ending of this piece being my ringtone..as it is AMAZING, and "Take What is ours!" http://youtu.be/(null) . However, the score does have a very weak main theme, which is quite disapointing, and while the boarding combat themes like "Take What is Ours!" Are amazing..the city combat themes are extremely dull. For example, "Pirate's Life" http://youtu.be/(null) is a great track..but not for combat. It sounds like a stealth theme. It does not get you pumped like previous games' combat themes. Hopefully AC5's OST fixes that.

Freedom Cry: Again we get surprised with a DLC that has an amazing OST. The main theme of Freedom Cry http://youtu.be/gVA9A4Qv7Y8 is superb, and one of my favorites in AC history. The OST uses traditional Haitan vocals and instruments, which is great, but the while the main theme is AMAZING , the rest of the OST is lacking. However, it is still amazing compared to most games' soundtracks.

AC3: Liberation:...ummm, the combat theme was pretty good! Looks like I forgot to put it in the poll. Woops.

Thank you all for reading! Personally, my favorite OST was AC3. ACIV was close, but just didnt have the emotion that AC3 did. It still had plenty of emption..just not as much LOL. What will the next AC bring in regards to music?? Will Tyler return again? Or maybe balfe? Or maybe even Kyd? What was your favorite OST of the series? What was your favorite specific piece? Anyway, this thread took me a while to make, so please rate, comment, and subscribe to become a bro today!..Oh wait-

DisbandedBox359
01-22-2014, 02:49 AM
First vote wow haha, yeah black flag for me since Revelation the soundtracks really started becoming awesome and better each time
Btw want to add Liberation OST wolf, thats pretty good as well :)

phoenix-force411
01-22-2014, 02:49 AM
ACR for me, 'cause they had really great songs. In a dilemma between ACII and ACR, but ACR gave me the chills!

Wolfmeister1010
01-22-2014, 02:50 AM
..completely forgot liberation didnt I



Fixed..kinda

Megas_Doux
01-22-2014, 02:51 AM
Cant decide just for one, just cant........

Wolfmeister1010
01-22-2014, 02:53 AM
Cant decide just for one, just cant........

I know lol. I was stuck between AC3, AC4, and AC2

DisbandedBox359
01-22-2014, 02:55 AM
I'd vote them all if I could haha

SixKeys
01-22-2014, 03:03 AM
For me: AC1 > AC2 > ACB > AC4 > ACR > ACL > AC3

Wolfmeister1010
01-22-2014, 03:07 AM
For me: AC1 > AC2 > ACB > AC4 > ACR > ACL > AC3

Wow I cant believe you hated AC3 so much!!

Mine is AC3 > AC4 > AC2 > ACR > ACB > AC1 > ACL

DisbandedBox359
01-22-2014, 03:08 AM
In terms of order

AC4> ACR>AC3> TOKW> ACL> ACFC> AC2 >ACB> AC1

Megas_Doux
01-22-2014, 03:09 AM
I know lol. I was stuck between AC3, AC4, and AC2


AC I, ACII and AC IV in my case.


I mean, love this stuff:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f9Wcv_BhhA

ACB´s, as the rest of the game, is pretty sub par!!!!!

SixKeys
01-22-2014, 03:10 AM
Wow I cant believe you hated AC3 so much!!

Mine is AC3 > AC4 > AC2 > ACR > ACB > AC1 > ACL


I like the main theme, "Ratonhnhaké:ton" and "Fight Club". Some of the ToKW remix tracks were pretty good too. Otherwise I just thought it was the most forgettable of all the soundtracks. ACL surprised me with its soundtrack.

phoenix-force411
01-22-2014, 03:12 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV92_MlyDkk

FOR THE CHILLS!

SixKeys
01-22-2014, 03:13 AM
Best freeroam theme:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwVvkf5CeJU

Shahkulu101
01-22-2014, 03:14 AM
I really find it hard to choose, but I picked AC2 mainly for the ambient music in Venice. I thought they would get an honorary mention!

My all time favorite track is probably 'Crossroads of The World' from ACR though. The main theme in ACR is also spine-chilling.

I think these soundtracks aren't appreciated enough outwith the core AC community. They're masterpieces - especially Kyd's work - I hope he returns for another game.

DisbandedBox359
01-22-2014, 03:14 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV92_MlyDkk

FOR THE CHILLS!

MAJOR CHILLS

In all serious love that theme wish It had been in the main campaign :(

Megas_Doux
01-22-2014, 03:20 AM
Best freeroam theme:



No! :p


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adpdR5kWtRQ

I also prefer the music heard in La Habana, Jerusalem and Venice.

phoenix-force411
01-22-2014, 03:21 AM
@SixKeys You could intentionally glitch the song easily to make it play everywhere you went until you re-entered the district in which it plays. It's a good song, but ACB hardly has enough places to free roam, but it is the main theme for ACB. Lol, I hate it when archers screw you over when they get into a fight with Ezio and then the song is interrupted by a combat song. :'(

DisbandedBox359
01-22-2014, 03:21 AM
Free roam?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNrQsYAeIdc
I rest my case

Shahkulu101
01-22-2014, 03:22 AM
Oh snap! Havana's music is awesome! That catchy guitar makes me want to learn! Jesus there's so much great music I just love it all - too much to mention!

Wolfmeister1010
01-22-2014, 03:23 AM
Oh snap! Havana's music is awesome! That catchy guitar makes me want to learn! Jesus there's so much great music I just love it all - too much to mention!

Havana's theme "Spanish Empire" is amazing. Has unbelievable spanish guitar and electronic noises

Megas_Doux
01-22-2014, 03:25 AM
Havana's theme "Spanish Empire" is amazing. Has unbelievable spanish guitar and electronic noises

I´ll be with you as well.

Shahkulu101
01-22-2014, 03:30 AM
Havana's theme "Spanish Empire" is amazing. Has unbelievable spanish guitar and electronic noises

Yep. I wish Havana was larger and more lively to accommodate it, I literally only go there to hear the music. It's pretty but very small and with so little to do, I spent a lot of time in Venice from AC2. That was a fuller city and the atmosphere was given more time to set in. You got attached to the location more and the music heaps on even more 'feels'.

loomer979
01-22-2014, 03:30 AM
Love love love the music of the series. Every composer brings something unique and special to the table (even if I'll always have my personal favorites hehe). Shout out to Joe Henson, Alexis Smith and Christian Henson as well for their work on the AC4 Multiplayer soundtrack... which I thought was absolutely fantastic.

For those of you who love the soundtracks, I have some AC composer podcasts coming up in the near future. Stay tuned :)

DisbandedBox359
01-22-2014, 03:32 AM
Love love love the music of the series. Every composer brings something unique and special to the table (even if I'll always have my personal favorites hehe). Shout out to Joe Henson, Alexis Smith and Christian Henson as well for their work on the AC4 Multiplayer soundtrack... which I thought was absolutely fantastic.

For those of you who love the soundtracks, I have some AC composer podcasts coming up in the near future. Stay tuned :)

Is it Tyler? :D haha

LoyalACFan
01-22-2014, 03:51 AM
I still love AC2's. But I've been impressed by all of the OST's save Liberation's, which I've never given a proper listen.

BATISTABUS
01-22-2014, 04:05 AM
I like to describe ACB as "brooding".

The soundtrack with my favorite songs on it is AC3, but the game that I feel nails the atmosphere with the music best is AC1. AC4 and AC2 are close runners up, and I really like the main theme of ACR. Tyranny is awesome, while I only found Freedom Cry pretty good. I'm currently playing through Liberation, but there is only one track that I can say I like, with the rest of the tracks being just okay.

SixKeys
01-22-2014, 04:10 AM
Best freeroam music in AC4 is the melancholy Kingston/Nassau theme:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qisqJxVhHVk

LoyalACFan
01-22-2014, 04:43 AM
Best freeroam music in AC4 is the melancholy Kingston/Nassau theme:
(snip)

That one's great, but I actually prefer this one.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPIRx6oGGdE

Though I think it's a bit too "grand" for an ambient track. I think of it as Edward's theme song, really. The feels I got when I first heard the bit around 00:40 in a rainstorm were unbelievable.

Consus_E
01-22-2014, 04:57 AM
AC4>AC2>AC1>ACR>TOKW>AC3>ACB>ACL

Haven't played Freedom Cry yet (or heard any of the soundtrack)

I was a big fan of Brain Tyler's work on the Far Cry 3 soundtrack so that may have affected my opinion a bit.
I would have put AC3/TOKW higher on the list but without the music playing in free-roam it's harder to for me to remember it...

And the only reason AC:B isn't on the bottom of this list is because:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwVvkf5CeJU'
OMG SO MUCH NOSTALGIA

DisbandedBox359
01-22-2014, 01:43 PM
That one's great, but I actually prefer this one.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPIRx6oGGdE

Though I think it's a bit too "grand" for an ambient track. I think of it as Edward's theme song, really. The feels I got when I first heard the bit around 00:40 in a rainstorm were unbelievable.

Think this was from "The British Empire" loved that track when I heard it on the OST

lothario-da-be
01-22-2014, 03:59 PM
I love them all but ac2's soundtrack is the most memorable.

oliacr
01-22-2014, 04:30 PM
Revelations of course the best

Toa TAK
01-22-2014, 05:28 PM
My personal favorite is Revelations, then AC2 and AC1.

Got a question, though, when IS the Freedom Cry soundtrack going to be released? It's really amazing. I ask because Kosappi Uni has failed me. :P

adventurewomen
01-22-2014, 05:30 PM
My favourites are AC3 & ToKW!! <3

Hard to choose one for the Poll.

ACfan443
01-23-2014, 12:37 AM
I'm torn between AC1 and AC2. AC1's soundtrack is undoubtedly the most atmospheric of the two, the ambient tracks set a fantastic tone for the game, making each city feel incredibly unique and helping to create an experience so immersive and enthralling that it was almost impossible not to lose yourself in the world. Some of the best tracks I've heard in any video game I've played. There was so much variation, you had the more culturally influenced and melodic tracks like Spirit of Damascus - elevating the city's grandeur and beauty, to the more dark, ominous, almost harrowing tracks like Acre Underworld, reflecting the dire filthy environment, a poverty and war stricken land, and the acutely distressing plight of the inhabitants. No two cities felt the same, and the music played a large role in achieving this. 'Access the animus' in my opinion, remains the best chase/assassination theme to this day, nothing can quite recreate the heart pounding rush of adrenaline and sense of urgency as brilliantly as that track. It was almost euphoric.

Then there was AC2 which had an entirely different tone. A much more cheerful, melodic, breathtaking and heavenly collection of tracks, reflecting the drastically different and colourful atmosphere of the Renaissance. At first the change in mood was a little unexpected, but quickly became pleasantly surprising. The further I progressed into the game and heard more of the soundtrack during some of AC2's most memorable scenes (such as the iconic title sequence during which Ezio and Frederico race to 'Venice Rooftops', and the moment they share at the top of the church tower as 'Ezio's Family' begins playing) the more it made me admire Jesper Kyd's artistry and exceptional ability to reinvent himself. Out of the two, it 's too difficult for me to decide which OST has the edge.

I'd rank the music of series as followed:
AC1/AC2>ACB>ACR(Jesper's tracks mainly)>AC4>AC3


That one's great, but I actually prefer this one.

[video=youtube;HPIRx6oGGdE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPIRx6oGGdE[video]

Though I think it's a bit too "grand" for an ambient track. I think of it as Edward's theme song, really. The feels I got when I first heard the bit around 00:40 in a rainstorm were unbelievable.

The British Empire is definitely one my all time favourite ambient tracks, it's excellently composed and atmospheric, and gives me huge incentive to actually go back and continue exploring Kingston post credits (something I would have otherwise avoided had there been no ambient music, the city itself is structurally uninspiring). Also, I don't think it's too grand to be an ambient track at all, if anything 'City of Rome' would fall under that description. Both are however, perfectly fitting for their respective environments imo.