While Assassin’s Creed 3 and its soundtrack is on everyone’s radar right now, let’s take a moment and look at the other side of the coin, Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation for the PS Vita, specifically its soundtrack.
While 3 is being scored by Lorne Balfe, who helped to score Revelations, Liberation’s score is being handled by Winifred Phillips. In the past, she has worked on games such as God of War and the Little Big Planet series.
Liberation takes place in New Orleans in the late 18th century during the French-Indian War and the protagonist is part African. The soundtrack is infused with both those elements to create a sound that perfectly sets the mood. With a heavy use of drums and melodic chanting combined with modern instruments, many of the songs feel like a native jungle tribe doing a score for a high octane action flick. What immediately stood out to me is how Phillips is able to transition with ease between action and soothing ambience. You’ll go from songs like Poverty, which have a slow and melancholy tone to Aveline’s Escape which feel like it comes from a Michael Bay movie.
Going along with this, each of the songs feels unique. One of the most interesting aspects of the soundtrack is how Phillips seems to be experimenting with different genres. There will be songs like Abstergo Ops that feel like they were designed for a sci-fi game like Borderlands 2. On the other hand, while listening to a track like Chasing Freedom, I could have sworn I was listening to a track from a JRPG. The soundtrack is diverse enough that I rarely got déjà vu, one of my issues with past scores in the series.
The soundtrack has already received two nominations in the form of “Best Soundtrack Album” and “Best Score – Mobile Video Game” and it’s easy to see why. Not only does it masterfully switch between different tones but it’s also one of the most unique scores so far this year as compared to titles such as The Last Story or Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. While it’s anyone’s guess on how the game will turn out, it’s safe to say that the soundtrack will go down as one of the year’s best.