Medal of Honor

Musical Score By: Ramin Djawadi

Distributed by: EA Games Soundtrack

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Do you remember the early days of video games when the barest minimum of graphics were accompanied by little or no music, just a bunch of beeps and boops.  Later, there was a musical background, but mostly tinny, computer-created music that sounded somewhat campy and goofy.  As the video game industry matured and graphics improved immensely, so did the musical scores of video games and video game score composition has become very big in the music industry.  In this new era, where video game musical scores receive much accolades, including coveted achievement awards, comes a new video game soundtrack thatís about to turn the industry on its ear.  Enter Medal of Honor (2010) and its new soundtrack, composed by Ramin Djawadi.

            Available on October 12th, Medal of Honor has been re-invented, leaving the World War II setting for the first time in the eleven-year history of the game and entering an entirely new theater of war: Afghanistan.  Players are introduced to a new elite warrior that operates under the National Command Authority and is sent on missions no other unit could handle.  Medal of Honor is already available to try for free in an exciting beta multiplayer mode and thus, many gamers have already been introduced to the new and innovative musical score created for the video game.

            Ramin Djawadi is a German-born film composer who began his career in 1998, hooking up with well-known composer Hans Zimmer after graduating from Berklee School of Music.  After collaborating on numerous musical scores, Djawadi eventually set out on his own, creating the musical scores for The Unborn, Prison Break, Flash Forward, Iron Man, Deception, Open Season, Clash of the Titans and more. 

            The score created for this new version of Medal of Honor by Ramin Djawadi is unlike any score I have ever heard as background music to a video game.  The musical composition is very complex and advanced and, had I not known what this score was created for, you would have been hard pressed to convince me that this music had not been created for some new epic film. 

            The Medal of Honor Soundtrack is over 100 minutes of music which translates into 20 tracks anywhere from two to five minutes in length.  It all begins with From Here, a track which contains an orchestral theme that reminds me of the Memoirs of a Geisha theme.  An emotionally moving composition that contains a very exotic feel, this theme is repeated in numerous ways throughout the album. 

            But this soundtrack is not all somber sound.  After all, this is a video game set in a war theater and therefore it requires some action music.  Ramin Djawadi delivers an edgy action track that changes as the game moves forward, adding to the playerís adrenaline rush as he gets absorbed in his mission.  Moments of tension mounting low-level sound yield to riotous guitars and percussion as in the track Watch Your Corners.  Some of the tracks feature a hip-hop meets hard rock sound such as Enemy Down, the only track containing lyrics.

            I was actually surprised that this soundtrack was created for a video game set in Afghanistan.  Knowing that former Medal of Honor games had been set during World War II and hearing a theme that reminded me of Memoirs of a Geisha, I just assumed that the game was set somewhere near or in Japan.  It was only after I researched the new Medal of Honor that I learned of the more modern stage of warfare.  To me, this soundtrack doesnít really reflect the region it is supposedly written for.  There is the barest minimum of Middle Eastern influence in the opening of From Here.  Other than that, I just don't see the link to the Middle East in the music.  However, this is my only criticism of the soundtrack.

            The Medal of Honor Soundtrack is quite possibly the best video game soundtrack I have ever listened to.  Ramin Djawadi has created a musical composition so complex in nature and so advanced that would fit an epic film perfectly.  To discover that this music was created for a video game is amazing.  I would certainly recommend this to gamers and non-gamers alike.  The Medal of Honor Soundtrack is a fine piece of musical composition that any music aficionado would be proud to own.


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