Skylanders: Giants

Composed By: Lorne Balfe

Distributed by: Activision

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In Skylanders: Giants, the sequel to Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure video game from Activision, we meet the Giants.  Thousands of years ago, these creatures fought epic battles in the Skylands, but found themselves banished to Earth.  Now, the Giants are back, just in time to join forces with the Skylanders to take down the evil known as KAOS

                An action adventure game deserves an exciting musical score and so the makers of Skylanders: Giants turned to a composer with experience in the genre, Lorne Balfe.  Born in Scotland, Balfe began his career in film scoring in America, providing additional music for a number of films including Pirate of the Caribbean II and III, Iron Man, Angels and Demons and more.  He went on to gain production credits for the score of Inception as well as creating the musical score for Ironclad and The Sweeney.  Balfe has amassed quite a résumé  in the video game scoring field as well, composing the scores of such well-known games as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed: Revelations and Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure.

                The music of Skylanders: Giants is at once invigorating and uplifting with its fast-paced orchestral theme.  The listener is immediately transported to another world where adventure is looked forward to and valiant feats are the norm.  As the player travels through the adventure and sceneries change, so does the music.  The first immediate change takes place between the first, loudly valiant adventure track of Giants to the softer, orient-influenced second track, Junkyard Isles.  As the album moves forward, other ethnic elements make themselves heard as new exotic instruments come into play.  My favorite track is Cutthroat Carnival which has a swashbuckling Celtic-inspired sound to it.

                But no matter where your adventure takes you, the music always holds the same tempo - fast-paced.  There is no doubt in the listener's mind that things in this video game are always moving, never boring.  After watching some trailers associated with Skylanders: Giants, I'd say that Lorne Balfe has perfectly captured what this video game is about in his music, making it a terrific accompaniment to the action taking place in the game.  The game and its music go hand in hand, an achievement that every video game score composer strives for, but the music is so powerful as to make for an excellent stand alone album, a definite plus in any composer's book.


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