Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Musical Score By: Greg Edmonson
Distributed by: La-La Land Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I marvel at the soundtracks of video games today. Once silly, or sometimes annoying accompaniments to poor graphics, the musical scores of video games have undergone a drastic change. As the graphics improved, so did the musical scores until you had albums that gamers and music fans alike wanted to add to their collection. Having reviewed a couple of musical scores for video games in the recent past, I couldn’t wait to check out the music for the new Sony and Naughty Dog video game release, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
Following in the footsteps of his ancestor (real-life English privateer Sir Francis Drake), Nathan Drake is an explorer/adventurer who has used his ancestor’s clues to discover amazing destinations. In the third installment of the Uncharted series, Nate is searching for the Atlantis of the Sands, a journey that sends him straight into the heart of the Arabian Desert and pits him against a shadowy clandestine organization. Uncovering the secrets of the lost city will propel Nate into a fight for survival and force him to face his deepest fears.
The musical score for all three Uncharted games is American composer Greg Edmonson. Protégé of successful television music composer Mike Post, Edmonson is best know for his creation of the musical score for Firefly. His musical compositions for the Uncharted series won the Best Original Music Award from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Since Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception takes Nathan Drake into the Arabian Desert, Greg Edmonson decided to include Middle Eastern instruments (such as the duduk, ney, darabuka, duhukka, oud and saz) and melodies in his compositions, mixing them in with traditional orchestral score to create an exotic sound. Vocals and Arabic pieces were contributed by Iranian-born singer Azam Ali. According to Edmonson, he has “always been a big fan of mixing melodic content and themes into action cues. These themes along with the ethnic instruments, remind us that whether we’re in London, South America or France we’re ultimately going to end up in a lost city in the desert. The orchestra is the compass that points the way.”
The resulting musical score plays like a movie soundtrack featuring ethnic content that gives the listener an idea of the video game’s locale, dramatic percussion and fast-paced tracks to set the tone for action sequences and heavy guitar riffs which I can only presume denote a stand-off between the main character and the big bad guy.
The Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Soundtrack is a limited edition (3000 units) two-CD set featuring over two hours of music. The first CD contains quite an ethnic feel while the second is a mix of action-packed adrenaline pumping music interwoven with the ethnic sound. While I enjoyed the entire soundtrack, I found the powerplay remixes of Reckless, Science and Magic and Iram of the Pillars to be - to quote a gamer - bitchin’!
The Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Soundtrack is a video game soundtrack that plays like a movie. Greg Edmonson does a terrific job blending a classic orchestral theme with traditional Middle Eastern instruments and melodies and fans of the video game franchise’s past will be more than pleased with the outcome. Once again, I marvel at the advance in video game music scoring and tip my hat in appreciation to Greg Edmonson for furthering the medium.