Composed by
Jesper Kyd

 

Published by
Ubisoft Music (2009)

 

Tracklistings
Disc 1
1) Earth
2) Venice Rooftops
3) Ezio's Family
4) Florence Tarantella
5) Home in Florence
6) Approaching Target 1
7) Approaching Target 2
8) Venice Fight
9) Florence Escape
10) Tour of Venice
11) Flight Over Venice 1
12) Back in Venice
13) Dreams of Venice
14) Home of the Brotherhood
15) Leonardo's Inventions, Pt. 1
16) Venice Combat Low
17) Venice Escape

View full tracklistings

 

Availability
- Amazon.com

 

Extras
- Game website

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn


Assassin's Creed II

Assassin’s Creed II improves upon most of the elements of its predecessor with more varied gameplay, better-structured storyline and cutting-edge graphics. Like the first game, the story develops around the unlucky bartender Desmond Miles who is forced to relive his ancestor’s memories trough the scientific machine called the Animus. Unlike the first game, it’s no longer set in the Age of the Crusades, but in Italy of the 15th century.

Jesper Kyd who scored the first installment in the series returns for Assassin’s Creed II. Not unlike the prequel, Kyd’s music is centered on atmosphere and ambience. A wide array of electronics is employed to give the underscore a decisive modern edge while always trying not to overpower the images on screen. In addition, Kyd’s score is firmly rooted in the musical language of classic Rock. Many of the cues build upon background droning coupled with acoustic guitar and female vocals; “Flight Over Venice 1” is a good example. The composer’s atmospheric writing is often very dense and enticing, yet sometimes too experimental to be enjoyable. This is especially true for the combat music which walks a fine line between exciting Rock arrangements and unsettling electronic overdoses. In rare moments, Kyd depends on orchestral sensibilities and works traditional elements into his synthetic score. They range from the occasional crescendo of strings to create a mysterious mood to more accomplished orchestrations with emotional momentum (“Tour of Venice”). However, as a whole, the score is much more concerned with rhythm and electronic instrumentation. Unfortunately, melodies suffer in the process. There’s hardly any thematic or even melodic progression throughout the whole album and it stays frustratingly evasive to the listener. While the strictly ambient approach does have its benefits in-game, the score is completely devoid of any clear sense of adventure, intrigue or heroism, and therefore shares its predecessor’s biggest flaw.

The album release of Assassin’s Creed II is far too generous and it has a hard time keeping you interested all the way through. Still, even a best-of arrangement on one CD would be a tough sell. As a stand-alone listen, the album has few highlights. If you’re interested in delving into ambient scoring and enjoy the occasional flavor of classic Rock, there’s still a good chance you’ll enjoy some of Kyd’s material. If, on the other hand, you were expecting a convincing and epic adventure score, you’ll be disappointed.