Composed by
Tilman Sillescu (lead composer), Alexander Röder, Alexander Pfeffer and Markus Schmidt

 

Published by
dtp Entertainment (2007)

 

Tracklistings
n/a

Enjoy two exclusive sound samples from the score:

1) Main Theme
2) Combat

 

Extras
- Game website
- Composer website

 

Availability
German Collector's Edition features soundtrack CD

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

Legend: Hand of God

Legend: Hand of God is an action role playing game set in the fantasy world of Aris. The player takes up the role of young Targon, a monk protector, who has to find a powerful artefact called the Hand of God in order to prevent a demon army from destroying his homeland. As the general plot already indicates, the game doesn’t try to revolutionize the genre. Nevertheless, it offers standard yet exciting gameplay, dark and detailed graphics and an atmospheric soundscape. The game’s gritty look demanded a score that was much darker than those the composers at Dynamedion had written for their previous projects. As a result, they would abandon the pleasing melodies of Anno 1701 or the sense of high-adventure of ParaWorld to focus fully on a dark and sinister tonal quality. The game’s budget didn’t allow for the recording with live orchestra. Consequently, the score relies on synthesized samples with the addition of some live instruments.

To match the setting, Tilman Sillescu and his composing team went for a tribal and primitive sound that often bans melodic progression into the lowest regions of the orchestra. Percussive and militaristic drums rhythmically supported by low bass as well as eerie synthesized effects take the forefront in many cues. Indeed, you’ll notice that the musical ideas are built less around a central theme but more around the expression of an ever-present sense of danger. This translates into the score’s instrumentation: a wide array of drums, deep bass and brass, eerie woodwinds, droning sound effects and low male choir. The result is an ambient, subdued and foreboding score that stays in the background.

Although the composers seemed to be primarily interested in creating atmospheric sounds, the score does have a main theme. It’s a heroic and rousing fanfare and undergoes different arrangements throughout the album. Furthermore, the score’s overall sound is adjusted based on the specific regions of some of the game’s landscapes. You’ll hear haunting male choir for a monastery, Eastern sound for a desert landscape, and creepy string lines for such regions as swamps, for example. The underscore dynamically quickens its pace as soon as in-game combat starts and these battle cues fittingly underscore the many enemy encounters the player faces. Still, the composers seldom strayed far away from the immediately established sound which proves to be both a boon and a curse. The decision to basically stick to a dark and understated musical canvas provides the score with a certain musical unity and cohesion, while remaining consistent with the game’s overall sound. On the other hand, one cannot deny a certain repetitiveness. Many cues sound awfully formulaic. Apart from the one main theme, the score offers little thematic or stylistic variety.

In the end, it’s the expectation that will define the appeal of the score. If you’re ready to get into a dark, menacing and foreboding sound, Legend might positively surprise you. However, if you’re looking for a thematically rich, diverse and live orchestral score as it has often been the case in fantasy role playing games, Legend can’t live up to the standards set by stronger entries in the genre.