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The artsy side of gaming

Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation soundtrack review

One of the hallmarks of the Assassin’s Creed franchise is its consistently amazing soundtracks. Jesper Kyd has created a distinct sound and feel for each entry in the franchise,  which is why it came as a surprise when it was revealed that Winifred Phillips would be composing the Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation soundtrack. Phillips is primarily known for her work on Sony-exclusives God of War and Little Big Planet 2, and while that may not seem like a natural fit for the AC universe, Phillips has created, without doubt, one of the greatest soundtracks in the franchise.

Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation follows the story of Aveline de Grandpré, a Louisiana creole assassin, in 18th century New Orleans and the surrounding bayous. For anyone familiar with Louisiana history, this blending of post-Régence French and African American cultures created one unique style and feel, and Phillips has captured this while still sounding at home within the AC universe on the whole.

“Society Suite in 4 Movements” is, perhaps, one of the best examples of the French influence with plenty of strings and harpsichord that would be well-suited for Marie Antoinette’s court–many tracks have strong Handel influences. Yet when listened to within the context of the soundtrack, it’s easy to imagine Aveline preying upon unsuspecting French socialites in some opulent ballroom. On the opposite end of the spectrum you have tracks like “Secrets of the Bayou” and “In the Bayou” which incorporate fast, African drum beats with woodsy flutes.

Then you have tracks which effectively blend the traditional Assassin’s Creed sound with fast strings, light brass and a more “traditional” sound. “Aveline’s Escape” has these elements, with stunning chorals mixed within, making it one of my personal favorite tracks. The sense of urgency and movement it evokes is reminiscent of “The Brotherhood Escapes” from Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.  Likewise, tracks like “Animus” invoke that sense of mystery and awe that we expect.

When listened to as individual tracks, each song is unique and stands out as something memorable. But this soundtrack is best enjoyed as a single body of work, each track telling a story that weaves through the very different cultures of 18th century Louisiana. I feel comfortable saying that with Liberation, Winifred Phillips has not only created a distinct, moving soundtrack for the game, but she has raised the bar considerably for the franchise on the whole. This may very well be one of the best soundtracks of 2012.

Our rating: A+

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