Review: The Last Guardian Soundtrack
Shadow of the Colossus is one of my all time favourite soundtracks and is almost solely responsible for my love of video game soundtracks. So when Iam8Bit announced they would be releasing the score to Team Ico's highly anticipated and much delayed successor I couldn't pre-order it quick enough.
While the game was finally released in Dec 2016 (10 years after it was initially announced) the vinyl release of the soundtrack did not hit shelves until May 2017. However, the wait was definitely worth it as the score is quite simply stunning.
Takeshi Furukawa was initially approached to do the score in 2011 but following the much publicised delays in the development of the game he put the scoring of the game on the back burner until 2013 when the project was resumed. He employed the talents of the London Symphony Orchestra and Trinity Boys Choir to bring his compositions to life and the result is astounding. From the heavy use of woodwind on tracks such as the lethargically paced and ominous Sentinel I to the tense, urgent pace of Victorious and Finale I: Apex it is a classical music tour de force that is beautiful and powerful in equal measure. Furthermore, the score successfully interweaves beautiful, tenders pieces ('Alone' / 'Overture') with grandoise and rousing epics (Finale II: Escape / Epilogue) that in places are reminiscent of some of the Howards Shore's great work on the music for LOTR.
In many places the music is subtly woven into the game and it maybe only during major emotional or narrative passages when it comes to fore that many may notice it - while a conscious design choice it’s a shame that such a wonderful score may go underappreciated. Therefore, to be able to hear this soundtrack in all its orchestral glory then you will need to get a copy of the LP (or the CD).
The vinyl version, courtesy of Iam8Bit is a beautiful package. It is double vinyl (one light grey and the other dark grey) with a tri-fold sleeve. There are liner notes from Takeshi Furukawa himself and the concept art cover is stunning. However, one negative is the choice to not use the traditional numbering to differentiate the sides (i.e. Side A, Side B...) but a series of very similar looking symbols – it’s a minor grumble.
Much has been said over recent months regarding the quality of some of pressings that have been released by Iam8Bit - something the company is actively trying to address by looking a different pressing plant. However, except for some very minor pops and clicks there wasn't too many issues with this pressing. Many have complained about excessive surface noise with this release and while it may be present in places it wasn't distracting on this copy.
As the game has no dialogue then you rely heavily on the music and the facial animations/ performances to convey any sense of emotion - and this is where the game comes into its own. The relationship between the boy and Trico is beautifully told through performance and music. Therefore, the music is not just beautifully composed but integral to the enjoyment of the game.
Majestic from beginning to end and shows that video game music can be just as moving as anything found in cinema. A beautiful, truly MUST own release.
Composer - Takeshi Furukawa
(Released by Iam8bit on vinyl on the 11th May 2017)
Finale II: Escape
2x LP (Coloured Vinyl - Iam8Bit) - 19 Tracks**
1 CD Version - 24 Tracks
Soundtrack Composers Choice Digital Edition - 19 Tracks