Dishonored 2 Original Soundtrack
Dishonored 2 Original Game Soundtrack
October 10, 2016
Purchase on iTunes
The Dishonored franchise has made a name for itself for its trademark grim, twisted worlds and innovative stealth mechanics. For the most recent installment, composer Daniel Licht returned to craft another one of his dark scores, this time filled with southern European sounds to reflect the sunnier setting of the game – at least, compared to its predecessor.
It’s worth noting first that the two Dishonored soundtracks are very similar. Those who enjoyed the first will probably enjoy the second, and those who found the first soundtrack lacking thematic content would probably have the same complaint for the second score. Dishonored 2, like its predecessor, leans heavily towards the ambient. Aside from scattered moments in the score – a main theme, and a couple fantastic credits songs – the tracks are there to create an atmosphere rather than a separate piece of music. I preferred the sounds of the Dishonored 2 partially because it also incorporated a series of Mediterranean instruments, which ended up making the atmospheric tracks more accessible.
The first track, “Dishonored 2 Main Theme” plays an eerie melody on what sounds like a bouzouki against distorted rhythmic beats. The second half introduces another very short melody that shows up several times across the score. The “Streets of Karnaca” and “Aristocrats of Karnaca” tracks (in their various iterations) are much less eventful, although the combat track – while very short – does include a fast-paced iteration of the main theme.
The melodies of that main theme are rivaled by the melodies of the character themes. “Emily Kaldwin’s Theme” uses a soft, three-note guitar motif that never really develops, but is quite beautiful. “Corvo Attano’s Theme” is similarly simple with a bit more percussion and electricity in the guitar. Against the backdrop of ambient tracks on the score, even the small movements of the character melodies are eventful.
Delilah’s two pieces are the most interesting thematically; her character theme introduces a dark, twisting cello melody that, despite a few light backing instruments, is written to sound more like a cello solo than anything, with several energetic double-stops written in, and no real pauses. “Delilah Fights (contact)” is wilder, with a myriad of percussive instruments and shrieking atonal strings that don’t seem to follow any particular pattern.
The biggest disappointment was the soundtrack’s lack of the in-game music, which featured a male and female singer performing a fun little series of songs on the streets during the game; one of them, “Sands of Serkonos” (featured below), also played during the end credits. I have not found credits for these songs, but vocals remind me of Jon Licht’s and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn’s “Honor for All” duet from the first game. Unfortunately, none of these songs make it onto the official soundtrack, and it’s worse off for that.
However, even with the lack of in-game songs, the final couple of tracks on the album are quite strong. “Brigmore Lullaby (Credits Remix)” comes from another piece of diegetic music in the game, but is transformed into a haunting song, featuring airy vocals, a catchy bassline, and an appropriately simple – if creepy – melody, arranged by co-creative director Raphael Colantonio. The other closing track, “Gold Dust Woman” essentially replaces “Drunken Whaler” in multiple ways: it was also featured in the game’s trailer, and again the song is a Copilot Strategic Music + Sound cover, but this time it’s of the 1977 Fleetwood Mac song. Although even the original works very well with the score, Licht has replaced the harpsichord of the original with the now-familiar Mediterranean sounds and a powerful beat that helps it settle in comfortably with the other songs on the album.
While several tracks are not particularly action-packed, the instrumentation and melodies incorporated by Licht into the score keep it fresh and interesting. Additionally, the overall dreary mood is frequently broken by character themes and songs. The entire album only clocks about 35 minutes of music, so the highlights will not be hard to miss. Dishonored 2 Original Game Soundtrack can be purchased here on iTunes.
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Posted on January 22, 2017 by Emily McMillan. Last modified on January 22, 2017.