The Top 25 Best Gaming Soundtracks of All Time: 2011 Edition: Number 25

Number 25: Dawn of war II

Starting us off at Number 25 is this beast of a soundtrack. Dawn of War II is a Tactical Real-Time Strategy game set in the grim universe of the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop games. When I say grim universe, I mean it. If this game ever featured a single blue sky or a rainbow, players heads would probably explode.

A game set in a grim universe needs a grim, serious soundtrack, and on that note the Dawn of War II soundtrack is just what was needed. If you've ever heard the phrase "epic music" used to describe a certain type of tune, or better yet loaded up a few youtube videos of epic music yourself, then you'll feel right at home with Dawn of War IIs gritty and unrelenting pressure.

The soundtracks biggest strong point is how much of an emotional reaction it pulls out of you. Some games have great music, but fail to pull the listeners into their world. Dawn of War II does not have that problem. From start to finish, this soundtrack makes your body tense, and the hairs raise on the back of your neck. This is a soundtrack that tells the world you mean business. There's no need to play the game to get the feeling that the time for battle is now. Take track seventeen, "Hunting the Hive Tyrant" for example. This song gets inside you, stirs up something deep and primal. It doesn't matter what comes at you, you're ready to face it head on and beat it completely. One listener said while listening to this soundtrack that this was a soundtrack that said "We are MEN" in no uncertain terms. He's right. Composer Doyle W. Donehoo, has hit a master stroke of emotional power with this one.

The soundtrack does have its flaws however. The composition doesn't change too much, and the songs begin to blend together with similar motifs and melodies. If you listen to this all at one go, especially with a crossfade you'll hardly ever notice the switches. Also, the soundtracks heavy attitude lends it to little else then desperate situations. I will say this now: If you clean your house to this, you may have issues. Or a very unhealthy view of the war on germs.

But these are really minor quibbles. Dawn of War II is a much better soundtrack then most out there. It is solid, complete, and free. This soundtrack may not be the ultimately rare ten pound diamond, but it is a precious metal of some size. Or more appropriately platinum armor, with a few bloodstains and bullet gouges. In a fight for supremacy, Dawn of War II earns its place on the top 25.

Dawn of War II
Enjoyment: 3.5
Stand Alone Quality: 2.5
Composition: 3
Emotional Reaction: 4
Non-Gamer Enjoyment: 1
Nostalgia: 0
Total: 3.5

Number 25--Dawn of War II by Doyle W. Donehoo

No comments: