The Total War games are characterised by an impressive scope, both in the scale and weight of their battles as well as the historical accuracy and depth, spanning centuries of warfare and it’s many innovations. The later games in the series also managing to make the swirling melees and dispassionate volleys of ranged weaponry surprisingly personal as you watch your tiny men face off against those of your opponent in stunningly choreographed individual battles.
Of course, what you want to hear over the clash of steel, arrows thudding into exposed flesh and men shouting google-translated phrases in borderline racist accents is a fantastic soundtrack, featuring authentic sounding instruments and stirring thoughts of the Battlestar Galactica remake’s excellent drum score.
As with all previous Total War games, Shogun 2 was scored by Jeff van Dyck. A well known videogame composer who first rose to prominnance in the early 90’s while working on several popular EA franchises such as Need for Speed and FIFA.
Recipient of a BAFTA award in addition to an “Audio Achievement” nomination at the “Develop” awards in early 2012, the man certainly knows his trade. Turning his hand to the instruments and styles of the era the game is representing with aplomb.
This seemingly slow and contemplative track has a darker undertone throughout, as times of peace in the game are merely the build up to inevitable war, it’s very much a case of the calm before the storm.
Prominently featuring the excellent drumming of TaikOz, the Austrailian Taiko group used for the soundtrack. Taiko being the Japanese for “Drum” (see what they did there?). This track instantly made me think of the excellent Battlestar Galactica remake’s drum heavy soundtrack, probably the most mainstream example of such percussion focused music.
For The Daimyo.
Drumming being once again the heart of the song, overlayed with ordered strings and almost panic-infused high notes of the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese flute.
This track always makes me envisage the build up to war, troops being gathered and moved slowly at first, more and more layers being added until a grandiose whole is achieved, then settled to task.
A veritable tour de force of instrumentation, infused with a wonderful energy making me want to charge a line of unruly peasantry in my tortise inspired armour and fantastic hat.