Monday, 8 October 2012

Lost in the Music: Torchlight II by Matt Uelman

Earlier this year, my so called friend Brandon thought it would be hilarious to buy me a small game from Runic Games called Torchlight 2 which inadvertently also got me the original Torchlight. So I begrudgingly started playing the game one afternoon and when I looked at the clock, it was 2 in the morning. I had since fallen for the game and was one of the many people who counted down the clock 2 weeks prior waiting for the game to go live. Since then I have enjoyed several fun hours playing the game online with my friends, and Brandon.

When I play games like Torchlight II I find myself not bothering with the music and turning it off completely so I could listen to other stuff or talk with my friends. However with Torchlight, I was compelled to listen to its soundtrack and I am glad to say I did. To describe the soundtrack in a single word, it would be, atmospheric.

Torchlight II is a very dark game in contrast to the original and the music reflects that. Matt Uelman was able to invoke the feelings of dread and desperation in the music. There is no track that makes you feel that there is hope for the future, that once the fight is done, people will go back to their lives and treat this as bump in their happy life. The closest we get to a happy, peaceful tune is the Enclave Morning theme, but even then it goes dark and depressing.

I have to give Matt Uelman alot of credit. He was a one man team working on this soundtrack and he did a fantastic job on the music. It is a great album to listen to, both in the game when trying to take down the Big Bad or just walking about doing nothing. As a single composer in a business where it is common for companies to hire bands or orchestra's he doesn't falter and is able to stand along side his AAA game peers. He is not the only one who does this however, but that is an article for another time.

This soundtrack is quite possibly one of the best I've heard in a long while. While I did say that Illusion of Gaia had a great game and was nearly flawless, that was for the Super Nintendo and since then games and soundtracks have changed. We expect games to have soundtracks that evoke emotions, much like the way the old games did. There are some games that do evoke emotions through their music and use it to play with them. The Assassin's Creed series is a good example of this.

If you are interested in playing Torchlight II, visit the Steam store today. Also the soundtrack is available free on the Runic games website.

Tomorrow, I introduce a new feature for Lost in the Music called 5 Bucks to Burn, where I take a look at indie game soundtracks that are good, but not long enough to warrant a full review. So come and join me as I scale a tower to confront god itself. This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.

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