If there’s one thing Bungie leaving Microsoft has instigated into the Halo franchise, it’s a sense of closure, of a definitive end. Like a funeral, Halo: Reach has allowed series stalwarts and die hard 360 fan boys to grieve, to accept that all good things must come to an end.
Martin O’Donnell – audio lead at Bungie – also needs his moment of reflection. As he notes in the Halo Reach Original Soundtrack foreword “for more than ten years we (Michael Salvatori – Ed) have been composing and producing original music for the Halo universe… we are proud to present you with our final Halo effort – the soundtrack to Halo: Reach“. It’s so concrete a word, “final”, but that is exactly what this is, one last hurrah for the aural accompaniment of the revolutionary first person shooter.
Combined into suites that reflect Noble Team’s missions, this two disc-er manages to give an impression of the entirety of the campaign through music alone, orchestrated to replicate the experience of the game proper as the player moves through the world around them. You’re reading the review of the soundtrack so you’ve most likely played the game already and know what to expect in terms of composition and mood, so I won’t go into that too much here. This offering provides the listener that work yet somehow manages to feel dynamic enough to maintain the atmosphere and excitement the score was always meant to invoke, in doing so this collection is a great success that fans of the series and audiophiles should pick up immediately.
If there’s a minor issue with the album, it’s that it demands your attention intensely. Like the game itself, you need to give it your all, this is not an easy listening experience. Though the main lilt is towards orchestral, the soundtrack is peppered with electronic beats, shifting thematically too many times to be the kind of disc you can pop on in the background and let run its course. HR:OS is best when it’s just you and some decent headphones and no other distractions.
This is a fitting end then to the grandiose, bombastic music of Halo. A well designed and thorough package that feels as though it’s had a lot more effort poured into it than your average soundtrack, this is absolutely the audio send-off the series deserves.
MLG Rating: 8/10
Platform: Audio Release Date: 28/09/2010
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of Halo: Reach Original Soundtrack for review purposes by the label Sumthing Else Music Works. The title was reviewed over the course of five days on an iPhone using a set of high quality headphones. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.