Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide Soundtrack Review

  • Name: Civilization Beyond Earth Rising Tide Original Soundtrack
  • Label: 2K Games
  • Composer(s): Geoff Knorr, Grant Kirkhope and Griffin Cohen
  • Number of Tracks: 29

Just as it was with the Beyond Earth soundtrack, I managed to get this soundtrack for "free" when I purchased the expansion Rising Tide. You're able to play the tracks straight from Steam's music player or access the 320kbps .mp3 files from the "Soundtrack" folder which is nested within the expansion's directory (which for me is in a rather hard to find place: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Sid Meier's Civilization Beyond Earth\assets\DLC\Expansion1\Soundtrack).

Anyway, there are a total of 29 tracks on this album and like the base game's soundtrack it's basically split up into music for each planetary biome along with a generic suite of music. You also have the usual main theme (which is played in the main menu) and the intro music as well.

I love what the three Gs (Geoff Knorr, Grant Kirkhope and Griffin Cohen) have done with this soundtrack since overall it sounds more alien and more eclectic in terms of style. You can tell they've used a lot of sci-fi soundtracks for their inspiration and it feels fresh when compared to the base game's soundtrack. That's not to say I didn't like the base game's soundtrack, far from it; it's just Rising Tide's soundtrack is different, in a good way. As soon as you start listening to the first couple of tracks on this soundtrack, Reunited which is used in the introductory cinematic, and Rising Tide which plays on the main menu, you realise that there's a more optimistic tone to the score; you can almost feel that Humanity have become masters of their new home and their destiny when listening to this.

So in terms of new planetary biomes in Rising Tide, you have "The Old World" (which is the frigid planetary biome) and "The Young World" (which is the primordial, volcanic planetary biome). Both of these biomes have suites of music with a particular leitmotif and style. With "The Old World" music, much of it sounds magical, crystalline, slow and lonely - which is what you'd expect to hear when trying to imagine a barren, winter wonderland. There seems to be a variety of influences for "The Old World" tracks though. Often, I hear a lot of Jack Wall's Mass Effect soundtrack in this work (which is in turn inspired by retro sci-fi films), especially in the tracks "Terra Incognita" and "Ice and Conquest". The influences, don't seem to stop there since I can detect a faint trace of Star Trek or Marvel's The Avengers in "The Dendrite Frontier", a bit of Blade Runner or Vangelis towards the end of "The Old World (Ambient Late)" and a bit of David Arnold (at least his epic sci-fi film soundtrack work) in "Fractal Aquilon".

The music composed for "The Young World" consists of a mix of pieces that wouldn't be out of place in a WWII film or TV series such as Band of Brothers along with pieces (especially during the ambient tracks) that sound like they're inspired by retro sci-fi films or something like Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds. "Immortal" is a particular favourite of mine from this suite as it conjures images of Marvel's Captain America which is apt considering the Immortal unit in the game is a super soldier.

Finally, there's a generic suite of music that isn't meant for any particular planetary biome that's titled "The Abyss". Considering you get to explore and inhabit the oceans a lot more than you used to in the base version of Beyond Earth it seems appropriate that there's a suite of music dedicated to the ocean. A lot of the music in this suite sounds like relaxing New Age music with a lot of chimes and whale noises. However, there are a couple of tracks here that are perfect accompaniments to sea voyages or naval battles including "Upon the Expanse" and "Master and Commander"... er... I mean "Tidehunter". "Neptune's Glory" is also a great track to listen to if you like epic music.

Score – 8/10

The Three Gs have done it again in providing us with a fantastic sci-fi soundtrack that amazingly manages to feel fresh despite the work they've already done for the base game Beyond Earth. A diverse range of sci-fi and film music has obviously influenced the final product which means just about everyone can find something to love in this soundtrack.

If you own the Rising Tide DLC you'll get the soundtrack for free, so congratulations! Otherwise, the only way I know of is either through iTunes or Spotify.

[ Steam page for Beyond Earth: Rising Tide ]