Guild Wars 2 Soundtrack Review

  • Name: Guild Wars 2 Original Soundtrack
  • Label: directsong
  • Composer(s): Jeremy and Julian Soule
  • Number of Tracks: 78

If you've been following this blog, you may remember the headaches I had in actually receiving this soundtrack in the first place. Like the Skyrim soundtrack, the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack was available from directsong but as a physical copy only. You're not able to buy a digital copy of the soundtrack as was the case with the previous Guild Wars - or Morrowind - or Oblivion - or (well you get the picture). This was directsong's first mistake.

Also, it took more than two months from the time I ordered the soundtrack for it to finally arrive at my doorstep. Disclaimers by directsong said to allow 4-6 weeks but it actually ended up taking longer. Only after persistent badgering of directsong customer support was I able to finally receive my copy. Yes sometimes inevitable delays occur but it would've been nice if they actually indicated from the start before you buy the soundtrack that there were manufacturing delays and that it would take maybe 2-3 months for it to arrive, not 4-6 weeks.

Anyway, enough about my gripes with how late the soundtrack arrived, how good is it? Well I like to think there are four types of tracks on the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack:

  1. Nostalgic tracks that borrows leitmotifs from the original Guild Wars
  2. Tracks that would fit quite nicely in an Elder Scrolls game
  3. Tracks with new styles and themes I've never heard from Jeremy Soule before
  4. Random, ambient fluff that you always find on these kind of soundtracks

So let us first start with Category 1 - the nostalgic tracks that sound a lot like Guild Wars 1. The original Guild Wars theme actually gets used quite a few times in this game - in fact the Guild Wars 2 login screen theme is a rehash of the original theme and doesn't vary much at all. Tyria Reborn and The Darkness will Fall are another two examples of music which incorporates the original Guild Wars 1 theme. Tyria Reborn is especially epic, sounding a bit like Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars at the same time.

My favourite of the tracks based off Guild Wars 1 though is Saga of the Norn which not only acts as a theme song for the mighty Norn in Guild Wars 2 but was in fact known as the Song of the Shiverpeaks in Guild Wars: Eye of the North. This is the fantastic track that was played when you finally completed the campaign and was my favourite track on the Eye of the North soundtrack.

Next we have the tracks that wouldn't sound out of place in an Elder Scrolls game. These are usually calm, serene and majestic themes that evoke the huge open world you can explore in these games. Tracks that remind me of the Elder Scrolls include Eir's Solitude, Mepi's Ranch and Melandru's Calm. Mepi's Ranch and Melandru's Calm sound like town music for Morrowind and Eir's Solitude would fit straight in the Skyrim soundtrack.

Then there are the tracks where Jeremy Soule has gone in new directions. These are tracks which aren't similar to music he's done in previous games. To me, most of Jeremy Soule's music is either very John Williams-like (heroic orchestral anthems with a heavy use of leitmotifs) or serene and slow like most Elder Scrolls music. Tracks that I believe fit in this category are the energetic, adventurous and optimistic Logan's Journey, the minimalist yet beautiful piano piece Lornar's Pass, the Enya-like A Land Restored, the happy Charr (happy Charr?!) theme Plains of Ashford, the magical and triumphant The Orders Unite and my favourite, the melancholic Ruins of an Empire. To be honest, Ruins of an Empire sounds the most similar to an Elder Scrolls track out of this lot but it's at 0:56 where it really shines.

The most impressive track of all though has to be Fear Not This Night which doubles as a theme for the new race in the Guild Wars universe, the Sylvari. This is the first track I've heard composed by Jeremy Soule that actually has lyrics and a top-class vocalist performing it! It sounds very similar to vocal tracks performed in the Dragon Age games and is definitely on par with their magnificence.

Score - 6/10

Overall the soundtrack is an improvement over the Skyrim soundtrack since while there's still the usual ambient fluff, there's a lot more choice and memorable tracks here. You have a track to set every mood and to evoke images of every race and land in Tyria.

If you wish to purchase the soundtrack you can do so via directsong.