PlanetSide 2 has a strange soundtrack, no doubt about it. For starters, the game is more about conflict and fragging than it is about lore and story. That's fine if that's its goal, but since so much about MMO scoring is driven by the story and places, it forced Composer Jeff Broadbent to focus on the factions instead. He then fractured the score into three parts, with each part sounding radically different than the others in an effort to underline a faction with a musical style.
Thus, Terran Republic tracks are all about orchestra and choir, New Conglomerate tracks use blues rock, and Vanu Sovereignty rely mostly on synth. The styles are so different from each other that I can't see anyone loving this entire soundtrack, but I bet anyone could find at least one part to enjoy.
Let's chew on these notes and spit out our favorites like the rough, tough music fans we are!
1. Main Theme
PlanetSide 2's theme will instantly make you think of space operas from Battlestar Galactica to Star Wars to Firefly to pretty much every sci-fi shooter that's been released in the past decade or so. That's not bad; it's a really stirring track that actually focuses more on a melody than mind-numbing percussion. I like how it works in hints of the three factions within it as well.
2. Terran Republic Deployment
The deployment themes are quick, exciting tunes that exist solely to get you pumped up about the imminent slaughterfest. I mean, if this track played every time I started up my car, I might get up to 80 mph before I even leave my subdivision.
There's definitely a military feel to this (and other Terran Republic tracks). I guess that anytime you get horns and rapid percussion together, it's going to evoke that connection.
3. Terran Republic Main Theme
Out of the three styles on this soundtrack, I probably lean toward liking TR the most, VS next, and NC last. The soundtrack kind of biases us toward the Terran Republic anyway, as its theme and the game's main theme share many commonalities. This track develops the main theme and then adds chanting, triumphant cues, and a killer ending. Out-freaking-standing.
4. Vanu Sovereignty Deployment
There's a lot to appreciate about the Vanu Sovereignty tracks if you have any affection for sci-fi electronica (for example, the Mass Effect or Faster Than Light soundtracks). It's a welcome respite from the percussion-heavy marches of the Terran Republic, and it conveys a soothing vibe while still having a bit of pep in its step.
5. Vanu Sovereignty Travel 4
Another comparable soundtrack to the Vanu Sovereignty themes would be Anarchy Online's score. Both are less concerned with action than with setting a mood and soaking you in it. This tune is haunting, even lonely, but lovely as well. It's also way, way too short for how good it is.
6. New Conglomerate Theme
While I'm not a fan of most of the New Conglomerate tracks, the theme is worth mentioning because it does strike a good balance of wailing guitar and funky stringwork. It's weird, but it almost feels archaic to me, more like something you'd hear from an action computer game in the '90s than in an MMO today.
There's a lot more where those came from, but that's all we have time for today! What are your favorite PlanetSide 2 themes?
MMOs aren't just about looks; they also have great soundtracks that often go unnoticed. Heroes don't stand for that! Every Tuesday, Jukebox Heroes will check out a game's soundtrack and feature the best tunes to share and discuss. Your DJ for the hour is Justin Olivetti, and the request line is open!