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Jukebox Heroes: Lineage II's soundtrack


Once again, I must begin this column by advising you to jettison your attitude toward an MMO when it comes to evaluating its music. Lineage II doesn't have the rabid following in the West that it seems to overseas, and I've heard a lot of negativity thrown its way (some of it quite deserved, but this is me jettisoning). However -- and I don't say this lightly -- its musical score is absolutely superb. It's right up there with the best of the industry and deserves to be heard.

Its many soundtrack albums have a small army of composers powering them: Bill Brown, Jamie Christopherson, Inon Zur, Hyobum Lim, Chihwan Kim, Junyup Lee, Junghwan Park, Junghye Hong, and Changbeom Kim. Collaboratively, these folks have assembled a sizable body of work that spans a decade of video game music.

The Lineage II soundtrack is, at times, cinematic, tranquil, lovely, and exciting. Check out these six tracks for a taste of the best, and if that interests you, you might want to listen to my recent Battle Bards podcast in which we dissect this score.

1. Praise the Victorious Knight

I love how this begins; it's all high energy and triumph, and it gets me pumped up. It's not a very technically complex tune, but sometimes direct and energetic is the way to go. I've heard it compared to the famous Pirates of the Caribbean music, and I can sort of hear it. That doesn't diminish it, at least not in my eyes.

2. Unicorn's Rest

OK, putting aside the Trapper Keeperesque name and the Elven association, this is a very pretty song that seems to have a lot of fans. It's a soft, slow melody that trickles in a female vocal from time to time. My brain keeps trying to categorize it with both Lord of the Rings and Enya, if there's a combo category for that.

3. Island Village

Wow, talk about catchy. This tune just gets in my head and does a few laps around my brain while I furiously try to dislodge it. It's got a wedding ring to it, don't you agree? I mean, someone somewhere probably walked down the aisle to this while having to awkwardly explain that the music game from a video game that Maw-Maw never heard of.

4. After the Storm

So here's where I make an audacious claim: I believe that Lineage II's OST gives World of Warcraft's a run for its money. I'm not saying it's better, mind you, but I have equal levels of respect for the output on display. I mention this here because After the Storm has a distinct epic fantasy push to it that sounds so much like WoW. It's a great piece on its own, too.

5. Marching with a Kitty

Oh yeah, we're not going to be serious with this track at all. It's a playful, almost circus-sounding tune that gives the musicians a lot of sugar and sees what they can pump out before they crash. I like how it speeds up toward the end, frantically getting the notes out before the whole thing comes to an abrupt halt.

6. The Labyrinth in the Garden

Since we're heading into Halloween season, I'm going to leave you with this eerie track that's got the holiday vibe down pat. The harpsichord, violin, piano, and background moaning all paint an image of a completely still field in the moonlight. Maybe something bad is going to happen, maybe not, but there's magic in the air no matter what. Great track.

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!

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