Jukebox Heroes: Guild Wars Nightfall's soundtrack

Justin Olivetti
J. Olivetti|01.15.14

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Jukebox Heroes: Guild Wars Nightfall's soundtrack
Guild Wars
We're slowly but steadily working our way through the Guild Wars library, having already covered Prophecies and Factions in this space. It's time to move on to the third and final full campaign of the original game: Nightfall.

Nightfall has a special significance for me in that it was my starting point for actually going through the entirety of the game prior to Guild Wars 2's release. While I've never been a fan of desert and Middle Eastern settings, I must admit that Jeremy Soule's return to the score isn't something to be ignored. Perhaps there aren't as many stand-out tracks as in the previous campaigns, but on the whole the score is well above-average compared to many MMO soundtracks.

1. Festival of Lyss

While I've grown a bit weary of Soule's love affair with horns, at least that makes me really appreciate and notice when he brings in other instruments to take the lead. Festival of Lyss has an exotic sound from the get-go, a laid-back riff that captures the spirit of a warm celebration.

Because the track isn't beating me over the head with aggressive percussion, I feel welcome to explore it rather than retreat from it. I'll admit that it's not the most technically complex melody, but what it does well is create an atmosphere of welcoming and hope.

2. Resplendent Makuun

Maybe I just have an incurable addiction to all things xylophone? It must be that; why else would I choose this track as well? I've also always had a soft spot for tribal and New Age music, of which Resplendawhaa Makawaka reminds me. This is the perfect "background" music, something to put you in a good mood without making its presence known that much.

3. Dining in the Great Hall

This very short track stuck out to me because it sounds so much like one of the quieter moments in an Indiana Jones film. It's peaceful with a tinge of Arabian sound to it. Too bad it isn't developed further than what's presented here.

4. Guardian Sunspears

Out of the entire soundtrack, this particular tune is what I most associate with Nightfall. I think I must have heard it a lot early on in the game because that's usually when a melody gets cemented in my head. Upon listening to it for this article, I think it has a lot in common with some of Soule's work on Knights of the Old Republic, particularly for Dantooine. It's far more moody than catchy, but it's got this way of seeping into your skin and making you feel the music as much as listen to it.

5. On Harpies' Wings

"Man, Justin, won't you get some action in this here article?" you cry out.

Fine. Here you go. Sort of.

Trust me, I would put in more action riffs, but the ones that are in this score feel lacking to me. On Harpies' Wings at least gives us servicable rising action that might get the pulse pounding. It's a shame that it doesn't lead to anything bigger, but I assume that all of the yelling and swordplay would drown out the music anyway.

6. The Grand Cataract

This track feels more like Classic Soule (original formula!) than the rest: a mixture of horns and harps and effervescent joy. I really like how it ends on a mysterious note, as that uncertainty amidst beauty is another one of Soule's trademarks (and one I can get behind).

What Nightfall tracks are your favorite?

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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