Soundtrack Review: Expeditions: Conquistador – Atmospheric Euphoria
Whether you’re tremendously casual or hardcore as they come, everyone can agree that specific video games are fun because mechanics click, dialogue makes sense, environments resonate with atmospheric design, and so forth. Without some of these important pieces, a game feels hollow, lacking something that truly immerses you; music is one of those core pieces. Being exceptional by design, Expeditions: Conquistador garnered one of our highest scores and it pulled it off with an absolute brilliant musical performance by Leonardo Badinella.
Looking into the future, we at Leviathyn are trying to branch out by looking for different, interesting approaches to the gaming medium. Music is an important, integral part to the success of the industry and going forward, we hope to bring this new feature to you often. Please let us know if you enjoy the format and make sure to take a listen to the audio show below!
Brand New Audio Review!
Hailing from the great land of Santiago, Chile, this is not Leonardo Badinella’s first project. Showing off his experience with the historical culture and intense atmosphere Expeditions: Conquistador brings to the player, It was Badinella’s idea to instill the game with the mythos of his people, giving it what he calls that signature sound:
“Musically, I have access and knowledge of pretty much all the folklore from Latin America so imbuing some of that into the music was easy, but I did want to give the game a defining signature sound, and the result is a more contemporary reflection of what an actual mixture of music from that period would sound like.”
Having reviewed Expeditions: Conquistador personally, Badinella goes deeper and provides a more intimate take than he leads on. Every moment you’re traversing terrain, Badinella’s waves sweep over you, administering a familiar feeling that you couldn’t possibly know. Regardless, the music feels proper – natural even and with wholly unique scenarios that approach in virtually limitless fashion, Badinella’s tracks fit every situation perfectly.
Two of my favorite tracks, Conquistador and Xaltocan are often heard on the world map. Being an indie title, you’d think constantly hearing them would bring a bout of boredom, but that affliction never takes hold. Xaltocan begins with a twangy, string-play and, after a short wait, is followed up by an awesome wood-wind ensemble. The center of the track owns a brutally intoxicating melody that is only rivaled by Conquistador’s. Still holding as the most proud of the bunch, Conquistador could probably be considered the signature track of the game. Easily listenable in or out of the game, music would have to be your enemy for you not to enjoy this one.
Getting past the most popular tracks, Badinella again does an admirable job at affording atmosphere through sound. Cortes and El Estratega are common battle tracks, but harbor intensity that is both primal and critical to the task at hand. Voraz is also a battle track but is far more brutal, showcasing the weight of large sounds that make whatever you’re doing feel far more important than it might be. It’s amazing what Badinella conveys through sound and even more surprising that it matches the emotion of the scene almost perfectly.
Perhaps it’s unfair to consider that pulse-pounding tracks share the majority of most memorable when it comes to music you browse for. Certainly it’s not always the case, and Leguero proves that thought process is correct. Sharing a more studious and slow approach with Desalmados, both tracks have beautiful melodies that remind me of being strategic and, among other things, cunning. The big difference is that Desalmados eventually reaches a crescendo through slow build-up that delivers a punishing blow to the nethers. It’s a good pain.
Music helps make a game solid, that’s a fact, but perfectly tying in the tracks with specific scenarios and emotional states isn’t often done right. It’s obvious now, but Badinella had this to say about the creation process:
“My hope is that through the music I can generate an emotional state that will make you feel adventurous and deliberate and willful at times, other times nostalgic and lonely, and then again brave and fearless when needed.”
And without a doubt, he achieved that goal handedly.
Much as I gush about the soundtrack, there are very short snippet tracks here and there and some do sound similar to the other. Cibola is low-key and exploratory like Conquistador, but they do sound very similar. No Mas, Terruka and Azteca are all very short and probably won’t warrant much of a listen outside of the game, but they still play an instrumental role in the purpose of the game world.
33 minutes in total, the soundtrack to Expeditions: Conquistador is a worthy foray into the musical kingdom. It’s as atmospheric as it is addictive and even if you don’t constantly listen to every track, there’s at least a handful that will easily fit into your playlist. Available for $9.66 and/or at $1 a track, supporting Leonardo Badinella’s work is something every gaming supporter can feel great about.