Welcome to Front Towards Gamer’s video game music retrospective, Game Music Corner. Each article will feature some of the best that video game music has to offer, from the NES to the PlayStation 3 and everything in between with some of gaming’s greatest melodies.
Leaving Earth is the first track highlighted, and for good reason. You’re being introduced into the world of Mass Effect 3, leaving the Reaper-infested Earth to try and unite the entire galaxy. The solemn and chilling theme escalates with distinct horn sections when the Reapers fire their lasers, working spectacularly well as you see the Reapers rain hell on Earth. The pain you see in Shepard’s eyes is made even more dramatically sad by the ramped up music, and you almost just want to go down fighting with Anderson.
Mars is next. After leaving Earth, you have to get your ass to Mars to investigate a Cerberus cluster of activity. Turns out, Prothean plans for a superweapon to stop the Reapers is found, and it’s the galaxy’s top priority to uncover its secrets, including your former allies, Cerberus. The music starts out small and subtle, but as you face contacts with Cerberus, the music hypes up into some intense battle scenes, and invoking a sense that you’re not seeing the whole picture.
Next up is Sur’Kesh, the homeworld of the Salarian race. You’re here on desperate terms. Wrex, leader of Clan Urdnot, a prestigious clan among the Krogan race, won’t help the Turians (who in turn, won’t help the humans on Earth), until the genophage is cured, wholesale. You’re sent to save the surviving female Krogan, but your pals at Cerberus are doing what it takes to stop you. The high-energy tempo of the music adds to the sense of how little time you have, and what you’re up against, as Cerberus is throwing all that they’ve got at you.
Now we move to Thessia, the Asari homeworld. The music definitely brings a sense of dread, as the Reapers just keep appearing to become stronger and stronger with each planet you visit. You’ll learn some sinister secrets of the Asari, and face your worst Reaper nightmare yet: the Banshee. No matter what, you’ll be feeling like crap when this mission’s over, and the music doesn’t make it any better.
Last, and certainly not least, is An End Once and For All. I won’t spoil the circumstances you’re in at this point, but it’s a very distraught, sad time for Commander Shepard. If this piece was in any other medium, like film or television, it would be getting hallmarks out the ass. The song is the single greatest piece in Mass Effect 3’s repertoire, due to the mellow, depressing beginning, leading to a more inspiring end, with a roller coaster effect of ascending orchestras at the very end. A very fitting end to one of gaming’s greatest scores.