Hands down, my favorite unconventional OST of 2013 goes to Power Glove for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.

Blood Dragon is stand-alone DLC for Far Cry 3.  FC3 was a great game.  Meaning no disrespect to Brian Tyler, however, I had to turn that music off (more on the reason why in a moment).

Blood Dragon pulls together the best of 80s sci-fi – lots of fluorescent lights, a brilliantly written satire of the decade in which I grew up.  However, the visuals and story would go nowhere without Power Glove’s music.

Let’s start with the menu music.  You’re instantly transported far away from 2013 as the layers of music and reverb unfold.  The synths are amazing, and if I’ve learned anything from my conversations with Jesper Kyd, it’s that I know nothing about synths.  I’m not even gonna try.  I’ll stick to talking about the music itself.  Take a listen:

Blood Dragon menu

Listen: Blood Dragon Theme (Reprise)

The moment I heard that menu music, I fell in love with Power Glove’s soundtrack.  And it keeps getting better.  Their tracks are mixed perfectly.  I wanted to turn it up.  OMG SO BAD.  But Ubisoft isn’t in the habit of giving players control over the audio, other than turning it on or off.  No options to futz with the volume.

So uncool, Ubisoft.  It’s one thing if an audio team mixes the music with the game exactly how I like it.  However, no one does.  I reckon this is why developers tend to give us the choice to adjust the volume, because we all have different tastes.

In FC3, the music became so overbearing at times I had to turn it off within the first 20 minutes of game-play.  All I truly wanted was to turn it down a little.

In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, another Brian Tyler score, I’d prefer to have a bit more volume for the majority of the game.  In addition to Tyler’s score, there are dozens of shanties the crew sings.  The audio mix is too low, especially for the crew songs.*

Shanties aside, it does a disservice to Tyler in both cases.  In FC3, I felt I was missing out on a big piece of the puzzle with the music muted.  In Black Flag, there are times I find myself straining to hear nuances of the score.

It can’t possibly be that complicated if many games come with the option.  When I encountered the issue in FC3, I thought, they must’ve run out of time.  True story.

I wanted to turn Power Glove’s Blood Dragon music up, and that thought flashed through my mind once every 10 minutes or so of game-play.  Power Glove – you are serious musicians.  Not that you need to hear it from me.

Power Glove manipulates lots of themes in different ways.

Listen to the transformation of Rex’s theme between its original form:

blood dragon 1

Listen: Rex Colt’s Theme

And the piano version:

blood dragon 3

Listen: Cyber Commando

Finally, listen to Warcry.

Sleeping Dragon” is another favorite, complete with synth flute.  Love the synth flute. It makes me want to watch Blade Runner or play with my Speak and Math or something.

Power Glove’s soundtrack immersed me into the Blood Dragon universe, so much that I wanted more.  I hope Ubisoft takes that into consideration in the future.  I mean, not that I personally would like to have volume control, but that several of us might?  Have you encountered this frustration before (in current gen games)?

*Correction: In a fit of frustration last night, I went to the audio options in ACIV because I was having trouble hearing the dialog.  Turns out I can adjust the volume of the music, sfx, etc.  My sincerest apologies for the error.  I immediately turned up the tunes.

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Emily Reese is an on-air host for Classical Minnesota Public Radio. She is also the host and producer for Top Score, Classical MPR’s podcast about video game soundtracks, and created MPR’s Listening to Learn series. She earned an undergrad certificate in music education and jazz studies from the University of Colorado — Boulder, and a Master’s degree in music theory from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Emily lives in Twin Cities with her cats Atticus, June Bug and Lee, and loves gaming, with or without friends.