Simply put, the score for Vampyr is as moody and melancholy as the game’s setting, but that fact is what sells this score as one of the best I have heard this year. From the moment the main menu loads and the slow strings create their creaking melody, you know you're in for an adventure that'll be filled with mystery, intrigue, and darkness.
The game is set in 1918 London where you, as Dr. Jonathan Reid (a recently-turned vampire), must learn how to live your new life as well as combat the outbreak of the Spanish Flu that has ravaged England. The darkness of the story is well represented in the music, featuring classical strings from cellist Eric-Maria Couturier, but still retains that early industrial-era sound that is so closely associated, at least in my mind, with that time. While mostly in place to provide a dark atmosphere, the composer Olivier Deriviere's music spectacularly rises to the occasion and provides a sense of chaos in combat, mystery as you complete your investigations, and horror at some of the more grotesque enemies you encounter.
Take for example the main theme “The Struggle.” It is the main theme mentioned earlier and perfectly showcases the various emotions you will feel while playing. A slow-steady build of strings provides a sense of mystery but when the driving, low piano kicks in at 1:32 you feel the danger that you (as Dr. Reid) is about to face.
While the music keeps a familiar tone throughout, there are a few tracks that vary, such as “Rich Neighborhoods.” The cello still provides the meat of the track, but it also incorporates an ambient synth similar to something you would hear in an '80s sci-fi movie. While tonally different, it still fits within the score because it symbolizes the transition into Vampyr's second half and the uncharted territory Dr. Reid is entering as he continues his investigations.
The final example is one of Vampyr’s combat tracks, "Insane Family.” It features a much more frantic string section with deep percussion that captures you in the action of battling one of the game’s harder bosses.
Has this soundtrack increased your thirst for more? Check out our full review of Vampyr!