Like the rapid deployment of a squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, the original soundtrack album for Halo Wars has made a pre-emptive strike, releasing a couple weeks before the actual game. This is also the first Halo soundtrack that's not done by Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori. Some game music fans may be concerned that the “Halo Sound” isn’t there. If your Spartan helmet has headphones, put it on and listen up.
Composer Stephen Rippy has previously done music for Ensemble’s Age of Empires III and Age of Mythology games. With Halo Wars, Rippy has successfully captured the spirit of what Halo music is expected to sound like, while adding his own touches. The result is a very listenable soundtrack album that has more than earned itself and its composer a place in the Halo pantheon.
Something I have noticed in the comments of reviews past is that many of you will put on a game as a must have. When spun from start to finish, the album plays incredibly well. There are the familiar Halo moments, punctuated with quieter, ambient passages, followed closely by more robust bursts of orchestra. Where as many soundtrack albums (game, movie or otherwise) sometimes suffer as listening experiences based on their running order, Halo Wars feels like the album was intentionally put together to give the listener a true and complete audio narrative.
Sumthing Else Music continues to lead the way as top publishers of domestic soundtrack releases with Halo Wars. The two disc set features 25 songs from the game on disc one, along with a DVD featuring videos, bonus tracks and nine of the game’s key music sequences mixed in 5.1 surround sound. Look, if you are a Halo completist, you probably got your hands on a copy of this disc before I did. If you love the game when it drops, then you should add this to your sonic arsenal. If you still aren’t convinced, then check out both Sumthing and Stephen Rippy’s sites for some free downloadable samples.