Wargroove 2 Original Soundtrack


Review by · May 10, 2024

The expectations put on a sequel are always great. The next movie has to be better, the next game has to improve the mechanics, the next book has to have even more suspense and tie up loose ends, and so on and so forth. Soundtracks, however, have a lot more freedom than most other elements in a sequel. If the original had a theme or an overall feel, the composer could maintain that theme to lend the sequel a consistent identity in a now-established series. Music and sound effects are just as much a part of the identity of a piece of media as anything else; for example, the theme for the Harry Potter movies is much the same between each movie. Its recurrence evokes a feeling of familiarity and identifies to the watcher that, yes, this is still Harry Potter.

Wargroove 2 and its soundtrack follow this idea, with composer Dale North choosing to keep the same style and musical sounds as the original. This style is orchestral with a lot of strings and flutes and percussion. Wargroove 2 sticks with this and relies primarily on said orchestral style. Yet it’s not an overwhelming orchestra. There’s a lot of restraint in the sound, as opposed to a game like Final Fantasy XV, whose combat themes are wild and tend to go all out.

Music in Wargroove 2 largely consists of various themes for characters called commander themes. You hear these themes whenever it’s the commander’s turn in battle. This is a common choice in strategy games, Advance Wars being a primary example. As a result, you’ll be hearing your character’s theme a lot as you plot and plan and strategize your way to victory.

Because the music is a bit restrained, it lends itself very well to being the sort of music that you would want to think to. This is important especially because turns can take a while, and you’ll be hearing the same loop many times. A good theme in a strategy game using this format has to get it right, and Wargroove 2 does an excellent job in this department.

Just because the music is a little restrained doesn’t mean it has no personality, however. Each song manages to also claim its own identity, and none of them sound too similar or recycled. Characters from the previous game have brand-new themes as well, keeping things fresh for returning players. This may seem strange to say, but the vibe of the music is restrained yet grandiose. There’s an eloquence to all of the tracks, yet they they never fully take over everything and become overbearing, which, as mentioned before, is integral to a strategy game where one has to think and strategize.

Another element in this soundtrack is a heavy use of leitmotif. Leitmotif, for those who don’t know, refers to a theme from a song that recurs in other songs. Commonly it’s a recurrence of the main theme. A fair number of tracks have a leitmotif of the theme, but it’s never overly done. It’s more so a nod to the theme to create a consistent-sounding element. Leitmotifs can be dangerous because if they’re misused, each song can feel like a recycling of a prior theme or melody. Dale North wisely implements the leitmotifs and uses them to great effect, which gives each character a distinct theme.

It’s worth mentioning that there are a couple of songs used in cutscenes that have a different feel to them, in particular the sad theme, “Words We Dare Not Speak.” This song is much more somber than the rest of the soundtrack, yet it still maintains the same theme and sound as the other songs. It has that powerful yet restrained feel to it that the other songs do, but contains within it a cohesion. You can tell by listening to it that this song belongs here. Themes like this one can sometimes go off the rails and be completely different sounding. But given the effort for cohesion Dale North appears to have put in, this song fits perfectly.

At the end of the day, the soundtrack to Wargroove 2 is excellent. It establishes what it is early on and keeps that same feel throughout without ever becoming stale. Despite being similar to the first game’s soundtrack, Wargroove 2 still manages to establish its own identity, which is in itself a difficult feat, but also shows the massive amount of skill Dale North has as a composer. This soundtrack comes highly recommended and if you do give it a shot, I can promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Zack Hubbard

Zack Hubbard

Zack is known in his friend group as, "The guy who plays weird games no one knows about." He loves all kinds of RPGs, listening to soundtracks, and pretending that he can fluently speak and read Japanese, as well as play the piano or sing.