Remember when this is what Mass Effect sounded like?
There was a time when the story had a fairly straightforward theme, using electronic and orchestral sounds to draw us into a sweeping space opera with dark tones around the edges. Back then, of course, it was a more straightforward story.
It was a theme in an even time—a nice predictable 3/4—and it moved with a melody you could hum. It was a theme you could take with you, as a Spectre and member of the Alliance Navy, to march into battle against a single, known enemy.
But as we all know by now, the story of the Mass Effect series doesn't stay simple. It twists and branches, and the reapers eventually become a threat too devastating to imagine on a scale too wide to understand. But it's still Commander Shepard's story, and it's still Mass Effect. So where does the music go, as Shep shifts from new Spectre, to would-be pawn of the Illusive Man, to humanity's—or, really, the galaxy's—last desperate hope?
The series spans between 60 and 90 hours, across three games, and pulls many very cool musical tricks during that time. But some of the simplest are also the most effective. So where does the main theme fit in over the course of it all? Here are some of my favorite highlights.