Tan Dun has composed a breathtaking score with far more range of instrumentation and moods than on his other work Hero. Strings, horns, wooden flutes, and percussion add their voice to this work. The range of moods include somber, romantic, action, suspense, and some gold old “town” music – music fit for throwing on in the background while the group explores a town. This is especailly good for GMs looking for music for an Oriental Adeventures campaign, which can be hard to find. The track “Night Fight” has some amazing percussion and I use if for battles when appropriate. The track “Through the Bamboo Forest” has some subtle suspense to it. “Desert Capriccio” is very intersesting and has a very unique sound, one listen to it and you will find yourself trying to think up a way in which to incorporate it into your game. “To the South” makes me think of a Chinese village or town.
As DM said, this is a fantastic soundtrack if you’re playing Legend of the 5 Rings, or any asian-inspired game. For those types of games, the rating bumps up to a 5. That’s not to say that it isn’t good for other games as well. There are a lot of great tracks for ambiance, one or two for battle, and several tracks that are great for a somber mood. I gave this one a four because a lot of the tracks are very mellow and airy, sometimes not the best fit for a down and dirty fantasy game.