Wataru Hokoyama

" Welcome to Afrika "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the collector's edition

One of 2008's wonderful surprises is Wataru Hokoyama's Afrika. Afrika is a video game on the PS3 featuring faithful replications of much of Africa's flora and fauna. Much more to this point hasn't been said about this game. Wataru Hokoyama is a Japanese born composer/orchestrator who moved to the United States to study musical composition. His credits so far are slim to pick but if Afrika is anything to go by, we may be able to dream of another John Williams esque composer.

In that regard we must be honest to reply that Afrika indeed holds similarities, identical musical points to John Williams' music. Concert works will pop in your minds, the use of flutes will bring back happy memories, ethnical titled scores like Amistad and The Lost World will invade your brain on joyous occasions. This all leaving an aftertaste of John Williams inspired music. But where some of you would feel this like an insult, most of you will indeed cherish the fact that this results in a simply wonderful / enjoyable video game soundtrack.

The score itself is not a small one. A 104 piece Symphony Orchestra will take you on a journey through a game that will definitely pay off in its experience through its visuals and the lush orchestral score. From the wonderful main title experience in "Savanna" (watch out for the moment the flutes start to dance in John Williams fashion) to the magical tour of "Safari", this is John Williams in every regard.

"Base Camp" is a feather light example of a wonderful unison between percussion and chimes to create the most pleasurable effect while "Mission" re creates the feeling of Lost World's hunting escapades. But "Jambo Jambo" surely is the closest to John Williams you'll ever get. Whatever you think you expect from a John Williams, expect it here. It is magical.

The soft main theme returns in "Heaven", percussion appropriately states "Masai" while some threat of danger opens "Hunting". This is the most aggressive track of Williams inspired trumpet/flutes madness. This must simply be spectacular in the game itself.

The Star Wars sandpeople seem to wander around in "Okapi" while "Night Safari" is an eerie piece for scooping at night. The percussion surely holds James Horner Aliens influences in "Hatari". And the weird thing is, you hear different composers after a while because I would call "Big Five" an Alan Silvestri like fanfare cue.

By far the two most magical cues are the last. Horner strings glare around "Sunset" while the orchestra breaks open after a while in a resolving finish. And the return of the main title surely sends you off in heaven with "Afrika".

While the album is a short one, it is also everything Wataru Hokoyama has written for the game. It will be interesting to discover where all the music will be placed inside the game itself. Afrika is a wonderful trip around a vast open space, bringing forth a fluent orchestral concert performance that will surely win you over with its orchestral flavor.


1. Savanna (3.40) Excellent track
2. Base Camp (3.05)
3. Safari (2.50) Excellent track
4. Mission (1.49)
5. Jambo Jambo (2.05) Excellent track
6. Heaven (2.15)
7. Masai (1.40)
8. Hunting (2.02)
9. Okapi (1.32)
10. Night Safari (2.17)
11. Hatari (1.40)
12. Big Five (1.53)
13. Sunset (2.49) Excellent track
14. Afrika (3.48) Excellent track

Total Length: 33.29
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 16 votes - average 4.03/5)

Released by

Columbia COZX-331-2 (regular release 2008)

Orchestrations by

Wataru Hokoyama