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Category:    Home > Reviews > Special Interest > Videogames > Video Games Live – Level 2 (Shout Factory Blu-ray + DVD)

Video Games Live – Level 2 (Shout Factory Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: B+/B-     Sound: B/B-     Extras: B     Feature: B



I have seen a number of concerts live and on home video, but not many have been as creative and immersive as Video Games Live: Level 2.  Both the DVD and Blu-ray releases feature a video game centered concert experience that contains some of the best and most memorable game music of all time.


The concert features musical excerpts from such games as:

  • Mario
  • Zelda
  • Halo
  • Warcraft
  • Starcraft II
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Guitar Hero
  • Chrono Cross
  • Myst
  • Castlevania
  • God of War
  • Megaman
  • Civilization IV
  • Advent Rising
  • Mass Effect
  • Pong
  • Dragon’s Lair
  • Tetris


If you are a fan of video games this is not an experience to miss.  My only regret about this feature is that I was not there live; as it had to be a site to see.  The concert is not merely a stuffy orchestra, but rather features a host of instruments and musical talents.  World class composer Tommy Tallarico conducts the orchestra and choirs, while an interactive light, video and special FX show goes on around them.


The concert is explosive and certainly a one of kind event.


The picture and sound quality are not the best on this Blu-ray, with the picture (oddly) being better than the sound.  The picture is presented in a 1.78 X 1 Widescreen that looks pretty good (as far as new footage), being able to view every detail on the musicians and their instruments; though the classic game footage projected throughout the concert does not lend itself well to HD.  It must be understood, however, that 8-bit NES graphics were not meant for big screen High Definition.  The colors otherwise are bright with good contrast and dark inky blacks.  Sadly the 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio is not as immersive as it should be for a concert presentation.  The audio was crisp, clean and clear but felt restrained as bass was limited and the soundscape was lacking.  The mix is not bad by any means but as the audience comes from the rears and the orchestra mainly comes from the front I couldn’t help but feel the sound could have been more.


The DVD is a clear downgrade from the Blu-ray in every way.  The extras remain the same, but the 16:9 widescreen and Dolby Digital Surround just don’t cut it compared to the Blu-ray.  The image is not as clear and the audio lacks the power that the Blu-ray had.


The extras are impressive and insightful as they feature over 3 hours of features and include:


  • Composer, Game Designer and Celebrity Interviews
  • Behind the Scenes Making of Video Games Live
  • Never Before Released Game Trailers
  • Creator Commentary
  • Tetris 25th Anniversary Documentary
  • The Making of Dragon’s Lair
  • Exclusive Interview and History with the “Father of Video Games” Ralph Baer
  • A Private Party in Japan with Some of the Greatest Game Composers of All Time!


There was not an extra that I did not love.  It not only catered to music fans, but emphasized that this is a product for gamers.  Never did I feel the extras were useless or slapped together; instead they showed passion for the feature presentation.  Surely some were a bit over the top and odd, but fun nevertheless.


I would recommend this Blu-ray to any fan of games and music.  The music is excellent and manages to elicit nostalgia in a very graceful and epic manner.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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