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Robert Gray "Rob" (Germany)

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The Art of Dead Space
The Art of Dead Space
by Martin Robinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.39

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's disturbing... in a good way!, 3 Mar. 2013
This review is from: The Art of Dead Space (Hardcover)
For me the Dead Space games are kind of a mixed bag. The first one was an absolutely formidable horror experience. It was well crafted, superbly paced and much of the games art direction was inspired by classic sci-fi horror movies such as the original Alien and Event Horizon... which is always a plus in my book. While Dead Space 2 retained the exquisite art and sound direction of the first game, it was way to much focused on action packed gameplay. From what I hear and see, Dead Space 3 is even more of a departure from the original. In this sense Visceral Game Studios lost me as a customer. But as soon as I saw The Art of Dead Space on Amazon, I was sold. While I don't like the direction the team took for the gameplay, I sure as hell still dig the look of the Dead Space universe. I was very exited when I got this art book and let me tell you something straight away: It's disturbing... in a good way!

The Art of Dead Space is a beautiful 192 pages thick hardcover art book. It features 10 chapters (11 if you count the acknowledgements chapter in) of unprecedented horrors, from almost all Dead Space with a clear focus on Dead Space, Dead Space 2 and naturally, Dead Space 3.
I especially like all the insights and art about the world the team created, with all those brands, cultures and companies like EarthGov and the Unitology.

If I had to name one gripe I have with this book, it's that AGAIN there's just nothing about user interface design. Since the UI in Dead Space is so beautifuly integrated into the game I would've loved to see some insights about the development of this Scafleform 3D User Interface.
Another problem is that the book can feel a bit cramped at times, since it basically covers three games and it's not always clear if you are looking at the art of Dead Space 1, 2 or 3, especially if you haven't played all games. I thought The Art of the Mass Effect Universe did a better job at displaying the art of it's trilogy, by having dedicated chapters for each game.

With that said: Trust me when I tell you that you really don't want to eat while flipping through this book. I thought The Art of Alice Madness Returns was disturbing. The Art of Dead Space is a whole nother league. The things you will see in this book make a visit to a slaughterhouse seem like a nice recreational activity for the whole family. Images in this book can be so gross, there's just no way to describe them. In fact I would have a hard time to tell anyone what that thing was I saw on page 93. It's that inexpressibly repulsive.

All in all there's really no good reason not to buy this book, especially if you are a Dead Space fan. Of course this book can be very gross at times, but such is the nature of the game.

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.


The Art of Assassins Creed III
The Art of Assassins Creed III
by Andy McVittie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If anything, this book made me want to play Assassin's Creed again., 15 Feb. 2013
First things first: I feel like I am the only guy in the world, who actually doesn't like the Assassin's Creed series. While I'll admit that the first Assassin's really cought my interest, I never came around finishing it, because it felt like a chore halfway through the game. Then again, maybe my interest in the game was more of an interest for Jade Raymond, the producer of the original Assassin's... Anyways. I have never played another Assassin's Creed since.

What I do have, is the The Art of Assassin's Creed 3, and it's one of the most beautiful art books I own. I got this as a christmas gift from my parents and I love it! It's glossy white hardcover binding displays a big red roman three with the Assassin's Creed logo shimmering behind it. It looks very artsy and draws your attention towards your book shelf. The harcover is protected by a paper cover which displays a snowy peace of art.

The book has 7 distinct chapters ranging from the art works for the present day part of the game, over the forests, frontiers and cities of the game (e.g. Boston and New York), to the vast battles at the sea. You will get an inside look into the characters and some of the weapons of the game as well. From all the chapters inside the book I particularly loved the ones about the forests and generally epic landscapes of the game.

I really like that this art book feels like a story in its own right. It's perfectly set up and features lots and lots of insight into the development of Ubisoft's blockbuster AAA title. Almost so many insights in fact, that I feel every Assassin's Creed fan should definately get this book, just to make sure not to miss out on anything.

I can only give this book another whopping 5 out of 5. If anything, this book made me want to play Assassin's Creed again. Awesome job!

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2013 11:46 PM GMT


Art Of The Darkness
Art Of The Darkness
by Marc Silvestri
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars If you are a fan of the original comic [...] you'll really enjoy this book. BUT..., 15 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Art Of The Darkness (Paperback)
Okay, here I am writing a review about an artbook, which I thought would feature an extensive look at the art of the game The Darkness. Long story short: I was wrong. There are, hands down, just 6 pages which feature a look at the conceptual art from The Darkness video game from Starbreeze studios. That is not much. At all.

Still, the book has an interesting format - almost square - and very high quality paper. The cover features one of the coolest artworks already and The Darkness logo type is an embossed printing. It just feels beautiful and looks really nice and shiny.

The majority of the content is about The Darkness comic and not at all about the game, but I can't help but appreciate all the artworks from all those different people, who created the world of The Darkness. If you are a fan of the original comic, I have a strong hunch, that you'll really enjoy this book. It is also quite easy to find for a reasonable price. Please add another 2 stars to the rating if you consider this release for the comic book artworks. However as an art book for the game this book fails pretty hard, especially since it promises an inside look into the conceptual art for the game on it's cover.

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.


The Art of Alice: Madness Returns
The Art of Alice: Madness Returns
by R.J. Berg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.66

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't praise this book enough. Go get it now., 10 Feb. 2013
I am a big fan of the original Alice game by American McGee. It was a dark and gritty interactive depiction of Wonderland and it's o so many weird inhabitants. Even back in the days when the Quake 3 engine was still at large, the game's art design was exceptional with mind boggling level design, colourful environments and very organic structures. Alice: Madness Returns tried to recreate these wonders for the current generation of consoles. In my opinion the game itself was not nearly as fun as the original game, yet still good in its own right. However the art design was once again the star of the show and I was pleased to see that Dark Horse Books was also going to release an art book for the game... and what an art book this is!

The Art of Alice: Madness Returns features a hard cover binding and its 184 pages are of very high quality. The book feels and looks phenomenal. The Art of Alice: Madness Returns features six distinct chapters and an introduction written by American McGee himself. The art presented in this book ranges from pre-production drawings, to high fidelity environment images (London and Wonderland), character concepts (literally every single character from the game seems to be in this book!), world object design and so much more. Small descriptions beneath some of the artworks will explain the things you'll see, which is a good thing and something I really missed in art books from Blizzard entertainment.

The art in the book can be best described as Wonderland meets HP Lovecraft meets MC Escher. There are so many weird contraptions, impossible structures and otherworldly creatures to be witnessed in this book, that your mind will be blown halfway through the pages.

Please, make no mistake. This book as well as the game itself is by no means anything you should show your kids. The images in this art book can be very aggressive, gross and - in layman's terms - generally eff'ed up. Even the cover itself may be enough to invoke nightmares in a child for weeks to come.

The Art of Alice: Madness Returns has got to be the best art book in my collection as of now. You can still get this phenomenal book via Amazon for a very good price. I can't praise this book enough. Go get it now.

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.


The Art of Fallout 3
The Art of Fallout 3
by istvan pely
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too bad the book doesn't keep up with the quality of the game itself., 10 Feb. 2013
This review is from: The Art of Fallout 3 (Hardcover)
To tell you the truth: I was highly sceptical when I saw the first footage of Fallout 3 back in the days. I thought it looked kind of drab und and quite frankly at first I thought looked like an elaborate The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion mod. The weeks, months and years went by and at some point I bought the "Game of the Year" edition of Fallout 3. People seemed to really like it and I wanted to know what that buzz was all about. Thank God I did: Fallout 3 is an amazing gaming experience and a lot of it's appeal comes from the drab, dead and desolate world that surrounds you as the player all the time. The game features some stunning sceneries and revolting enemy designs. I felt it was my duty to get the art book for this wonderful game. Too bad the book doesn't keep up with the quality of the game itself.

The Art of Fallout 3 itself is a 95 pages thick" hardcover art book, extremely small in size (around 8 by 5 inches). That has got to be one of my major gripes with this art book. Of course you need to bare in mind that this book was actually part of the Fallout 3 collectors edition and more often than not, they don't sell these in packages fit for an A4 sized book. In this particular case that's too bad, because the actual art in the book is wonderful. The art and design team of Bethesda really nailed the apocalyptic scenario of this open world RPG. The book contains a variety of art ranging from the blasted landscapes, weapons and armor, to architecture and storyboards all throughout 9 chapters. Also, a small V.A.T.S. montage can be found in the storyboard section.

Considering that a sealed book from Amazon.com will set you back around 70 bucks, I'd say go on a hunt for it at ebay. Over there you can get the book for a very fair price.

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.


The Art of Darksiders
The Art of Darksiders
by Various
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Almost 300 pages of some of the best art you will find in the industry, 10 Feb. 2013
This review is from: The Art of Darksiders (Paperback)
Darksiders the game can be best described as The Legend of Zelda meets Diablo. Gameplay is king and Darksiders delivers in that regard; But it also delivers in terms aesthetics. This game is oozing style and when I had the chance to buy the accompanying art book: I jumped on it. And so should you.

The Art of Darksiders would be the pinnacle of artbooks if it wasn't for the cheap paperback binding they went for. This thing is massive, packed full with the biggest variety in art you will find in any video game art book to date. There are sketches, scribbles, drawings, 3D renders, concepts, storyboards, beautiful promotional illustrations and so much more all throughout a whooping 288 pages! That's almost 300 pages of some of the best art you will find in the industry.

The Art of Darksiders features 10 chapters: Illustrations, Characters, Creatures, Bosses, Environments, Weapons, Artifacts, Icons, CG Gallery and Key Visuals. As you can see there is a ton of variety when it comes to content and I just love some of the dark, twisted, hellish things you'll see in this bad boy. As it stands - in terms of content - this book is an ultimate beast. Needless to say, I am already looking forward to The Art of Darksiders 2.

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.


Duke Nukem Forever Limited Edition
Duke Nukem Forever Limited Edition
by Brady Games
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The art across the 100 pages is kind of a mixed bag, 10 Feb. 2013
Duke Nukem Forever. The supposedly vapourware title that would've never been released i fit wasn't for Gearbox Software and it`s charismatic CEO Randy Pitchford. In mid 2011 Duke Nukem Forever actually hit the shelfs... and rock bottom. The game got abysmal reviews by critics and gamers alike. However if you keep an open mind about Duke Nukem Forever, you will see that the game offers quite some joyful moments and that there's a lot of variety in terms of level design, especially considering it's DLC The Doctor Who Cloned Me. As a hardcore Duke Nukem 3D fan I was really looking forward to any type of art book for this special game. That said I ordered the Balls of Steel Limited Edition Guide to the game, featuring the History, Legacy & Legend - Duke Nukem Forever - Art from the Vaults section.

The book is an extensive, around 350 pages thick game guide. The guide has a hardcover binding which is not of the best quality and the pages are very thin. Overall it feels very cheap. About 100 pages are dedicated to the games art. Of course in this review I will only talk about the book`s art section. The Art from the Vaults section is divided into 6 chapters. You will get an insight on the development of the Duke himself, his arsenal, aliens, allies, environments and more.

The art across those 100 pages is kind of a mixed bag. Some drawings are really, really good - very detailed and lovely laid out. However some of the stuff looks kind of bland and soulless. I kind of get the feeling that this has something to do with the game's horrendous development cycle, artists that came and went as well as a certain lack of focus and overall goal.

One thing I would've really loved to see more of, is the evolution of DNF's art. I would've loved to see some more progression shots (1998-2011), especially in terms of level design.

However looking at the art in this book, it really shows how much creative power went into this game. There are many details and cool stuff you can find, especially in some of the scribbles. At times it really makes you wonder what went wrong with the actual game... Here's hoping that Gearbox will not let the King (Duke) die like that. I am looking forward to the next Duke Nukem game and hopefully a nice art book will accompany it. Considering that you can get this book for about 5 bucks, I'd say if you are a Duke Nukem fan, snatch a copy. If you're not a fan, there's not too much this book has to offer, except for a few nice pieces of art and titbits on the game's development.

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 17, 2013 8:35 PM GMT


Alan Wake Illuminated
Alan Wake Illuminated
by David Hodgson
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars This book is the pinnacle of what I consider a `Making of', 10 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Alan Wake Illuminated (Hardcover)
Alan Wake was one of the best gaming experiences I have ever had. It's superb plot was only rivaled by it's elaborate world design. The game world of Alan Wake felt like a real place. I have spent hours and hours in the woods of Bright Falls and the environments were varied enough to easily make up for the kind of repetitive gameplay. I was kind of lucky when I had the chance to snatch a copy of Alan Wake Illuminated when it was on sale on Amazon. Without wanting to spoil this review too much: This book is the pinnacle of what I consider a Making of.

Alan Wake Illuminated is essentially a big hardcover making of book for Remedy's psychological action thriller game Alan Wake. Throughout 176 pages and 8 chapters of beautifully laid out artworks, screenshots, renders, photographs and scribbles, you will find just about every insight you would want to hear as an Alan Wake fan: starting with early ideas for the game (did you know, that in a prototype stage the game was set in an open world fantasy environment?) up until unused materials. The latter is filled with awesome stuff that didn't make the cut: A runaway train mission, a UFO and wildfire scenario as well as a plane crash and much much more. You will find screenshots and artworks for these unused materials.

Of course with all these information so heavily focused on the actual making of, you have to make some cuts when it comes to artwork. Since the book is not marketed as an official art book I can't really consider this a negative. Although this book is a little text-heavy, I'd say go grab a copy if you can. Last time I checked it was still available on Amazon, bundled with the official game guide. If you are an Alan Wake fan and want to know just about everything about this game, you should not wait any longer and get it. This is the type of book I would've loved to see for Duke Nukem Forever. If you are just here for the art I'd say you might be a little disappointed.

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.


Awakening: The Art of Halo 4
Awakening: The Art of Halo 4
by Paul Davies
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A visionary experience, almost hard to believe it's all fiction., 10 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Halo has been around for quite some time now. I still remember seeing the first Halo trailer, when it was planned to be a Mac game... Yes, it's been a while and Halo has come to be one of the biggest console franchises ever since. One thing all Halo games (and movies, books etc...) have in common is the spectacular, well crafted sci-fi universe they are set in.

Halo 4 set out on a mission similar to that of the first Halo game: Halo 4 is an adventure, deep into an unkown world, uncharted by mankind, so alien yet so beautiful in display, that you can only admire its presentation.

The accompanying hardcover art book Awekening: The Art of Halo 4 has 192 pages and features 5 chapters: Environments, UNSC, Covenant, Forerunner and War Games. Each chapter speaks for itself, the later (War Games) is dedicated to the game's multiplayer environments and war assets. The book depicts a wide variety of art fidelity, ranging from scribbles and scetches to beautiful full feature drawings, I'd seriously consider to put them on my wall, if I had the space. Almost every page has a few lines of explanation. Only few pieces of art have some kind of caption to it, other than the artists name - but credit where credit is due!

Just like the game, Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 takes you on an adventure to another world, only to make you realize how a dedicated game development art team, can craft a visionary experience, almost hard to believe it's all fiction. You should definately get this book if you are a Halo fan and it's a must have for all art book fans.

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.


The Art of the Mass Effect Universe
The Art of the Mass Effect Universe
by Various
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.39

4.0 out of 5 stars This book is a sci-fi-art fan's dream come true., 10 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So the Mass Effect series is massive. You get that form the name and you definitely get that from playing the game. There is just so much to the Mass Effect universe that you can't grasp everything in one - or can you?
The Art of the Mass Effect Universe definitely tries to give an extensive insight on the art about the critically acclaimed role-playing titles from Bioware. The hardcover book has 184 pages packed full of art from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. Just like The Art of Alice: Madness Returns this book from Dark Horse is very high in quality: Thick glossy pages, a nice format and a wide variety of artworks, from scribbles to drawings, 3D models and so much more. You will definitely get your Mass Effect art fix from this book. I really love the scribbles for all the different alien races. Especially the Turian faces and Elcor body scribbles had me laughing out loud. Trust me, there are some hilarious concepts in this book.

You will find at least one artwork for `almost' every location from all three games, as well as character designs and many sci-fi structure and object works. This book is a sci-fi-art fan's dream come true.
If there's one gripe I have this book is that it's just not enough. Yes, I think The Art of the Mass Effect Universe could and should have easily been double the size to really give the game's vast universe justice. Again, there's nothing on user interface design and no word on prototype development and very early concepts. Something I am always interested in.

As it stands The Art of The Mass Effect Universe is a beautiful art book, you can easily snatch for a very good price. And if you're a fan of the games you should consider this book for all the additional insights into the game world as well.

I also own the so much smaller The Art of Mass Effect 3 art book which comes with the Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition. This book however is more like an excerpt from the full feature The Art of the Mass Effect Universe book. You will not find additional art in this small sized book, so you might want to pass this one.

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.


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