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A lovely ART book, but not the HISTORICAL tale I expected
on 11 February 2013
First things first- I know this is fiction, and by 'historical' I just mean that I wanted to get inside the creators of the franchise and read their thoughts.
Instead I got an Art book.
Long review ahead, skip to end for conclusion.
This book is BIG, a lot bigger than I thought but that's not a bad thing as it seems quite fitting for such a franchise to receive a grand appearance. The gold lettering on the front is reflective foil and is a rather nice touch. The darkhorse logo is stamped one the spine and on the back so the front cover isn't tainted (no offense to Dark Horse) by logos that it doesn't need.
However I would have liked a design similar to the collector's edition, and I don't mean the leather slip cover, but at least turn 'The Legend of Zelda' into the appropriate Hylian script as to give it a bit of mystery and let the owner feel like its part of the Zelda-universe. I understand that may put others off but who is buying this- Fans of the Zelda games, and as such I think more could have been done here.
My two biggest problems with this book are; WAY too much Skyward Sword and sorely lacking written detail. According to the 'official' timeline *SPOILER* Skyward Sword is the beginning and I suppose it makes sense to cover it in detail, but here's the catch- this is just an art book. I may be one of the few who expected this to carry a historical perspective from the developers, artists, writers, etc etc, and was a little bit disappointed to find art dominating each page with only tiny details regarding what the development process was or why the character was created.
Logic comes into play here as obviously every tiny piece of detail would make this a series of books, or a ridiculously expensive one at least, if everything was included. However cutting down the skyward sword content (which dominates a good chunk of the book) would mean more room for other detail, specifically when discussing the other titles.
Following SS we move into the 'official timeline' which moves from Skyward Sword to (eventually) Ocarina of Time and then splits into three seperate branches. This entire section is heavy in detail but its nothing I didn't know (bar the now confirmed timeline and where each game sits, and one reference regarding the phantom soldier in TP) so I returned to the thought of "who is this book for, casual fans?". Another thing to note is that some written (or typed, rather) detail is incredibly small and requires great light and the book quite close to read it, and before you ask my vision is quite excellent. Also the information is not the problem here, it is the LACK of information.
Following this section they return to art/detail on all of the previous titles which was painfully short in contrast to the Skyward Sword section. Perhaps they didn't have a lot of the original documents, but I find it insulting (to a degree) that Ocarina of Time (apparently an important part of the Hero timeline) gets two pages for heroes and at least 3 for Ganondorf. That isn't to say the detail here is bad as I found a lot of it fascinating, but why so short? This pattern continues for the rest of the titles and concludes with the Skyward Sword prequel Manga.
In conclusion I found that this book had a rather misleading title and my decision to buy it would have been different, I wouldn't have pre-ordered it so quickly, had a I known it was 80% art book and 20% information (a lot of it notes and common sense to any game fans). Personally I needed more information regarding older titles such as- why the Deku tree and not a nature sage? Why make the Kokiri immortal? Why is only one male born into the Gerudo tribe? It can go on, obviously.
I want to make it clear that I DON'T hate this book, in fact I enjoyed reading it but I felt slightly disappointed in its lack of information and its heavy coverage of Skyward Sword (a game some Zelda fans seem to dislike I might add). Maybe I should have done my research on the Japanese edition but I don't care much for spoilers so I chose not to.
At a push this book could achieve 4 stars but instead I give it a 3 1/2 stars.
Another reviewer (5 Star review) had a few notes at the bottom of theirs regarding what could be included to make it more special, and I completely agree with their choices as some extras (not just a manga) like sheet music would have been a wonderful touch.
Take it as you will.
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