8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great but flawed!,
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This review is from: The Art of the Mass Effect Universe (Hardcover)
"The Art of the Mass Effect Universe" more than the comics or books is directed at the really crazy hardcore fan. This is a beautiful edition with hardcover and good quality paper with great color and printing. When it comes to presentation the book is absolutely amazing, opening with three full page pictures with both male and female Shepard which are simply magnificent.
The book covers all three games. For each game we get to see the design process of all the "important" characters, races, weapons, locations, armors and even vehicles. Each page has a small piece of text offering insight into the thought that went into designing the various elements of this amazing universe. The text is informative, well written and a perfect companion to better understand the images.
Its truly captivating to see the evolution of some characters, like Saren or races like the quarians or krogan. There is a wealth of information here which is a pure pleasure for the dedicated fan.
Every fan favorite gets a bit more "space" like Garrus or Tali, Miranda or Legion with full page pictures with fantastic art which are all amazing work from the Bioware artists. The book also covers all of the ME2 DLC and its characters and locations, which I thought was a nice touch.
While there was clearly an effort to be thorough in trying to cover everything some flaws were glaring and a bit perplexing. Aria is strangely absent. Given a whole comic and ME3 DLC was devoted to her and she is even in the ME books its incredible how she didn't make it to these pages. She's a fascinating and fan favorite character with a fantastic design and her absence is a huge mistake.
Another very surprising thing is how little of the "villains" of the trilogy is present here. I'm talking about the reapers of course. A few pages are dedicated to the reaper forces but they deal with the ground "soldiers" only. There's no mention of Sovereign! How is that even possible? The stellar design of the reapers was in my opinion a huge factor of the success of ME, especially with Sovereign in the first game. They're menacing and imposing! Terrifying but strangely fascinating. The book not properly covering their design is unforgivable.
Other more "supporting" characters like Dr. Chakwas or Udina are also nowhere to be found although I suppose with the limited space and so much material its understanding. Also of note is how little attention was given to Liara. She gets one page about her design in ME3 only! Again, surprising and perplexing! But fear not, Kai Leng gets two full pages! Oh yeah baby!!! Right...
The book also has a problem in its layout. There's a huge number of images on every subject but most of them are small. I mean, really small! The weapons for example are shown in such tiny images its impossible to admire the fabulous design. Its a problem that plagues every page and I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to keep some images out and print just the best with enough dimension to be truly appreciated.
Now, this is still a magnificent art book and impossible to miss for someone who has enjoyed this universe for all these years. Its a great experience to see its evolution and how some characters could have been so different and how it all came together in the games we all love. The art is simply breathtaking and the information accompanying it priceless. So even with some flaws there is so much here that any ME collection cannot afford to miss this art book! But you cant shake the feeling that it could have been so much better!