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Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 (Art Book) Review

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  • Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 (Art Book) Review

    Awakening: The Art of Halo 4
    Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 should be a rather self-explanatory name as to what it is we're reviewing here today. In case you don't yet fully understand, it is an art book full of concept art for Halo 4. Easy enough, right?

    Well, Awakening is a bit more than a traditional art book. For one thing, it's a hard cover massive beast of a book. At nearly two hundred pages long and measuring 9" x 11.85", you're looking at a good deal of content here. Put together by Paul Davies, a self-described Halo fanatic and veteran of gaming journalism, the images cover just about every aspect of Halo 4's production.

    Really, the art book is for the die-hard Halo fans out there. It's for the collectors looking to add to their collection of worthwhile art books, gaming related or otherwise. I don't normally check out art books. I believe the only other one I have is for God of War 3, which is more of a hardcover game guide with a slight emphasis on game art near the end.

    I have to say though that this is, at least in my opinion, a well put together look at the thought process behind the character designs, environments, weapons, and just about everything else in Halo 4. It's a bit difficult to say how close the team at 343 Industries came to fully realizing their original ideas to what made it into the game, as I haven't even played Halo 4 yet for myself.

    So what do I do instead? I spoil a lot of what the game has to offer by going through the concept art for the game. Why? Because of you, the reader and my wanting to let you know if this is worth your time or not.

    Yes, it's worth your time. It's up to you, however, if it's worth the $34.95 (USD) that Titan Books is looking for. The images contained within the book span all aspects of the game. There are entire sections dedicated to the game's various environments. A section dedicated to the design of the UNSC soldiers, vehicles, and weapons. Another section just for the Covenant, one for the Forerunners, and one for the game's multiplayer environments.

    Each of these are further broken down into smaller sections, including in depth looks at early ideas for Master Chief, early concept ideas for Cortana, and the other major players in Halo 4. The section dedicated to the game's environments takes you on a visual feast that shows just how much time and effort went into creating most of the game's levels. Another stand out section is the one dedicated to the Forerunners. Introducing a new enemy into the series is obviously no easy task for any company. The numerous concept pieces for this race really show just how far the final look is from the original ideas crafted by the team at 343 Industries.

    I've been a fan of the series since the start and the art contained here is especially interesting to check out. It lets long time fans of the series see how a new studio takes an already established series, already established characters, weapons, and vehicles and really makes them their own.

    The art itself is large, sometimes even spanning across two full pages. Other art shows a progression of the earliest concepts to pieces that are near-final and what is ultimately shown in the game itself. Many of the pieces are accompanied by brief descriptions of what you're seeing on the next page or two of art.

    If I had any gripe, here is where it would come into play. While there are some explantions offered up, I would have loved to have seen more text descrptions for what I was looking at. I would have liked to have gotten more personal insight from the artists as to how they came to create some of the pieces that are not accompanied by descriptions already. It's one thing to think, "oh, that looks amazing" and move on to the next piece without another thought. It's another thing to wonder "that looks amazing, but I wonder how they ever came up with this idea in the first place".

    It's a minor gripe, but it's one that I kept coming back to as I went through the book. Aside from that, however, I was really impressed with the art and how the book itself was compiled by Davies. Great for fans of the series, art book collectors, and those who are looking for a gift for the Halo fan that has most everything from the series already but doesn't yet have this book.

    Overall: 8/10
    Value: 7/10
    Presentation: 9/10
    Art: 9.5/10
    Insight: 6.5/10

    Relevant Links
    Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 on Titan Books
    Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 on
    Limited Edition with Print for Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 at Titan Exclusives

    Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 was provided to TGN for review purposes. We would like to give a special thanks to Tom G. at Titan Books for making this review possible.