BOOK REVIEW: The Art of the Mass Effect Universe

The Art of the Mass Effect Universe

Publisher: Dark Horse
RRP: £29.99
Published: February 2012.

From the Back:
The Mass Effect trilogy is a groundbreaking epic that has immersed gamers in one of science fiction’s richest universes. Now BioWare and Dark Horse are proud to invite fans deeper than ever into the Mass Effect saga with The Art of the Mass Effect Universe! Featuring concept art and commentary by BioWare on the games’ characters, locations, vehicles, weapons, and more-including Mass Effect 3-The Art of the Mass Effect Universe is the most complete companion available to gaming’s most compelling series!

Review It: The Mass Effect Universe is one of my three favourite Science-Fantasy / Space Opera universes (The others being Star Wars and Firefly) and is actually the one that seems closest to Science-Fiction to me. What really makes me fall in love with a setting, be it for games, films, series or comics is the feeling that a world or galaxy has been “lived in”. The Mass Effect Universe falls squarely into this category and not just from material surrounding the games but also from the wealth of textual, audio and visual information presented in them.

Which brings me onto this tome, over 180 pages of Pre-visualisation, concept art work and models from all three games. Clearly a huge amount of time and thought went into the pre-production of the Mass Effect Universe (evidenced for example by the fact that originally Asari Commandos were to have flowing robes … but this was dropped out of a sense of military pragmatism!) and this collection shows this off excellently with notes and thoughts from the artists, designers and producers of the game series.

What’s particularly nice is the fact that the images show unused concepts which help prompt a “what if” line of thought for the reader, though usually the end result was definitely the best option.

My main criticism of the book (and it’s relatively minor) is the fact that a lot of the material presented in Section 1 (Mass Effect) has already been published in the art book for that game. However, NOT including it would be a worse crime as (for one thing) Fans would NEED to own both books for the total view of the series’ design.

Another minor down point for me is that the book exclusively looks at the games and doesn’t include any material from the comic series’ for example. Coming from Dark Horse, I’d have liked a little insight into that side of the universe, particularly to see how the comics have influenced ME3 and vice-versa.

Overall, I think this is an excellent book for fans of Mass Effect, Science-Fiction / Space Opera art work or even concept work. The insight into thought processes and evolution of ideas is excellent for anyone interested in designing characters / locations or technology for any medium. Personally, this is on my pre-order list and I can’t wait to hold a physical copy in February.

Rate It: 4 / 5
Dry Slaps: 0
GS Reviewer: WedgeDoc

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: