Art-books have been a long running companion piece for blockbuster video-games, like Square Enix’s latest title ‘Tomb Raider’, and one of the publishing giants that helps produce these books is Brady Games.
Brady has released two enormous books that launched alongside the hit reboot ‘Tomb Raider’. There are two editions that are available now, ‘Tomb Raider: The Art of Survival’ and ‘Tomb Raider: Limited Edition’. I got the chance to take a look at both of these installments and I have to say they are some of the best collections of concept-art and in-depth coverage I have ever seen for a video-game.
‘Tomb Raider: The Art of Survival’ is both an art-book and a detailed look at the character of Lara Croft and the settings of the game. Not only is it filled with stunningly detailed character-art, but it also allows readers the chance to here about the game straight from the creators.
The book is gigantic, this time literally, sized at 11.74″ x 8.73″ it is one of the largest art-books that I’ve ever had. Everything about the ‘Tomb Raider’ franchise has been remodeled, and if you have had a chance to play the game you already have seen how much work went into rebooting the franchise. I have always said that there is something more intimate about an art-book, as opposed to seeing the character-work and settings only in a game. I love the sound of pages and binding as it crackles when the book expandes for the first time and the way that high-quality paper smells when it is new and unwrapped. That’s not something you get with digital books anymore, and art-books should be read and collected, not just looked at it. That aside, this book gives you a chance to really appreciate the art-style and smaller details that the creators put into each set-piece and character. Having the commentary was a terrific addition, not only do readers get an ‘inside approach’ to the development of the game, but it was really enlightening to hear about each piece’s motivation and what influenced the artists. I liked to see how my own interpretation compared or contrasted to the artist’s original intent.
A lot of the art-work you won’t find anywhere else, it’s exclusive to the book and each collection is brought together while telling the story of the game, its creation and the story that is featured in the title. You can watch as each character or creature went from concept to final design, and a lot of the renderings of the early Lara Croft models were just as fantastic as the final-one that was chosen.
The ‘Tomb Raider: Limited Edition’ is bit more unique in-that it offers both digital and physical goodies. The physical assets include a hand-painted replica of Lara’s necklace that is featured in the game. It was just a great idea to include the necklace, I currently have been wearing it on my wrist for the past few days, and it has been recognized on the subway by a few Tomb Raider fans. As for the digital-realm, you can pick up codes inside the book for the multiplayer version of the game. This includes the ‘Scavenger Scout’ and the ‘Scavenger Executioner’ (the former being an exclusive for people who bought the LE book).
This book is a complete walkthrough of the game, front to back it offers every detail that you would need to perfectly survive the island. It also includes every challenge that you would need for 100% completion. Inside are extremely detailed maps of the multiplayer levels as well. Not only is this great just for helping you survive multiplayer, but if you are interested in level-design it really shows you some of the crafting elements that go into multiplayer arenas. The maps aren’t the only thing that will help you in multiplayer though, there are tactics, hints from the creators and tips for being the best online.
I mentioned before that you can get 100% completion of the game by using this book but I want to be clear on how this book helps you. It gives you coverage on all trophies/achievements, every secret tomb and every unlockable including the challenge tombs that are scattered across the gigantic game. This includes hundreds and hundreds of in-game screen shots which sit alongside perfectly detailed instructions and hints on every aspect of the game.
Either book was extremely well done but I would be amiss if I didn’t state how great these two collections are together. ‘Tomb Raider: The Art of Survival’ is something that I think any Tomb Raider fan or art-book collector should own, it’s just brilliantly done and beautifully designed. On the other-hand, the ‘Tomb Raider: Limited Edition’ survival guide is extremely functional (form and function, don’t make me choose!) and it is something that you would definitely want for getting the most out of Tomb Raider. Since the reboot did so well, there seems to be little doubt that a new series has been made by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix. Because of that, having the first collection of works from the first title in the rebooted series is just something I had to have and I’m very glad that I do.
Since both books were so well done and unique in their content, I couldn’t recommend just one over the other. That is why we reached out to Brady Games to give away a few sets to our readers. Brady Games was more than happy to accommodate our request and sent us a few sets to give away.
We will be giving away a few sets over the weekend to our beloved readers. If you are interested in entering to win, you can do any of the following:
You can RT the embedded Tweet below and we will pick random winners all weekend through Sunday 7pm EST. We have to message you to inform you that you won, so make sure follow @theslantednews and @brady_games so we can DM you if you are chosen.
— The Slanted (@theslantednews) March 22, 2013
You can even enter twice, or if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can also like our new Facebook page. Either way we will picking winners from both social-media outlets. If you want to enter via Facebook you can do so here.
If you don’t want to take your chances and instead are like me and just want to buy the books right away. You can get them at most online retailers. In fact, if you order from amazon they were even on sale when I wrote this review.
more info: bradygames