The Art of the Mass Effect Universe (Book Review)

by: Travis -
With this year’s release of Mass Effect 3, many fans might have let The Art of the Mass Effect Universe book slip by their radars. Most gamers were concerned more about defending the universe from Reapers and attending support groups over the game’s ending. With hearts still broken, fans trudged forward with fond memories of past Mass Effect games when times were much simpler and the only problems were the Geth and Seren.

Published by Dark Horse Comics and compiled by BioWare, The Art of the Mass Effect Universe showcases concept art and rendered models from the entire trilogy that spans 184 pages. The images are separated into each of their specific games with sections ranging from party members and enemies to planets and ships. All of the favorites, such as Commander Shepard and the various Normandy iterations, are included with multiple concepts to final product. Each of the sections are accompanied with a small portion of text detailing design choices and insight into the development process. Some of the revealed development details are quite interesting with the context of having played each of the games, while snippets about design choices favoring sex appeal are not that insightful.

The introduction by Executive Producer Casey Hudson and Art Director Derek Watts accounts for the majority of the book’s text discussing the importance of concept art and how it has evolved through developing the Mass Effect trilogy. Beyond the introduction, readers will have to search for details concerning the art on display. The book clearly isn’t lacking a wide variety of art, however, some additional text to explain the stories behind their creation would have greatly improved the book’s overall content.

Each section displays a few large images with an assortment of concept pieces around them. The particular sections devoted to characters and species of aliens offer fascinating glimpses into their evolution during the creation process. The majority of the book follows the same layout, with a few exceptions in the pages that showcase various locations and planets of the Mass Effect trilogy.

The Art of the Mass Effect Universe serves best as a coffee table book for dedicated fans of the science fiction trilogy, while others might not find enough content to justify a purchase. Each of the art and concept images on display are all engaging and beautifully-created. However, the lack of more in-depth written content ignores a great deal of context for the images that would have been a worthwhile addition.

The Art of the Mass Effect Universe is available in digital and print editions from Dark Horse Comics.

The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

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