Martin Carr reviews Rise of The Tomb Raider: The Official Art Book…
This coffee table tome is reminiscent of those fancy photographic bibles produced by Taschen. Off limits to those who deemed themselves uncultured enough for a surreptitious browse. Something which Titan have thankfully sidestepped, whilst retaining the quality and discarding that highbrow elitism.
To label this book exhaustive is doing those behind it a disservice. Because Messrs Adams, Horton and Hughes have given large chunks of time and talent over to Lara Croft’s continued resurrection. There is a passion which pours through the prose, that at once sounds clichéd yet surprisingly honest. Which has the benefit of giving us an idea of how elements evolve over time. Not that anyone would be naïve enough to think such technically ground breaking games happen overnight. But as co-authors Andy McVittie and Paul Davies wax lyrical about the evolution Lara undergoes. We are given perfectly captured moments from a game in flux.
Whether that be locations, weapons, inhabitants, animals or otherwise. We are able to enjoy the game which unfolds, whilst being aware of spoilers over the horizon. In all fairness this piece of merchandise serves as much purpose as Master Chief’s Halo helmet. It is a collectable nothing more. Something to have on the book shelf or open on display as a conversation piece. However as burgeoning middle age creeps up, I feel the visibility of such pieces may form judgements before I have time to interject. Hence perhaps this is something to temper my inner geek away from prying eyes. Along with the Star Wars wallpaper, Hulk artwork and Alliance bathrobe.
But having said that Tomb Raider is the reason I have an Xbox One. Because what Crystal Dynamics have done with Croft, is akin to Capcom’s work on Resident Evil 4 for GameCube. I know that PlayStation bods will get their version soon but that is not soon enough. And before anyone says it I have owned PlayStations but not for some years. You see this is the first time where the transfer from page to screen is almost seamless. A lot of what you see between these pages is rendered in real-time game play. Living, breathing and almost tangible. Individual hairs are animated, whilst injuries form scar tissue in testament to the struggle. This is what mo-cap technology and next-gen consoles now bring to the table. Concept art made flesh.
Because if anything Rise showcases some truly great artists. Which include Mark Castanon, Brandon Russell, Brian Horton and Brenoch Adams amongst others. For lovers of capturing the moment, whether that’s snow-capped mountains, sweeping vistas, or Middle Eastern ruins frozen within an icy crevice. Within these pages you’ll find that and more. Coffee table keepsake or brownie point gainer for the gamer geek. Tomb Raider: The Art Book is a welcome if unlikely addition for any fan. Just be sure and finish the game first.