Due to Hurricane Sandy, I didn’t get a review copy of The Art Of Assassin’s Creed III until yesterday, and got a chance to play through the game a bit to compare the art against the game.
Most art books are just fun collectibles for fans, but it turns out that the book is actually an incredibly useful companion to the game, especially if you want to delve into the graphics.
As it turns out, the art book does a lot to help you appreciate the fine detail that goes into the game. I wound up playing the game while the book was open in front of me, paging back and forth to get a sense of how the art and design was used and where it was changed, and it can make for some fascinating contrasts.
Assassin’s Creed III is not what you call a “graphics-first” kind of game; while it will occasionally show off, much of the time the story takes precedence. With the art book at your side, though, you can park Connor on a rooftop and admire the work that went into something you’re supposed to streak right by. This is especially true of the character models and animation: in particular there are some lighting studies of Connor, done in watercolor, that make you sit up and pay attention to how he looks climbing through the trees.
The book’s 144 pages are fairly comprehensive, although obviously it’s not every scrap of art the team put out. The book has a logical flow to it, and gets into the design process enough to be educational for a layman such as myself, but you’ll likely wind up paging through it and sampling the art at different points, especially points that you’re at in the game, comparing character design and locations on the page to what you see animated on screen.
In short, it’s a pretty compelling book for fans and those interested in game art and design. For fans especially, it’s worth picking up. There’s quite a lot here, from portraits to landscapes to studies, that’s worth poring over.