A while back we saw the Art of Dead Space from Titan Books, and the 95/100 score just shows how highly we thought of the hardcopy. Now, art books for both Dead Space and Halo 4 have moved to iTunes – where they’ve picked up some additional features to take advantage of the digital medium, and gotten a price cut along the way as well. I had the opportunity to check out both of these books on my iPad 4, so I want to say a few things about how the transition from dead tree to digital format has gone for both of these books. The short version is: it’s gone well. For around half the cost of the hardcopy, you’re not only picking up the convenience of having the book on the iPad, but also the inclusion of relevant video and interviews to augment your experience. For those of you who have been waiting around to pick this up on your iOS device, I want to go over the additional features you can expect.
The graphical quality of the books are top notch, first off – no complaints there. All the art is presented in a nice, crisp way, and you can even zoom in a little using iBooks’ usual gesture methods. On top of this, the Halo 4 book comes with soundtrack you can turn on and off as you read through it. Of course, there’s also the addition of video clips – largely interviews with the creative minds behind Halo 4 and Dead Space. All of this is added content above and beyond the hard copy version, of course, and it’s been integrated well. The video additions are woven into the pages of the book itself, so to speak – and now and then this results in a slight visible outline interrupting the art, along with the play button. A small distraction most.
My main complaint is that each and every video I viewed came with either a ratings warning, or an opening animation for Microsoft Studios / 343 Industries. I’m going to guess there are various reasons for this, possibly even legal reasons insofar as the ratings warning is concerned – but really, having a good justification for this kind of thing doesn’t make it any less annoying. Having to wait for up to 10 seconds of animated corporate logos to play before watching so many of these videos (which are 1-2 minutes long on average) just makes the whole process more annoying than it really should be, and impacts the enjoyment of the books.
Still, that’s a complaint about additional content beyond what you’d get if you owned the paper version of these books. If you can put up with that, you’re still getting two beautiful art books at essentially half the cost of their dead tree versions, and the quality is otherwise impressive. Those of you who are interested can pick up the Halo 4 art book or the Dead Space art book straight from iTunes right now for a decent price.