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'Halo' and 'Dead Space' art books on iPad: is high-res art worth the shift from print?

'Halo' and 'Dead Space' art books on iPad: is high-res art worth the shift from print?


Videos and other extras make these the definitive collections

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Dead Space digital art book
Dead Space digital art book

Franchises like Halo and Dead Space aren't just amazing games, they also have some amazing behind-the-scenes art. Titan Books has done a great job of collecting all of those fantastic concept paintings and sketches in book form, and now they're finally available digitally with the release of The Art of Dead Space on iPad today, while Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 is expected to hit the App Store on Friday. They have all of the same content as their print counterparts, but with a few nice little extras.

The high-resolution art looks fantastic on a Retina display

The biggest advantage of the digital versions is convenience: it's a lot easier to carry around your iPad than a big, hardcover art book. The high-resolution art also looks fantastic on a Retina Display, letting you really see the gory details of Dead Space's necromorphs. Of course, your iPad's screen is also smaller than the pages of the print books, so the bigger, full-page images will display a bit smaller as well, though it's nothing a bit of pinching and zooming can't remedy. But all those beautiful high-res images come with a price — while the digital books aren't physically large, they will take up a good chunk of space on your tablet. The Art of Dead Space alone clocks in at 1.05GB, while The Art of Halo 4 is slightly smaller at 925.3MB.

'The Art of Dead Space'


But inside of those hefty files are some bonus features that make the digital books very tempting. Chief among these is a good amount of video content that, thankfully, doesn't feel simply tacked on for the sake of it. There are genuinely interesting clips in which the concept artists discuss their craft or even go over the details of a specific piece. If you're interested in how the worlds of Halo and Dead Space were designed — and if you're considering these books, you probably are — then the videos provide great behind-the-scenes insight into the process. Just as useful are the gameplay clips, which show how a particular design — say, a concept for a character or location — actually turned out in the game. It's very cool to see the way these ideas evolved and changed through the transition to 3D.

There are also a few extra pieces of art to round out the package. As you flip through the books, certain images will feature a "+" sign, which means that they actually contain a gallery — the images will automatically rotate like a slideshow, and you can tap them to get a closer look. These extras aren't enough to double dip, so if you already own the hardcover books there's little to see here. But if you've been holding out, the digital editions are the definitive versions — if you're not overly attached to print, the bonuses are more than worth ditching paper.