The Great Journey – Halo: The Art of Building Worlds Review

Back in November 2001 as Westlife sat atop the UK music charts and Leeds United topped the Premier League a game was about to land that would stake it’s claim at the summit of the video game Universe and change our lives forever.

It’s hard to believe that nearly ten years have flown by since Bungie first unleashed the masterpiece that was Halo: Combat Evolved upon the world. Ten years that despite the rapid evolution of gaming still sees the original outing remain as crucial as ever. With the game came the birth of iconic figurehead Master Chief and the dawn of the Xbox.

Now as the Halo Universe prepares to go full circle with the forthcoming release of the remastered original and interest is once again at a high we have a chance to go deeper than ever before into this world. This vivid and enriching new view of the creation, artwork and utter genius behind the characters, creatures, lands and history of Halo comes via the Titan Books release of award winning journalist Martin Robinson’s new hardback book, The Great Journey, Halo: The Art of Building Worlds.

Covering the entire history of Halo games, The Art of Building Worlds takes readers on a truly stunning journey through the archives. The artwork featured is breath taking in its beauty, the presentation utterly immaculate and the writing rich enough to add layer upon layer of depth to the visuals. The feeling that this book is going to be something special hits home as soon as you cast eyes on the striking Eddie Smith cover art. Master Chief had to grace the cover and the chosen image couldn’t be more perfect. It speaks volumes about the special place Halo holds in many a gamers heart without saying a word. The power of art at its finest.

This book is a thing of beauty. A sizable, chunky hardback crammed with some of the greatest art from one of the greatest games, a must have not only for fans of Halo but also for fans of gaming. Spanning 191 lovingly created pages we get a glimpse into each of the games from the famous franchise, see how certain lands came to life, and witness the birth of Master Chief himself. Every corner of the vast Halo Universe has been touched upon; the artists themselves are given light by Martin Robinson to further explain how things came to be, for example, do you want to know how the flood came to look like they did? I won’t spoil it for you but you’ll never guess. By the time you turn the last page of this book Martin Robinson will have bestowed you with more knowledge of Halo and its inhabitants than you ever deemed possible, it’s blatantly obvious just how much love has been poured into his book and it’s a complete credit to him that it made me crave some time back in Master Chiefs boots.

Things get under way with the chapter titled ‘Architects of the Past.’ Here we get to see where it all began, ringworlds, Halo: CE, The Silent Cartographer and much more are covered in glorious detail. The following six chapters take us on a grand tour of the Covenant, the weapons, the vehicles, the creatures and of course the heroes that colour this epic Universe. Every aspect comes with yet more stunning art and the words of true fans. To say it’s a page turner would be to do this great book a disservice it’s more a place to lose yourself for a few hours, and it’s easily done.

Under the dustcover lurks a wonderful shiny black cover with the 343 guilty spark etched into its skin it once again highlights just how much care has been put into this project. Everything is done to the highest standard, even the Frank O’Connor penned foreword is written in a way that can make you feel as though you’ve lived and shared every wondrous Halo moment with him.

This is a book that deserves huge recognition. Not only is the subject matter one of the most important gaming franchises to ever hit our machines, it also has life, colour and soul bouncing from every page combined with words from people that have lived and breathed Halo. It’s a book that could grace any shelf or coffee table and become a talking point. In fact it’s worth buying a coffee table just for this book.

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