Summer Book Club Review: Resident Evil: Revelations Official Complete Works

Welcome to VGBlogger’s Summer Book Club! All summer long, we will be providing weekly book reviews across a wide range of geek favorite categories, including art, comics/graphic novels, fantasy, gaming, and sci-fi. So whether you’re heading out for a road trip, going on vacation, lounging beach/poolside on a nice sunny day, relaxing inside away from the summer heat, or simply searching for a good read to fill your free time, follow our Summer Book Club for our top picks of what you should be reading during these hot summertime doldrums.

ResidentEvilRevelations_OfficialCompleteWorks

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 came out this year, but only now is the Official Complete Works book for the 2012 original finally making its English language debut. So goes the Japanese to English translation process.

If you consider yourself a Resident Evil fan, I think you’ll find that the wait was well worth it. Aesthetically similar to the Resident Evil 6 Graphical Guide from earlier in the year–only larger (both in page count and overall dimensions) and formatted as a true art book rather than a glorified instruction manual–Resident Evil: Revelations Official Complete Works by Titan Books provides an informative behind-the-scenes look at the work the Capcom art team put into bringing the series back to its survival horror roots.

The book has three main chapters for characters, creatures, and environments, plus smaller sections for things like movie storyboards, limited edition collectible merchandise, and visual key art that was used as promotional materials for magazine ads/covers and packaging. The Extras section at the end even has full transcripts for all of the in-game files, which is a nice bonus portion of lore value.

More than 130 of the book’s 200 pages are devoted to the game’s human and B.O.W. population, which is appropriate since characters like Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield and the infected beasts they’re constantly up against are the iconic stars of the series. These sections are great because, in addition to renders of the final designs, a lot of the art is for bonus outfits and unused costume and monster ideas, including Chris’s super-tight sailor getup, Jessica’s eclectic fashion wardrobe, some incredibly skimpy bonus costumes for Jill that got the axe for obvious reasons, as well as a concept for a mutant lobster man that I’m sad didn’t make it into the game (for Raid Mode if nothing else). Many of the sketches also diagram the functionality and placement of individual costume elements like headsets, vests, radios, holsters, grenade pouches, watches, and shoes. Similarly, the creature concepts show weak points, the different evolutionary stages of mutation, and variations to facial features like mouths and teeth. Little details like these are what I love to find in an art book.

Each piece of art is accompanied by a caption containing developer commentary from one of a dozen staff members that contributed to the book. These are well worth reading for interesting bits of insight about how character designs changed over time or why certain things ultimately hit the cutting room floor. For example, you probably never knew that Rachael Foley’s original role was going to be nothing more than a dead body players would find a key off of and learn about in files. Everyone on the dev team grew to love the character so much that they gave her a more prominent role.

Compared to the characters and creatures chapters, the section on environmental art is noticeably thin at only around 15 or so pages. Each page is crammed with at least two or three paintings, which when combined with the dark atmosphere of the environments and the choice to place the images on dark backgrounds (the other chapters are on white pages) makes everything difficult to see. It also would have been nice to have a larger chapter dedicated to items and weapons. Some of those elements are mixed in with the character concept section, but the only standalone callout to the game’s arsenal is a two-page spread of thumbnails showing all of the firearms and close-combat weapons.

These minor content omissions aside, Resident Evil: Revelations Official Complete Works is a beautifully presented art book with interesting developer commentary revealing a lot of fun factoids about the characters and inspirations behind the game’s design themes that series fans are sure to drink up like bloodthirsty t-Abyss Oozes. In the growing premium art book market, this softcover edition is about as wallet-friendly as they come, listed at $24.99 but already discounted to around $15 at online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The overall quality of the book far exceeds its affordable price point, so there’s no good reason not to jump all over a copy.

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Disclosure: A free copy of Resident Evil: Revelations Official Complete Works was provided to VGBlogger.com for review by Titan Books.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!