When you mention Gearbox Software’s Borderlands to a grown up gamer, they might think about the crazy characters, the zany sense of humor, the over-the-top gameplay, or the arsenal of billions of guns, all of which were hallmarks of the first two games. But most likely, the one thing that players and non-players alike will remember are the visuals. In a genre filled with every shade of brown and grey, Borderlands famously went against the grain, dropping an initial attempt at visual realism in favor of a vivid, hand drawn look that felt like a comic book come to life.
That decision has made Borderlands 1 and 2 arguably two of the best-looking action titles of this generation and thoroughly worthy of celebration. BradyGames clearly had the same idea, and The Art of Borderlands 2 celebrates the skill and labour that went into creating the sequel’s unique visuals.
Using hundreds of sketches, digital drawings, and renders, The Art of Borderlands 2 walks the reader through the artistic side of Borderlands 2, exploring design choices both big and small, from the origins of each character’s appearance to the various elements of the game’s onscreen displays.
Nothing is glossed over in the book’s 272 pages, as practically everything that went into the game’s visuals is dissected and explained, with insight provided by the team from Gearbox Software. In addition to hero designs, there are also large sections dedicated to the enemies, the environments, and especially the weaponry (and the effort that is required to illustrate a gun system that can create billions of combinations).
This book doesn’t just look good though, it also feels good as well, thanks to the top-notch quality of the book itself. The heavy paper stock and rich inks really do justice to the artwork, and about the only thing that really could have put this over the top would have been a hardcover.
The GamerPops Recommendation
Borderlands and Borderlands 2 are still in a category of their own when it comes to visual style in first person shooters, which makes BradyGames’ The Art of Borderlands 2 a must-have for the bookshelf of any Borderlands fan, or fan of video game art in general.
A review copy was provided to GamerPops.
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