Halo: The Essential Visual Guide is the latest offering from DK and boasts over 200 glossy pages of everything you ever wanted to know and were afraid to ask about the Halo universe.
The book covers aspects of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo Wars and, crucially, it includes Halo: Reach, which didn’t make it into the Halo Encyclopedia, also from DK.
On first impressions, this is a compact and great looking hardback compendium, with great care taken to evoke the visual style that has become Halo’s trademark. Open the glossy cover and you’re greeted with fantastic concept art on the inside covers, with UNSC troops in the front and Covenant hoards gracing the back.
It has to be said, all the images are very high quality, serving up a combination of concept art and in-game, high-definition shots. I’ve never seen the Halo foes in so much detail because I’ve always been busy shooting them, but if you want a closer look at the Flood, this is the best place to come.
The Halo: TEVG arranges entries in alphabetical order, so it serves as an expansion pack to the Encyclopedia.
Each item is color coded to indicate whether it’s UNSC, Covenant, Forerunners or Flood and lists all the games the entry has been in. The pages are laid out in that classic DK style, with a focus on lush images, supported by small, bite-size chunks of information.
Apart from the usual focus on weapons, armor, foes and vehicles, I found the added information on characters and locations, the most interesting.
The book offers background information on classic characters, such as Miranda Keyes, as well as new faces like Jun from Halo: Reach. Of course, key figures such as Cortana and her real-life counterpart Dr Catherine Halsey, the Arbiter from Halo 2 and Master Chief himself all feature.
Don’t expect this book to dish any secrets on Master Chief though, his entry doesn’t give much away and describes his current status as "unknown."
The book also features locations from the games, looking at details of the Halo ringworlds, as well as famous levels, such as the Library and Harvest.
Xbox Live players will be pleased to see a fair few multiplayer maps appear, such as the Ivory Tower and Blood Gulch, but the entries don’t offer any strategic insights.
Priced at a very reasonable £9.99 Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, is bound to please any Halo fan and makes an affordable addition to the Encyclopedia, if you’ve got it and want the added information on Reach. It’s compact enough to be a quick access guide and offers a fair bit of information on each entry, so it’s not just pretty pictures.
I’d say this is perfect for the younger Halo player. If you’re after breathtaking concept art, then this may not be the book for you, but it still looks great and does exactly what it says on the tin.
Halo: The Essential Visual Guide is out now.