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Dark Souls: Design Works Hardcover – January 21, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Udon Entertainment (January 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1926778898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1926778891
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Nick on January 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like many, my relationship with Dark Souls started a bit rough. I wasn't quite sure I wanted to continue on with such an abusive relationship. But then, all of a sudden, there was a brief serenity and calmness in all the death and stun-locking that taught me the value of the experience. If you work hard enough, you'll reap the ultimate reward: experiencing that majesty that is Dark Souls. It was at that point that my liking became an obsession. To this day, if I pick up the game I have to know that it will be a while before I put it down again, just for a breather and perhaps a swig of estus.

In fact, my obsession was so real that I had the original Japanese Dark Souls: Design Works imported from Japan less than a year ago. I knew that I had no chance in deciphering the vast text in the interview section but, for me, the art alone was worth the premium. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we North Americans would be intentionally treated to such a great work of art. Then, the wonderful people at Udon Entertainment made a dream come true with their announcement of an English translation of Dark Souls: Design Works.

After the long and eager wait that comes with pre-ordering an item months ahead of its release, it finally arrived at my doorstep. I was immediately greeted by the grandiose facade, very fitting for Dark Souls, that is its cover. The slipcover is a matte metallic silver stock with a sandpaper texture. The black title plate planted atop it is contrastingly glossy and smooth. On that back is a deeply implanted silver sword silhouette. But the real beauty comes when you remove the luxurious slipcover and reveal the ash black hardcover with text and ornaments as orange as a raging bonfire.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on January 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Length: 1:28 Mins
The English translated edition of the Dark Souls artbook ダークソウルデザインワークズ is finally out. It's another good job at translating by publisher Udon.

The book's still hardcover, 128 pages. The cover is nicer. I like the sandy texture and the cover design is somehow printed over it in high gloss.

Since I've already reviewed the Japanese artbook. The review that follows is roughly similar with minor changes.

This artbook collects the concept art for characters, enemies, background, weapons and items.

There are two chapters, one on concept art and the other on early designs. The chapters are not necessary because they are all concept art. In fact, the organization of content is a bit chaotic. Take the weapons section for example. They are not strictly grouped by type. There are axes together with broad swords, spears with shields, etc. Same thing with the characters and enemies.

The concept art featured are nice but with a slightly rough art style. I would have preferred a more finished look especially for the environment art. They are printed quite small because they don't have enough detail to go big, or too unfinished. The designs are great but somehow they don't have the same forbidding feeling you get when playing the game. The Dark Souls world is quite big and I'm surprised they didn't include more environment art.

I love the character designs for this game. The enemies are incredibly scary. There are lots of enemies featured. It's good that some have included many design variations, but many also come with just one design by itself. There aren't any 3D renders.

The weapon designs are interesting, but I felt that not all weapons are included. I've the game guide and there are a lot of weapons not included here.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christian R. Unger on April 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Art books in my experience fall into three categories:
a) lots of art, be that game and/or concept art;
b) Option a) + lots of nuggets of interesting tidbits; or
c) not much art and mostly irrelevant discussion.

This title leans towards c) and (curiously) it drops itself in it: things like Priscilla the Halfbreed originally being intended to be the main protagonist but then no discussion of what changed or how it was going to work. Back story for Andrei and opening a hidden pathway for you which raises the question of why is Andrei's background was culled (well that one is easy, but it does raise questions about how this backstory would have been communicated given Dark Soul's style of storytelling) and statues hiding pathways .. are there such secrets?

Dark Souls is a fantastic game. I've racked up more hours playing it and not beating it than any other game. And I still love it and look forward to spending more time with it. It's what so many games should be in my mind, mysterious and with a cult following of shared knowledge. This guide could have slotted into this ecosystem but instead lands on the outskirts and is largely irrelevant. What it does deliver is some art work and interesting alternative designs, though on the whole there isn't a lot here, and certainly not that much more than was in the artbook that shipped with the game.

Overall, I have to admit I'm disappointed. The interviews at the end of the book wore on and were not that interesting, and most of what stands out is that it could have been so much more, especially since it doesn't add much beyond the "free" artbook. Do I regret buying it ... no, but at the same time ... there were more interesting pictures of the world in the game guide and that's certainly a sad testament to the contents of this book.
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