About this time a month ago we brought you news of three new gaming-based books that were being released by Titan Books: namely the World of Warcraft Ashbringer graphic novel, Elder Scrolls: The Infernal City novel and another graphic novel entitled StarCraft, and it is the latter that I have been reading over the last few weeks…
Firstly it is worth pointing out that I haven’t played the original StarCraft game which was, when it was released back in 1998, the bestselling game of the year and a game that continues to be incredibly popular across the globe especially in South Korea where games are shown on three television channels!
That is not to say that I know nothing of the StarCraft universe (obviously as a gamer you do pick up a lot, and StarCraft is very well known) but I will be looking at the StarCraft graphic novel more from the perspective of someone new to the world… and you’ll be glad to know that it is still very enjoyable.
Right from page one — after a series of very interesting and equally artistic depictions of various characters/ships — you are thrown straight into the action alongside the ‘war pigs’ who are essentially a team of mercenary outlaws who have been reunited to complete one last task: the assassination of one Jim Raynor.
The story picks up with the kind of battle that you would expect from this kind of graphic novel, and manages to introduce you to the world of StarCraft without being excessively patronising (mostly through use of asterisks to better describe the names used by the characters) which makes it accessible to those newly acquainted to the universe such as myself as well as those that are better acquainted with the story.
The plot is also very well written allowing you to really get into the story which can be very difficult for some game-based literature, and it manages to remain interesting throughout the book without being purely a series of battles and fights which gives it some (although far from exceptional) literary merit.
Most of the quality of the book is in the ‘graphic’ part of the graphic novel as the illustrations are (with a couple of exceptions) very well done creating the atmosphere and detail that they need to and full credit must go to the four artists for this. There are also, as you would expect from a graphic novel, sporadic inclusions of additional illustrations of the characters which again add more depth to them and thus the story.
Having said that it is very accessible to all (which it is) it is still very true that those who are fans of the game and have played it before will be able to get that much more out of the book, as it follows on from the story of the original game featuring many of the same characters and of course the same creatures and worlds.
It will also prepare you nicely for the release of StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty later this week if you are a bit rusty on the story, or wish to involve yourself more in the game which is very well timed (and not at all coincidental!).
So in conclusion: I thoroughly enjoyed the StarCraft graphic novel, but then I also very much enjoy graphic novels and games so this really is a good combination — and I would say that if anyone enjoys either they should give this a look even if they know nothing of the StarCraft world as you may just find you love it… and of course if you already do then you have no excuse to delve deeper into it!