Battlefield 3: The Russian – Book Report… - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Battlefield 3: The Russian – Book Report…

Some of you have probably seen my "book report" blogs before, even though it's been awhile. Don't be alarmed - I won't bore you with my reviews of "War and Peace" or "Of Mice and Men". I do limit them to video game inspired books. And it's been awhile because I haven't had much time to read lately, but a week or so ago I had four hours of time sitting aboard a train, and was actually able to finish a book I had been working on. And the book was Battlefield 3: The Russian. Yes, there is a book based on the very popular and successful Battlefield 3 game, and yes, it was actually a decent translation of the game.

As bullets whiz by, walls crumble, and explosions throw you to the ground, the battlefield feels more alive and interactive than ever before. In Battlefield 3, players step into the role of the elite U.S. Marines where they will experience heart-pounding missions across diverse locations including Paris, Tehran and New York...

Since 2002, EA's series of Battlefield games have set the standard for realism and ambition. And in Autumn 2011, with the global release of the hotly anticipated Battlefield 3, they're raising the bar even higher. Battlefield 3 will be the most authentic, vivid, all-action first person shooter ever.

To be published alongside the game, Battlefield 3: The Russian is also best in class - the first time that a games publisher has worked so closely with an internationally bestselling author.

Never before has a tie-in book benefitted from this level of collaboration from the creative team behind the game itself. Nor has it been written by a thriller writer with such a strong track record and reputation.

Before I start, I make every effort not to reveal any spoiler information in these blogs, but the truth is I suppose I might talk about certain elements that if you haven't played the game you wouldn't want to know about. So, you might hear some spoilers for Battlefield 3 if you keep reading.

The book follows the video game close enough you will certainly recognize key scenes and events, but strays from mirroring it perfectly, which I thought was a bit odd. Not better or worse, just unusual that some of the events were handled differently. Overall, I enjoyed both experiences.

With a book, you get more character development and back story, which was enlightening. The two main characters in both game and book were Staff Sergeant Henry "Black" Blackburn, U.S. Marine Corps 1st Reconnaissance Battalion and Dimitri "Dima" Mayakovsky, a GRU operative. You get to know these characters more so in the book. What I thought was interesting was playing the game, it seemed to focus more on Blackburn (or maybe I was more interested in that aspect of the story) but the book seemed to focus more on Dima. But both stories were full of shock and awe moments and when the two characters finally collide, both in book and game, the moment was jaw dropping.

The book also added a female character (not in a primary role though), a potential love interest of one of the main characters perhaps, but not an element I recall from the video game. Not quite a love story but just enough hint of emotional attraction to keep you interested in that version of the plotline.

While the book might provide more insight on the little details and history of the characters, the video game clearly excels with stunning visuals that when reading the equivalent scene weren't nearly as impressive in print. There is a scene where a soldier is decapitated, and reading something like that isn't nearly as dramatic as watching the scene transpire, even if it was just a digitally created environment. This was a scene in the game that really disturbed me. There is also a level in the game where you assault this mansion where your target of interest is located. The book provided stunning details of the layout, but I recalled this residence from playing the game and remembered how much I enjoyed it (actually, how much I enjoyed shooting it up).

One of the interesting facts about the book was the author. Well, truthfully the book lists two authors and of course I can't prove who wrote what part or how all that transpired, but the name in big letters is Andy McNab - a highly decorated SAS soldier and commander of Bravo Two Zero.

ANDY MCNAB joined the infantry as a boy soldier. In 1984 he was 'badged' as a member of 22 SAS Regiment and was involved in both covert and overt special operations worldwide. During the Gulf War he commanded Bravo Two Zero, a patrol that, in the words of his commanding officer, 'will remain in regimental history for ever'. Awarded both the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Military Medal (MM) during his military career, McNab was the British Army's most highly decorated serving soldier when he finally left the SAS in February 1993. He wrote about his experiences in three books: the phenomenal bestseller Bravo Two Zero, Immediate Action and Seven Troop.


PETER GRIMSDALE is a multi-award-winning television producer with a raft of major documentaries to his credit. He is married to the writer Stephanie Calman and lives in south London.

I read Mr. McNab's book Bravo Two Zero - a great read even if some have questioned the accuracy of the story. There are certainly elements of his writing style that show through in Battlefield 3: The Russian, so I do think he was the primary author and not just a big name splashed on the cover to sell books. Interesting enough, apparently he was also a technical advisor on the actual game, so that's pretty neat.

In the end, both mediums are effective at creating a thrilling and entertaining story, and I would highly recommend experiencing both; actually, there might be value in doing this simultaneously to compare and contrast the similarities and differences of the story. Much like when I read the Rage novel, it's kind of neat to visual a character from a novel and seeing the artist's rendition of the same character in a video game. Having played the game, I already had a mental image of the characters and settings as they took shape, but it was still a joy to experience.

You can purchase the book at your local bookstore or online retailers like Amazon. It's fairly cheap at $9.99 for the paperback. The game was released October of last year, so chances are you have played it (or don't want to) but you can pick it up from your local stores or online retailers like GameStop for about $60 bucks (new).

Who Dares, Wins.

 

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