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Veteran Member - Level 11
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
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
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
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
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
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.