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Valve Presents: The Sacrifice and Other Steam Powered Stories

I  remember hearing about this book a while back.  I forget if it was on the Team Fortress blog or just somewhere in the Steam Forums.  I then promptly forgot about it.  As convenient as shopping online is, I like the serendipity of a store.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many book stores in the area and I tend to forget about books I wanted if I am not reminded of them.

I was browsing through Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago and found this and remembered about it.  I decided to wait on it though since I get coupons for Barnes and Noble in my email fairly frequently.  Knocking 10% off the $25 price tag would be useful.  Then I got home and discovered B& lists it for like $15, so I just ordered it there.  Why the online shop is undermining the brick and mortar store is beyond me but whatever.

The book itself had me sold immediately.

It is a collection of the comics Valve has put out over the last year or so based around Left 4 Dead, Portal 2, and Team Fortress 2.  The longest feature and most coherent complete story is Left 4 Dead’s The Sacrifice, and I have a fairly low interest in L4D.  Originally the prospect seemed pretty cool but I wasn’t sure and I figured given’t valve’s Track record on secondary merchandise it’d cost about twice the price I’d be willing to pay (ie $40-$50 bucks).

The book itself however is extremely nice.  The graphics on it are really well done and the pages are made of some really thick almost cardstock paper.  Also you know, $15 bucks.

I also rather enjoy reading all of the TF2 comics “in order”.  There is some crazy backstory build in going on in Team Fortress 2 and I’m a bit confused on it all around.  The comic actually doesn’t fix this problem but it does help a bit.  They could have done some good by adding maybe some of the other material from the updates that were not comic pages.  The comics included are the War Update through Meet the Director.

Also in the book, as mentioned before is the Left 4 Dead (it may be L4D2) story the Sacrifice, which consists of a 4 part story following the Zombie killing heroes.  The overall 4 parts are a complete story, unlike the TF2 comics, and each one also serves as a vehicle to give some direct backstory for the four main heroes.

There is also the Portal 2 Rat man story, which essentially serves as a sort fo bridge between Portal 1 and Portal 2.  The Portal 2 comic features some interesting and kind of neat art but it’s presentation makes it a bit confusing.  You get the overall idea but it could be a bit less random for the sake of randomness.  I imagine it’s sort of supposed to reflect the Madness of Rat Man and even GladOS.

Anyway, I finished reading through it recently.  It’s a pretty neat piece of work, though it probably has little interest for people who don’t care much for the games involved.  It’s not really going to sell anyone into the games but the game may sell you into the book, so to speak.

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