Updated: Feb 10
This article, along with its predecessor, were originally created for Exclusively Games. Unfortunately, the site went on hiatus before it could be published. Therefore, I am publishing it here on Nomad’s Reviews.
Books Based on Games?
If you, like me, are on lockdown then you will know how boring it can get. Thankfully there are at least two pass times that remain unaffected - reading and gaming. Better yet, why not combine the two?
We have looked at Five Games Based on Books, and then Nine MORE Games Based on Books – as Chosen by the Community. But what about books based on games? We have seen the 29 (!?!) Books Based on the Halo Games. Now we will look at ‘Books Based on Video Games (that aren’t Halo.)’
The same rules apply as last time. I’m only covering novels, novellas, and short-story anthologies. I’m not covering official game guides, comics, and game manuals.
(At least not in this article. If this is something you would like to see a separate article about then let me know in the comments section and I will see what I can do 😊)
NB - for this article I am sticking to the franchises in which I have played at least one of the games and read at least one of the books. I have highlighted the books I have read and provided my thoughts on them.
Mass Effect Franchise
Mass Effect: Revelation
Drew Karpyshyn’s Mass Effect Revelation is a prequel to the Mass Effect games. In Mass Effect Revelation we witness then commander David Anderson’s first encounter with the Turian Spectre Saren Arterius. The novel provides a rare glimpse into the mind and motives of the pre-indoctrination Saren. Turns out he was just as cruel before the Reapers got their mental claws into him.
My thoughts: I read this back in 2012. A worthwhile read for fans of the franchise.
Mass Effect: Revelation
Mass Effect: Ascension and Mass Effect: Retribution
Front covers of Mass Effects: Revelation, Ascension, Retribution and Deception
Mass Effect: Ascension https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0043VDNBA/
Mass Effect: Retribution https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0041G6RQK/
Mass Effect: Deception
A fourth novel, Mass Effect Deception by William C. Dietz was released in 2012 to near-universal scorn, due to its frequent continuity errors and lore breaks. BioWare promised to release an updated edition with the flaws corrected. However, this has yet to materialize. A parody of the story can be seen here.
Mass Effect: Deception https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006WQRVQW/
Mass Effect: Andromeda Trilogy
Mass Effect: Nexus Uprising
Mass Effect: Initiation
Mass Effect: Annihilation
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise by Ukrainian developers GSC Game World is another multi-media franchise, with three games already released, one in development and numerous mods available, including the free and standalone Lost Alpha. It too spawned many books. The majority of these are written in Russian, Ukrainian or German, and have not been translated into English as of the time of writing.
NB - I will be unable to cover these since I do not know how to read/speak those languages - sorry. If you do speak one or more of these languages and have read any of these books, feel free to tell everyone your thoughts about them in the comments section at the end of the article.
Balazs Pataki / John Mason Novels
There are three main English language commercial books released. The first two are S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Southern Comfort and its sequel S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Northern Passage, both by Balazs Pataki - who sometimes goes by the pseudonym, John Mason. These continuations of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. story arc see the formation of a second Zone in Afghanistan and depicts the effects this new and more dangerous Zone has on the war on terror and ISAF occupation. Neither are considered 100% canon, however.
My thoughts:I have read both books. They are worth a read for fans of the franchise. Note that the violence, sex, and drug use depicted is quite graphic.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Southern Comfort Trailer HD
Video by StalkerVideoArchive
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Southern Comfort
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Northern Passage
Zone Diaries Series
The third is S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Captives of the Zone (Diary#1) which is unconnected to the Pataki works. It tells the story of a former Swedish Special Forces operative penetrating the Zone to find his lost father.
Although it is supposedly the official book of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, it too takes some liberties when it comes to lore. As an example, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Captives of the Zone (Diary#1) suggests ‘The Zone’ copied parts of the real-world Zone but jumbled up the locations. This was likely done to explain why the in-game map of The Zone places the city of Pripyat south of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (CNPP), whereas, in reality, it is to the North West of it. (Click the link below for a satellite view)
My thoughts: I have read this too. Again, worth a read but only for die-hard fans of the franchise.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Captives of the Zone
A sequel, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Deliverance (Diary #2), is in the works, but has experienced, er, ‘technical difficulties’. (Allegedly - Quality Control problems.)