A prequel story has plenty of challenges associated with it. You have to tell an interesting story that people want to play but you can’t step on the toes of the original while backing into characters, setting and plot that builds into the original story. Fans will want a little fan service but not too much because that would be distracting.
The first two episodes of Deck Nine’s Life is Strange prequel came close to stepping on the toes of the original. At times, it feels like it changes Chloe and forces the relationship between she and Rachel Amber to get us to a particular choice-determinant scene in Life is Strange: Season One. However, when focusing on its own characters and world in Before the Storm, Deck Nine hits the right notes and makes a game that feels like a proper Life is Strange game.
The final episode would have to be the trickiest of all for Deck Nine. They have a three-year gap between Before the Storm and Season One which they need to lay the building blocks for but not seamlessly lead us from one to the other so we can account for the passage of time. Fortunately, they pulled that task off. The rest of the episode might be a bit more contentious.
NASCAR is one of America’s biggest spectator sports in terms of TV viewership and live attendance but you wouldn’t know this based on its video games. While the likes of the NFL and FIFA have massive video game franchises and the NHL and NBA also have reasonably popular games, NASCAR all but disappeared from the gaming after EA dropped its NASCAR license.
After a period where Eutechnyx had the license and the most noteworthy game they released was Ride to Hell: Retribution, 704 Games picked up the license. Partnered with Monster Games of Dirt to Daytona fame, the new NASCAR games has a bigger presence on NASCAR broadcasts and is getting in the hands of big gaming critics. So while it looks like the series is on the right track commercially, is it on the right track when you turn a wheel in anger? Having reviewed Eutechnyx’s last effort in 2015 (and understanding how that company also released Ride to Hell: Retribution), I can definitely say that the on-track product is heading in the right direction too.
One complaint that kept coming up from fans of Haven during the show’s run was that the show had ignored the source material for a large portion of its run. Lip service was paid to the Stephen King novella The Colorado Kid early in the show’s run before The Kid was the focus of Season Three. Then it was ignored for Season Four and Five-A.
However, Just Passing Through, the seventh-to-last episode of Haven, started to pull The Colorado Kid back into the Haven mythology after a lengthy time off.
Has Haven been turned on its head? Well, did last week’s episode turn Haven on its head more than the fog wall, everyone in town getting Troubles, and Duke’s multinational adventure? Probably not. The good news is that this week’s episode might have an even more ridiculous Trouble but it’s starting us on the path to the series finale.
In the year since I reviewed Motorsport Manager on mobile, Christian West went from mobile game development star to management sim superstar. He’s now the founder of PlaySport Games which developed and released Motorsport Manager on PC and used that as the basis for the new Motorsport Manager 2.
After a fairly story-light outing in Enter Sandman and some fairly unimportant episodes in the overarching Season 5 narrative to start Season 5B, Haven made a hard turn back into the mythology of the show and the show-long story of curing the Troubles in Wild Card.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm started in the same way that the original did in that it spent the first episode building a new (but familiar) world in Arcadia Bay. After its first episode, the original Life is Strange quickly blossomed into an amazing Game of the Year winning game thanks building onto the characters, relationships and world that Dontnod established in the first episode.
The real challenge for Deck Nine, who have created their own world inside the Life is Strange story, isn’t establishing the new story, characters and relationships. Their challenge is matching Dontnod’s ability to build that world. It’s as tough a task as any but Deck Nine certainly did a damn fine job of it in Episode Two.
So my return to Haven to finish the series and see more John Dunsworth didn’t get off to the best of starts. My Dunsworth mission actually went worse this week since he and Richard Donat weren’t in this week’s reviewed episode of Haven. Instead, Haven tightened its focus to Audrey and Charlotte in Haven and added another character to Duke’s adventures outside of Maine.
As many of you likely heard, John Dunsworth died earlier this week. While almost all of his obituaries and remembrances mention his stint on Trailer Park Boys, I haven’t actually watched it. I assume that makes me a bad Canadian and a bad citizen of my hometown where the TPB film Swearnet was filmed. However, I knew Dunsworth from his scene-stealing role as Dave Teagues in Haven.
And this brought me to the realization that I hadn’t finished watching (or reviewing) Haven. I just stopped watching back in 2015 with only 11 episodes left in the show’s run. So now is the time that I pick up where I left off and finish Haven.
As someone who has been playing sports games since the NES, I can tell you first-hand that sports games have gotten ridiculously complex over the last 25 years. From two buttons in Blades of Steel to using every button, bumper, trigger and thumbstick on modern EA Sports NHL games, hockey games have changed a lot over the decades.
What appealed to me about Old Time Hockey is that it billed itself as an arcade hockey game. As someone who has been gaming for as long as I have, I was hoping that would mean hard-hitting, high scoring hockey with simple controls. That was correct to an extent but the execution hides the intention.