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.
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.
There are a lot of franchises (not just video game ones) that don’t need sequels or prequels. The original works stand on their own and don’t benefit from any additional story added before or after. In fact, there are many sequels or prequels that detract from the originals.
That’s the danger that Deck Nine faces with their assignment to develop a Life is Strange prequel. The original Life is Strange was one of the best modern episodic / adventure games that created characters and a narrative with a depth and emotional resonance that the current crop of adventure games haven’t been able to match. Any follow-up has lofty expectations. Delving into the past of the first game’s most memorable character puts on added pressure.
What Ferrari is to cars, Ducati is to motorcycles. The legendary Italian motorcycle manufacturer celebrates its 90th anniversary of its founding this year. To celebrate, the Italian marque joined forces with Italian racing game developer Milestone to produce a motorcycle racing game that explores the history of Ducati through some of it famous models through the years.
The pre-E3 press conferences will wrap up with Sony’s annual event. They tend to go very big with their E3 presentations and this year looks like it will be no exception. While the PS4K/Neo won’t be at E3, their E3 presser will have a lot of big games announced and updated from both first and third-party developers. Given last year’s big announcement, this year has a lot to live up to and just might pull it off.
Seldom do reboots actually reinvigorate a franchise. Sure, Star Trek wasn’t too bad but when you consider the likes of Point Break and The Amazing Spider-Man and Conan The Barbarian and Godzilla (twice), you find yourself scared away from reboots. Gaming isn’t immune to that with the likes of Sim City, Medal of Honor and Sonic the Hedgehog as failed attempts to reinvigorate franchises.
One of the more successful reboots in history is 2013’s Tomb Raider which is the series best-selling and among its most critically acclaimed. It came as a shock that Microsoft had to pay the way for this sequel to 2013’s hit. Rise of the Tomb Raider recently hit PC after an exclusivity period on Xbox One and will come to PS4 this fall (despite being the platform that Tomb Raider sold best on).
So how does the sequel to the reboot standup? Well, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops.
Life is Strange started as a simple episodic digital release but today gets the full retail treatment. The Life is Strange: Limited Edition hits shelves today with an art book, developers’ commentary and a licensed soundtrack. While I’d love to get my hands on that, I’ve already played the game and named it et geekera’s Game of the Year for 2015. However, I only reviewed the individual episodes. This review is for the first “season” of Life is Strange.
Back in October 2015, Square Enix announced that the upcoming Hitman game would release with three of its six levels at launch in March 2016. Less than two months before launch, Square Enix announced that Hitman would be completely episodic with the games six levels being released starting in March.
Over the weekend, Square Enix released the first look at gameplay from their upcoming remake of Final Fantasy VII. This included a look at part of Midgar as well as the opening assault on a Mako reactor. Not surprisingly, the whole of the internet was excited about it though there were some concerned with some of the changes that SquEnix has already shown off for FF7 Remake.
What didn’t sit well with gamers were some of the quieter announcements that Square Enix made about the game in a press release that seems to have gone to selected outlets. Square Enix quietly announced that Final Fantasy VII Remake will be a “multi-part series.”
It’s so seldom that I play a game that really moves me. Sure, there are plenty of games that I play that I think are really good or have their poignant moments but I can’t remember the last time I played a game that stuck with me quite the way that Life is Strange has. I came into it expecting to be underwhelmed but Dontnod exceeded all of my expectations and made the best episodic point-and-click adventure game on the market.