Scotch Corner – A Walk on the Wildside

Read Stuart’s column every week in The Scottish Sun, where he shares his reviews, news and podcasts with the 99.3% of the World’s population not fortunate enough to be able to buy a physical copy of the paper. The following appeared originally in The Scottish Sun on Sunday 19th March 2017.

 

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands (PC, PS4, Xbox One, £44.99)

YOUR mission is to form a gang that can tame the Wildlands and turn the latest Tom Clancy game into an action movie blockbuster.  Forget single-player shooting, Ghost Recon needs tag-team tension to bring it to life.  The series built its reputation on tactical realism, but this has more of adventure vibe.

Bolivia has problems — a Mexican drug cartel called Santa Blanca is running the action to the point where the country is now a narco-state and the world largest cocaine producer.  After a bombing at the US embassy in La Paz and the kidnap and torture of a DEA agent, the US sends in the highly trained Ghost team to clean up the mess.  The story does a good job a framing the game but it all depends on whether you go solo, or bring in the boys.

On your own, you can tackle the missions in any order and you have some AI team-mates.  The problem is they are not that good.  They pick you up if you are downed, but I would rather they covered me in the first place.  The missions also get old really quick.  Draw out the drug lord by blowing stuff up, killing things and extracting intel.  It gets a bit dull after a while.

So what about team-play?  Play the game in co-op and it becomes one of the best shooters around.  You and three mates will have a huge playground with endless possibilities.  Each area has its own feel and look and that means you need to cover each other and think about how you attack each mission.  Add in a healthy dose of unpredictability in each mission and you have something special on your hands.

The game has a classy look.  There are some clipping issues but the overall scale and level of detail is mind-blowing.  The voice work doesn’t quite match it.  They are trying way too hard to be funny.  I get you’re a bunch of hardcore killers and smart-ass one-liners are great but some of the dialogue is just cringeworthy.  When you look at the size of the game, it is inevitable that there may be problems, but the vehicles will give you grey hairs.  They are the main mode of transport but everything from pick-ups to bikes handles really badly.  And the choppers?  Chop them out.

The stealth element of the game is also a bit hit-and-miss with most missions ending in huge firefight when you aimed to sneak in.  So there are problems but few games give you the rush of working with your mates in such an epic style.

Score: 3.5/5

Chime Sharp (PC, PS4, Xbox One, £7.99)

CHIME was a puzzle world game-changer when it first appeared on our consoles.  It took a three-match game to new levels.  Now Chime Sharp aims to feed that gameplay fix.  It actually started as a Kickstarter campaign so some of the proposed content, like the retro style Chime Flat didn’t make the final game.  But it does keep most of the core gameplay from the original — so you have to make quid shapes while fighting to cover 100 per cent of the grid you are on while the beat line closes on you matching the beat of whatever song is playing.  It may seem simple but it’ll get its claws into you over its 16 stages.

Chime Sharp introduces a host of new modes which you can help cover sections of the grid.  Sharp and Strike modes mix up the gameplay and add to the overall challenge.  The star is the EDM soundtrack — it not only sounds great but is core to gameplay.  There is a mix of well-known and up-and-coming artists like Chvrches, Chipzel and Andy Hung.

The game has had a graphics face-lift, with a chunky 3D bevel and there is a waterfall of colour but it would have been nice to have some music videos for the sounds playing in the background from time to time.  Chime Sharp’s biggest issue is the amount of time it takes to unlock new levels and modes.  Fans of the original will love this sequel and have a blast.  Newcomers, on the other hand, may be turned off by the steep learning curve but the sounds are truly epic and the puzzles will rattle your brain.

Score: 4/5

Super Bomberman R (Switch, £49.99)

THIS is no new kid on the block — in fact, Bomberman is a golden oldie.  He may be 33 years old but he has just arrived on Nintendo’s new Switch handsole.  It should be the perfect match — but . . . there is always a but.  In this case, are you prepared to fork out £49.99 for the privilege?  Nintendo has a massive pricing dilemma on its hands — this game should be £29.99 max or possibly even £19.99.  But once you have it, you will have a blast.  This is a back-to-basics game with a story mode that is classic Saturday morning cartoon time.

The campaign is set out over 50 stages and the boss fights at the end of the ninth and tenth stages are pretty epic and tough.  The campaign also mixes it up by having a isometric view instead of the traditional top-down view.  It can be a pain at times as some enemies are hard to see and levels with multiple floors are tough to distinguish.  The gameplay is classic Bomberman — drop bombs to destroy blocks and find power- ups.  Boom — that simple.  There is added goodness in multiplayer — it is great fun with two-player on the Joy-cons to linking up eight consoles and fighting it out online.

The multiplayer has the top- down view but lacks the customisation from past games and there are only eight maps although you can unlock a few variants through the campaign.  There is plenty of colour and the anime cut scenes and chucky 3D level design are backed up by an upbeat soundtrack.  If you can handle the cost, then this is a must-have for your games collection.

Score: 3/5

On The Stream

SCOTLAND has been forging a reputation on the streaming front and Ashlea Dunnett — aka ashic0rn — is leading the charge.  She started streaming last year and she has a real sense of fun.  Ashlea aims to enjoy gaming and she has a top sidekick in Eevee the cat.  She streams a variety of games like Overwatch, The Witcher 3, Skyrim and For Honor but she also a creative streak when she draws a number of gaming characters live.

She said:

I wanted to turn my love of video games into something more and the overwhelming support from the community and my love of gaming keep me going, and I hope to one day make it a full-time job!

Find her on ashic0rn on Twitch and Twitter.

eSports

IT’S all revving up in the eSports racing world. The TORA British GT Championship is set to return and there are some big changes.  The headline is the switch from ProjectCARS to Forza 6.  That means a wider range of GT3 and GT4 cars and an opportunity for the Forza painter community to get in on the action.  The championship features 14 races over seven weekends on the three British GT venues available in Forza 6 — Silverstone, Spa and Brands Hatch plus four international circuits.  The first round is on April 2 on the Virginia International Raceway.

For more info or to sign up head to theonlineracingassociation.com and follow @TheReal_TORA.

AntWork Games

THE man behind Binaries has got a Dead End Job.  Just joking.  Tony Gowland has revealed that AntWork Games is working on Dead End Job — a twin-stick shooter coming to Xbox One, PS4 and PC early next year.  It’s a ghost-hunter special along the lines of Luigi’s Mansion.  Game fans will be able to get their hands on it at EGX Rezzed later this month.

See @AntWorkshop for more details.

I’ll be back next week with more from North of the Border, catch ye’s…

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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