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 25th February 2018.
Monster Energy Supercross (Xbox One, PS4, Switch and PC, £44.99)
MOTOCROSS is an ideal gaming playground — racing, crashing and big leaps. It is almost guaranteed to be a success when it is done by the two-wheel maestros at Milestone. And Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame is fast, frenetic and, more importantly, fun. There are 22 racers battling it out on a special indoor track. If you have played anything by Milestone then you know what is in store. It actually feels like last year’s MXGP was the foundation for this, just with a few tweaks.
Let’s get one thing straight — you won’t open this up and be good at it. You need to master the art but the rewind button is a godsend. There is a host of modes, with up to 11 other racers able to race off online but the career mode is the big attraction. You build your own rider and bike before fighting your way up the tables in a bid to win titles in a variety of championships. As it is the official game of the Monster Energy Supercross series there is a tonne of detail on bikes, riders and track . . . and an almost endless number of Monster Energy billboards. However, it is still a buzz to be on your favourite bike.
The developers have pitched this between arcade fun and hardcore SIM. It is then up to you which way you dial it but it never fully becomes one or the other. There are 17 real-world tracks and the editor let you build your dream circuit. The flying mud is a cool look as are the floodlights in the arena during the race but some of the riders’ faces are a bit rough. It is just as well they have helmets on most of the time. The soundtrack does the basics, but nothing more and the loading times are cause for a moan or two. Fans will have been waiting for this to drop and will love it. We reckon it is one of the best Milestone games so far. It has taken what they have done well in the past and built on it.
Shadow of the Colossus (PS4, £29.99)
ALL gamers have a hit list — the titles they have to tick off. Most lists feature Mario, Sonic and Halo, but Shadow Of The Colossus was a cult hit as well. Now Sony have given it the remastered treatment for its launch on the PS4. It was originally released on PS2 in 2006 as a follow-up to Team Ico’s first game, Ico. In theory, it is a simple game, but don’t be fooled. There is much more to it than meets the eye.
A young warrior called Wander is trying to save a girl called Mono, but then a god-like entity gets involved and the game bursts into life. Wander has to track down and slay 16 Colossi — a range of majestic beasts that roam the land — because that would heal Mono. There is not much to the tale, but it is still enough to hook you, and the gameplay is epic. You set out on your trusty steed, Agro, with just your sword and bow. You use the sword to guide you to where each beasts is then you have to hunt it down and try to kill it. The journey reveals the beauty of the land but the uncluttered nature of the tale means you can enjoy that as you plot your next move. There are no distractions. However, each battle is huge and different. The game switches to more of a puzzle platformer as you have to find the beast’s weak points and bring them down. That often means climbing up them and holding on to their fur. Not an easy feat.
That all seems straightforward but there is an undercurrent to the game because you start to question just who the beast in this fantasy world actually is. You also find that you and Wander become almost numbed to the task. All this fun was in the original, but bring in the effects of the remastering and the quality gets ratcheted up. Everything — from the ground up — has been worked on. The beautiful landscapes are now truly stunning. The lighting adds depth to the pictures you see, but it is actually understated — but they come to the fore as you ride though forests and deserts and the detail on the Colossi is seriously impressive. The soundtrack plays a huge part of the impact. It rises to a crescendo just as you reach epic moments, especially as a beast is beaten. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that it is not over-blown. When you are travelling, the only sound is Agro’s hooves beating on the ground as he thunders on.
The developers have also done some work under the hood — the game is buttery smooth. A few controller tweaks help it in the 2018 gaming landscape plus there are some new Easter eggs to be discovered during your adventure. Shadow Of The Colossus is not perfect. A few glitches in the original have made the jump across. The camera is a bit sticky in tight spaces and the jumping grab mechanic is a bit hit and miss. But we defy you to let these minor grumbles ruin your enjoyment. This is an epic, deep and thrilling game. It has to be on that must-play list.
On The Stream
TOM Marett has loved gaming since he was five years old — now he is a Twitch streamer bringing his passion to the wider world. Check in and you’ll get a friendly welcome as he aims to build a community of like-minded people who want to relax, have a laugh and enjoy gaming.
“I hope to become a Twitch Partner in the future and I’ll also do monthly giveaways as I feel it is important to give back to the community that supports me, making my dream a reality.”
EA has finally backed up the rumours and revealed that Burnout Paradise Remastered is on its way. It will include the base game and the eight add-on packs that were released for the arcade racer. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.
The game will also have new high-res textures and the option to run at 4K and 60FPS on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. It will cost £34.99 on Xbox One and PS4 from March 16.
Celeste (Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC and Mac, £29.99)
THE indie games market is shining at the moment — and much of that is down to games like Celeste. Celeste — which started life as a four-day jam session between Matt Thorson and Noel Berry — has rock-sold gameplay and a touching tale. You are Madeline, a young girl with bags of character who wants to climb a huge mountain to escape the daily frustrations of life. The climb — over eight stages — reveals some great characters as Maddy meets her inner demons.
You have a handful of machines but the key is how you use them to run, jump , dash and wall-grab your way across a mix of easy to ultra-tough levels. There is a good mix — from moving platforms to fighting — and you have to think it all out. It has a charming retro 8-bit pixel art style and the soundtrack is one of the best in a game this year. It carries a great tone and emotion.
I’ll be back next week with more from North of the Border. Catch ye’s…