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 16th April 2017.
This Is The Police (Xbox One, PS4 and PC, £14.99)
HOW ambitious are you? And can you find the answers in a strategy computer game. It’s an arresting thought that comes to the fore in This Is The Police. It is from the Weappy Studio guys who made run-of-the-mill office work into a game. This time you play Chief of Police Jack Boyd, voiced by John St John, in fictional Freeburg in the 80s. You are being forced into early retirement by the city’s corrupt mayor.
The game covers your last 180 days in 15-20 hours of gameplay as Boyd tries to bank $500,000 for his retirement. How you get the cash is up to you. Boyd is burnt out and that thin blue line has become very blurred. So, you could work hard and make busts and you’ll possibly make enough in bonuses to cover it. But the odds are you getting your hands dirty. You can take sides in Mafia wars, ignore reported crimes to protect your kick-backs or even take the wages of cops killed under your command. Or… You can manage your force well you by hiring new officers and working murder cases with your detectives. But you know the Mayor will always be on your back. He is one of the best bad guys I’ve seen — really sleazy.
The graphic style really sets the tone of the story and, visually, it has more in common with a spreadsheet at times than a AAA title. That is actually good because everything is crisp and the UI is well designed, allowing you to navigate a number of menus while keeping an eye on your officers. The soundtrack is outstanding — a mix of Jazz and blues. Each song is on a record or cassette and you actually have to leave your desk to change them. That is a neat touch. Far be it for me to argue against value for money but it is a little long for this type of game. Boredom may set in before the end credits. But it is a welcome change from the thrash-and-slash games.
Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition (Xbox One,PS4 and PC, £39.99)
GAMERS had a ball when Bulletstorm was first unleashed back in 2011. The new HD remastered version keeps the fast-paced fun but it will also give you the willies. That is the only way I can politely tell you that, while the gunplay is fun, it is also full of male genital jokes that become a bit of a ball ache. As People Can Fly and Gearbox Software teamed up to give the game a shiny makeover in Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition, but it is more of graphics overhaul than a chance to tone down the language. Young gamers and grannies beware — some of the banter will curl your toes.
You fill the boots of Grayson Hunt, leader of the Dead Echo elite team who do General Sarrano’s dirty work. Fast forward 10 years and Hunt and his crew are now the most wanted space pirates in the galaxy. After a mission they run into the Ulysses — Serrano’s flagship. In a drunken rage Hunt charges at the Ulysses which is not a good career move for his crew. For an all-guns-blazing shooter the campaign holds a good tale in Hunt’s search for revenge. The gameplay is built around a skill system where you earn points as you get more creative with your kills. It is hugely addictive and your arsenal of weapons just feeds the frenzy.
The game also has a multiplayer mode where you and three friends face off against waves of enemies over 12 different maps and 30 challenge maps. It’s decent, especially the combo skill kills with your team mates, but it doesn’t evolve. The game may be six years old but the graphics overhaul has added a new sense of epic to the standout moments, from escaping a huge grinding wheel on a train to jumping off a dam as it collapses around you.
It also has a new lighting system that shines on the previously dark and dull areas of the game. The soundtrack is OK but the stars are the sound effects. They add a real bone-crunching vibe.
There is also a new Duke Nukem DLC which adds the ability to play as Duke. He is voiced by Jon St John. It is a great addition but I am not sure why it’s a pre-order only DLC. Everyone should have access to it. It would also have been nice for a few new chapters instead of just the original release’s DLC content. Newcomers will have a blast from start to finish. If you played the original then this is a great trip down memory lane.
Toukiden 2 (PS Vita, PS4, PS3 and PC, £29.99)
THE PlayStation Vita . . . remember that? It may not have been feeling the love here recently but Japanese developers are still making great titles for the console. Toukiden 2 — which is also available on other Sony platforms — is a case in point. The RPG is back with a bang after a two-year gap. This is a Monster Hunter-style of play but with a few interesting twists. It clocks in between 20 and 25 hours.
The world is hit by the awaken which unleashes hundreds of Oni demons. You start fighting them but then you are dragged into a portal that sends you into the future where the Oni now rule. It’s up to you to find out why it happened. There is a tonne of content which explains a lot about the world and the characters you’ll meet along the way. You get a host of weapons to take on the Oni bosses, but you can also gear up the souls of fallen slayers to give you an edge. You also have a spirit hand attack like a grappling hook to grab enemies or forge new weapons from the parts of dead Oni.
The looks are OK but it does feel flat at times and the fact that you have to use the touchscreen feature to activate your spirit attack on Vita is a pain. But Toukiden 2 is a solid, fun game that is deep. Fans of the series will love it and it will breathe new life into the Vita.
On The Stream
GET the cosplay lowdown from Tabitha Lyons. Tabitha and dad Nicolas Samiotis made history in 2014 when they were the first prop makers to stream on Twitch. Now they are firm fan favourites.
“When we first started, there were only a few creative streamers online and the rest were digital artists.”
The dad-and-daughter combo have now put up cameras in their workshop to let people see what it’s really like making props as well as how they work. It also gives viewers a chance to have questions answered live by the pair. You can find their channel over at twitch.tv/artyfakes or follow @Artyfakes for more updates on their latest projects.
LET’S hear it for New York City FC — the first US team to sign a pro FIFA player. They have signed Christopher Holly was joining the club. Holly has been playing FIFA for 12 years and racks up roughly 25 hours a week on the game. He is a real star — last month he was ranked third on the FUT Champions Leaderboard (for America on the PS4) with a win-loss record of 191-9. In December he was ranked No1 worldwide, registering a record of 197-3. Now he aims to qualify for the FUT World Championships in Berlin.
I’ll be back next week with more from North of the Border, catch ye’s…