Welcome to a new regular feature for Codec Moments where we bring you the words and wisdom of Stuart Cullen from The Scottish Sun. Each week he’ll be sharing his column of gaming 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 Friday 13th January 2017.
PS4 Remote Play app & Sony PS4 Game Control Mount (Free & £24.99)
SO… you are in the heat of a firefight and a relative walks into the living room and wants the TV for The Great British Bake-Off. Well, fret no more. If you own a PS4 and an Xperia phone then you can download Sony’s new Remote Play app and get a mobile PS4. We tried out The Last Guardian with the Remote Play app and Sony’s controller mount on the Xperia ZX and Z3 phones, and prepare to be wowed. Simply link your Dualshock 4 with your phone through Bluetooth, connect your PS4 to the same WiFi network as your phone and you are ready to rock. One little word of warning, the WiFi connection can limit how far away from the console you can be, so no playing on the train just yet. We found the best results came when you connected the console to a router with a wire as it reduced the lag between the platforms.
The app shows you your home screen and the controller lets you navigate the screen just as if it was on the TV. In the main it is a great system but that lag does affect certain games. Destiny and Call Of Duty are just not playable because they need lightning quick input, but The Last Guardian worked a treat. The mount is a nice bit of kit — you can attach your handset and clip your controller below it. It has a good sturdy feel although the unit is a little top heavy with everything strapped in.
Both handsets handled the app well — the new ZX was my favourite as it has a slightly bigger screen. We just hope that one day it will go beyond your WiFi network so you can use it on the move or in different locations — that would be a game-changer. . . literally. The Remote Play app could end plenty of living room fights, but it’s also a great back-up to have on your phone. The controller mount is a solid piece of kit that does what it says on the tin.
Resident Evil 7 Candle (£9.99)
THE tension is building for the release of Resident Evil VII, but you can keep a light burning for your favourite slash ‘em up fest with… a CANDLE. It has to be the most bizarre bit of merchandise I have ever seen, but I am sure fans will be desperate to fire one up. This is no Yankee Candle — it is designed to add to your sense of horror and fear while playing the game in PSVR. It smells of the Baker House Mansion so expect a strong aroma of wood, guts and gore. The 4D candle from Numbskull is part of an extensive range of goodies, including the usual fare of T-shirts, mugs and a wallet.
The full collection — including the 4D candle — is available from yellowbulldog.co.uk.
The Last Guardian PS4 (£44.99)
IT has taken TEN YEARS to bring it to life but The Last Guardian must be a first buy in 2017 for PS4 owners.
Fumito Ueda has pored over every detail of the genDESIGN and SIE Japan Studios lovechild and it will take less than five minutes for you to know it was worth the wait. It shares a lot of ideas in terms of style, theme and gameplay with Ueda’s cult classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus but also raises the bar.
The game begins as an old man recounts his experience as a young boy with a mythical creature called Trico. You and Trico then have to escape the prison you are held in although the further you go the more you realise that things are not always what they seem. Trico is a dog/cat/bird creature and the key to the game is the bond you, as the young boy, forge with him as he becomes your faithful hound. Like any pet, you are never fully in control of him, but you can give him commands which will help you to get through areas.
Most of the gameplay is based around puzzles which unlock the next area. . . or finding food for Trico. There is a real dog-like quality to the big lump as he looks at you or gets so scared that you have to ask him multiple times to do something. That all adds to the bond you have with him. The developers have given him plenty of character. Get it right and you fall off a ledge then he can catch you. . . but beware, sometimes he just stares at you as you fall to your doom. It is a heart-breaking feeling if I am honest.
There is a combat element where you face off against stone guardians, but it is more about you being cunning enough to lead them into Trico’s path and he does the business. The game looks stunning with an oil painting feel at times. The vast open vistas and dark catacombs just ooze style. Trico and the boy are great — from the way they move and interact down to the feather detail on Trico’s back. It is all backed up by an epic fantasy score.
The bad bits? The biggest issue is with the camera. It is OK in open areas but when get into a small room, it’s a nightmare. It just doesn’t work. You get a view block 9 times out of 10. Trico’s free thinking is also great but it does annoy you when you repeat a command only for him to roll around like a daftie. But I guess that’s how most real pet owners feel at times. The Last Guardian may have been 10 years in the making but Ueda has crafted a truly magical game. It does have a camera issues but the tale it tells and the bond you build with Trico are pretty special. Quite simply, The Last Guardian is a must for PS4 owners.
On The Download
COULD you go a whole year without buying any new games? You can’t trade. You can go to games conventions, but can’t download any goodies. Welcome to the Year Of Shame Challenge. It is gamer hell. The only saving grace is that you can play games you have already bought that may be gathering dust on a shelf. The challenge is now in its fifth year and sees Derek McRoberts, Steven Addicott, Samuel Davies and Trevor Phillips take up the cudgel. As someone who was on the Year Three challenge, I know it can get brutal.
Search Year Of Shame Challenge 5 on iTunes or download it from http://yoschallenge2017.jellycast.com/podcast/feed/2, or follow @YOSChallenge5.
I’ll be back next week with more from North of the Border, catch ye’s…