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 29th October 2017.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole (Xbox One, PS4 and PC, £44.99)
STRAP yourself in because superheroes are getting the South Park treatment. If you have watched the cartoon mayhem then you know the score. Close to the edge. Possibly offensive. But very, very funny. Ubisoft teamed up with South Park brains Trey Parker and Matt Stone back in 2014 for South Park: The Stick Of Truth. The result was a good kicking for high fantasy games. So superheroes could expect no mercy — and they didn’t get any.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a tongue-in-cheek look at the worlds of Marvel and DC Comics. There are plenty of digs at the movie side of their business, but nothing is really safe. The story focuses on the South Park gang trying to rescue a cat to get a $100 reward to kick-start their superhero franchises. But the group soon splinters into two sides — Coon and friends led by Cartman and Freedom Pals under Timmy’s control. You are the new kid — a voiceless character who joins the action in a similar way to Stick Of Truth. You have hidden powers, but we won’t spoil what they are.
The gameplay is broken into two main styles — walking around the world of South Park solving puzzles and visiting locations from the show as you try to get selfies with the characters. Then there is a surprisingly deep role-play combat section. It is beefier than the first game and now has more attack options. You can add items to a style tree to boost your powers and you can unlock special powers that pause things or reward time during fights. And there are some bizarre mini games like having to dance to get a dead fish into heaven on the back of a flying rainbow. Typical South Park.
But that means it is very funny, but you do question some of the humour at times. Again, typical South Park. The game is basically a playable 20-hour episode of the show. The soundtrack works perfectly from voice acting to random songs. The combat does get a bit repetitive and the on-screen font is a bit small, but it won’t stop you laughing out loud, you bad people.
Logitech G433 (Multiformat, £109.99)
LOGITECH may not have dreamed up the most exciting name for their headset. But they have proved you don’t need to spend a fortune to stand out from the crowd. They look like a normal headset — although they are covered in either red, black, blue or blue camouflage fabric and they are very light. That said, they are quite solid, especially with the hard plastic headband. You get two different mics — a boom, which plugs in with a jack for home gaming, and an in-line mic for use on the move.
The ear cups are huge and they are removable if you fancy something slightly different. But it all works really well together and means you can have a long gaming session and almost forget you are wearing them. The 3.5mm jack means you can plug them into pretty much anything Xbox One, PS4 and PC even your phone. You have a choice of cables to make connection life easier. There is a good sound range and a solid bass so games pack the right punch at the right time. We tested them with Forza 7, The Evil Within 2 and Rainbow Six Siege and they helped deliver a greater depth to each one. Our only problem was when we hooked up the DAC for the Surround Sound and lost a lot of the master volume, but that’s no game breaker.
The Evil Within 2 (Xbox One, PS4 and PC, £44.99)
THERE’S no better time than Halloween to scare yourself silly on the console. Close the curtains, switch off the lights, fire up The Evil Within 2 and prepare to make sure you will jump at anything that goes bump in the night. Bethesda and Tango Gameworks have produced another scare fest to follow their surprise 2014 hit. This second outing takes everything that was good about the first game and makes it bigger.
The story picks up a few years later, so wee spoiler alert — the main focus is Sebastian who is searching for his daughter. He wants to make up for mistakes in his past but believes she is dead. There is pretty much a B movie feel to the story — some will love that , and it is a definite step up from the original game. That said, it still comes over as a bit too po-faced at times during the 11-hour campaign. The gameplay is pretty much the same as before — classic over-the-shoulder shooting fare — but they have added an open world element to the action so you can explore mini-sandboxes full of side missions, hidden items and extra nuggets of lore. It is also worth pointing out that the design of the enemies is outstanding — each one is packed with gory detail. They are also much smarter than your average zombies. They mix up their attacks and that keeps you on your toes. The bosses are also first class and they keep the game feeling fresh. The graphics are as dark and moody as you would want in a game like this. The overall vibe is horror and the developers deliver.
It is neatly backed up by the soundtrack and overall sound design — the blood-curdling screams in the distance and the thud of enemies walking towards you adds a serious scare factor. But this is no walk in the zombie park. You have to earn your stripes — sometimes it seems like the challenge is too tough. The stealth side of things is also a bit hit and miss —so you go for a head shot more often than not. Fans of the first game will love it, while newcomers will enjoy the screamathon. It’s fright on.
I’ll be back next week with more from North of the Border, catch ye’s…