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 2nd July 2017.
ARMS (Switch, £49.99)
BOX clever and you will be pleased as punch with ARMS. The beat-em-up bonanza has been given the full Nintendo treatment and it’s a knock-out on the Switch console. There is no need for a deep story. This is all about the fight mechanics as you aim to become ARMs champion over 10 stages. You can pick from 10 fighters — each with a different style. Some are nippy and small, others are heavy and pack a punch. You can also pick different sets of gloves — and they have their own attacks. You can get use those attacks from the start but the sets of gloves are split into three sets. You have to unlock them through mini games. That is good fun, but it’s a game of chance so can be a bit hit and miss.
Ignore the brawling and ARMS has a fist full of fun game modes like target practice, where you smash as many targets as you can, and a bomb-themed volleyball game which adds some variety. As it is a Switch game there are a number of ways to control it — you can use the Pro controller or the Joycons dock . . . or you can swing your arms around like an out-of-control ape. That is a right laugh, especially with friends. Younger gamers will have a blast but beware of flying punches. It also beats a gym workout.
The controls are tight and most matches are a ballet of side-stepping and perfect timing as you bid to land the perfect punch. The game is all wrapped in a cartoon style with splashes of colour and character across the stages. The roster of characters is also very stylish, with ninjas and mummies. The soundtrack does a good job to beef up the Nintendo vibe.
ARMS is a well-polished package which only has a few little issues. Unlocking the extra glove sets is a pain as is the fact you have to earn gold coins to play that mini game. That may well annoy some people as after a while because it feels like a bit of a grind as you chase the set you really want. However, that doesn’t stop Arms from being a fun and enjoyable blast as a solo player game. Add in some friends and it becomes the must-have fighter on the Switch. You need your wits about you to survive but it is great fun. It’s a sure-fire hit.
Shadow Warrior 2 (PC, Xbox One and PS4, £32.99)
THERE are times when you want to get rid of the trials and tribulations of the day with a gaming shoot-em-up frenzy or the chance to have a laugh. Shadow Warrior 2 is the ultimate answer — a host of bad puns and firepower. Bring it on. Polish indie studio Flying Wild Hog have crafted an over-the-top sequel which builds on the original.
It is set five years after the first game and you are wise-cracking ninja, Lo Wang. He must stop an army of demons and . . . you get the point. Storyline? No thanks, this is about shooting stuff and looking cool while doing it. You shoot, blast and stab your way through the 10-hour campaign. There is almost an open world feel with a hub where you get new missions and stock up on bullets and toys. You can get background on the story if you want. The levels are mix of huge playgrounds.
It has echoes of Doom, with added swearies, and it is fast and fluid as you run go all-guns-blazing then switch to your sword before piling in with your rocket launcher. Add in special attacks and a 70-strong arsenal of weapons and you will be back smiling in no time. The four-player co-op is also lots of fun.
The game has a crisp shiny feel with neat weapons effects and a top soundtrack. But there are question marks about the tone. It is a teenage boy’s dream, but some may be more shocked than entertained. That said, it is one of the most enjoyable shooters I’ve played this year . . . and so OTT.
More from E3
SHADOW Of Mordor was a surprise hit in 2014. It had an Assassin’s Creed style of play and introduced the nemesis system. The sequel, Shadow Of War, picks up the baton and improves the show. I tried it out on the Warner Bros stand at E3 and I can safely say fans will love it. The plot takes up the reins straight from Shadow Of Mordor. You play as half-dead Ranger, Talion. He has made a new Ring of Power and you must raise an Orc army to steal control of Mordor from Sauron.
The slick action I played saw me try to take control of a fort. That was a new feature and it was great fun storming the walls with your forces while fighting off stronger and stronger enemies. Middle Earth: Shadow Of War is set to land on October 10. I am off that day!
REBELLION has given Rogue Trooper Redux a nip and tuck. But this is no quick fix — it’s an overhaul from the ground up. Storywise, it follows the same route as the original release. That was disappointing because I wanted some new content.
I played the first level at E3. Rouge and his squad crash on a planet after being double-crossed by a shady general. That sets the stage for the Quartz Zone tale of revenge. The original was a solid 4/5 third-person cover shooter with some stealth elements and interesting mechanics. Redux is a bright, shiny new version which will draw you in. It is made by TickTock Games and is slated to land at some point later this year. It has been a true labour of love and I can’t wait for the full game.
On The Phone
SCOTS indie studio Ant Workshop has released Taps Aff — a free-to play simulator which gives you all the thrills of a true Scottish summer. You must encourage hordes of tiny Scots to get their taps aff in the summer sun. Then, if t rains, you must get the taps oan. Simple but fun.
Available now on the iTunes and Android stores.
I’ll be back next week with more from North of the Border, catch ye’s…