Scotch Corner – A Life Of Crime

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 April 2018.

 

Immortal Redneck (Xbox One, PS4 and PC, £15.99)

IMMORTAL Redneck is about a redneck called . . er . . . Redneck who is . . . er . . . immortal.  Now we’ve revealed that, we can tell you this is a first person shooter that thinks outside the box.  The Creme Games creation does not really do story, but you are in Egypt and need to blast your way to the top of a few huge pyramids, clearing nasty objects floor by floor.  Then there are some boss battles as well as solving puzzles and finding hidden treasure while you try to stay alive.

Get to grips with the tight controls and swift movement from room to room and you stand a chance.  If not, you die.  A lot.  And dying means re-running rooms and then you’ll spot a pattern to where the enemies are — that makes completing the task more of a grind that a fun fest.  That said there is a big arsenal to pick from, including a magic staff.  That’s cool.

Score: 3/5

Today a limited run of 1,600 PS4 box copies of Immortal Redneck are up for grabs.  See strictlylimitedgames.com for info.

A Way Out (Xbox One, PS4 and PC, £24.99)

YOU can’t beat chill-out time with your pals — especially when you fire up the console.  Lebanese developer Josef Fares obviously reckons party time is best because A Way Out is a full-on team adventure.  Fares has teamed up with EA to serve this up as part of the EA Originals programme.  The key aspect is that you can only play in co-op — either online or on the couch.  And, in a very clever move, only one of you has to own the game — the other person can download a “demo” that lets you get involved.  You’ll need to pick your pal carefully because you need to work together to shine and that can take a little while to get used to.

The screen is split into two so you can see what your partner is doing.  For example, one plays lookout while the other sneaks around.  Communication is key as you tag-team each challenge.  You’ll also play sections where you’ll have to agree on the strategy.  If there is a gripe, it is actually the reverse of what makes the game so good — you need a pal.  You can’t play this on your own.  You can’t even operate the drop-down menu without a pal — so heaven help you if everyone is at work when you are on a day off.

The story surrounds Vincent and his cell mate Leo in the 70s.  They have been betrayed by Harvey so plan a prison break in a bid for revenge.  It all feels like a gripping boxset and there are plenty of touching moments and gut punches over the six-hour journey.  And that’s what makes this game enthralling.  When you’re on the run you’ll find a host of mini- games, from darts and baseball to playing a few tunes on the piano and banjo.  It is a fun distraction.  The graphics reflect the 70s vibe.  Everything has a soft lens feel and look.  The soundtrack is solid and voice acting is outstanding.  Vincent and Leo are both really believable.

Score: 4.5/5

Devil May Cry HD Collection (Xbox One and PS4, £24.99)

ENTER hack-and-slash paradise with a Devil May Cry hat-trick.  The new HD remake serves up the first three games of a trail-blazing series.  Dante is an uber-cool demon hunter who slays his way through the demons to a spectacular background of heavy metal.  So… the first game is good, but has a weak camera system.  The second is a bit meh and grey.  The third gets it all back on track with its fast and fluid combat.

The Devil May Cry HD Collection first saw action on the Xbox 360 and PS3 so it’s a shame this one didn’t include Devil May Cry 4.  It’s still a fast, fun history lesson on hack-and-slash gaming and a chance to perfect some Smokin’ Sick Style combos.

Score: 3.5/5

Injustice 2: Legendary Edition (Xbox One and PS4, £44.99)

INJUSTICE 2 was an instant hit when it landed last year, so there was much excitement at the idea of a Legendary Edition.  A fun fighting system and bucket loads of great characters — what’s not to like?  You get all the DLC for the game as well as a few other bonuses all wrapped up in one package.

The big draw is 10 new characters, with the likes of Red Hood and Black Mamba.  But it also adds fighters from the Mortal Kombat games such as Raiden and Sub-Zero and comic legends Hellboy and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  You also get five special skins.  It all elevates the game even higher.  Genius.

Score: 5/5

Yakuza 6: Song of Life (PS4, £39.99)

THE Beast from the East is now one of the best in the west.  The Yakuza series has achieved epic status in the Far East but has never really gone beyond a hardcore band of fans here.  The seventh game in the franchise is about to change all that.  Kazuma Kiryu is recovering from the power struggles and betrayals that filled the last game.  He returns from prison to find his daughter Haruka is in a coma after a hit-and-run accident.  He must look after her new-born son Haruto, but he wants answers . . . and revenge.  That’s a strong flavour of the epic first game.

You travel to Onomichi Jingaicho in Hiroshima as the tale gets deeper.  There are many alleyways as you meet different characters from the seedy criminal underground.  There is also a strong “family is everything” vibe to the game.  It is a central theme as you examine what those bonds mean.  But there is a lighter side.  The series has always had a goofy sense of humour and it is alive and well here although it is at its best in the side missions.  The gameplay follows the usual formula.  There are a number of good-sized areas to explore and carry out missions, but then there are many side missions and mini-games — sort of like a mini Grand Theft Auto.

You will spend most of your time beating up thugs but the fighting system hasn’t got as many styles as the last game.  It is still fast and fluid, but it can be over the top, especially when you can pick up objects like a bike to beat up a gang.  When you are not fighting you can try a few mini-games which range from darts to karaoke in a bar.  There is a handful of classics, like Outrun, Super Hang On and Virtual Fighter, then there is a clan war game with an RTS vibe as you build a gang and fight it out for control of the streets.

The look is stunning — with packed, neon-soaked streets and sleepy docks.  Everything has a real-world vibe and is packed with detail.  The facial animation can be great but the standards do drop from time to time.  The biggest impact of this game will depend on how new you are to the series.  Those hardcore fans might think this is a trimmed-down new kid on the block.  Newcomers will love it as a easy way into the series.  In many ways that makes it a perfect slice of digital Japan — shiny enought to attract new gamers and just enough to keep the old-school fans happy.

Score: 4/5

I’ll be back next week with more from North of the Border. Catch ye’s…

 

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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