Scotch Corner – Return to Passable Wolfentstein

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 11th February 2018.

 

Wolfenstein II: The Diaries of Agent Silent Death (Xbox One, PS4 and PC, £7.99)

WOLFENSTEIN II has been a real rollercoaster ride.  The main game was a massive hit.  The first DLC chapter from Freedom Chronicles was a bit of a low.  Chapter Two — The Diaries Of Agent Silent Death — has come hard on the heels and it is a bit of a mixed bag.  It is great fun, but it is too short.  There is a big stealth aspect that will thrill some fans and annoy others.

This is a spy thriller with more than a sprinkling of the James Bond vibe.  You play as Jessica Valiant, and OSS agent whose spy hubby was killed.  She quits the service and goes into hiding in South America . . . until she gets a tip-off about the location of the three men who betrayed her husband.  Cue Jessica’s return to duty for one last job.  Vengeance.  The desire for revenge sets up each chapter well and the game is full of the same comic-style art as the first chapter.

Adventures Of Gunslinger Joe felt more like a reskinned affair with little new gameplay content, but Silent Death is all about the stealth.  The game has always had a “stealth system” element, but it was not the highlight.  You could be spotted after just 20 seconds then face a shotgun duel to survive.  Silent Death has improved on that and it works well.  You have a silenced pistol and throwing knives so be patient and spot enemy movements and you can clear levels without being seen.

Now the down side.  Jessica’s armour struggles with the standard Wolfenstein firefight and each level is way too short.  Just as you are getting in the groove, it’s over.  You will finish this in around 50 minutes, so a few more levels would have been welcome.  There is a better mix of locations this time round.  You are still reusing assets, but they don’t seem as obvious as in Gunslinger Joe.  Now all eyes are focused firmly on the final chapter — The Amazing Deeds Of Captain Wilkins.  Expectations are high.

Score: 3.5/5

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4, £42.99)

THERE have been more Final Fantasy games than I can remember, and this one is a bare-knuckle blast.  The theory is simple — take a character from one of the series and pitch them against warriors from the other series.  The Dissidia NT spin-off is set in an alternative world between the different Final Fantasy universes where powerful gods can use the characters as pawns in their game.  It’s a bit over the top but it does a good job at explaining why the events are happening and why villains are now fighting beside the good guys.  But the core story mode is a pig.

You have to unlock cut scenes using an in-game currency which you get by repeatedly completing the arcade mode.  You could have to do more than 20 fights to get enough to unlock one battle in the story mode.  This really should be re-thought and revamped.  Also, it is a fighter but one without epic combo systems.  It is built around a bravery system that builds the power of your attack through you landing blows on the enemy.  As you throw a move it drains their stamina — you steal their brave points which makes them weaker and you stronger.  There is a catch — when you attack you spend your bravery points, so if you’ll need to rebuild your attack if you fail with the killer blow.  There is plenty of risk reward but timing is king in this game.  Add in the fact that it is a 3v3 system and you’ll need to keep your eyes on all the bravery counts at all times.  If you get caught off guard, you lose one of the three lives shared by your team.  That’s a neat twist because you can track the weakest character and hammer them until you get the win.

There is a solid selection of characters from all 15 main games plus a few of the spin-offs.  Each has its own feel and moves so they will take time for you to get to grips with them, but you can build some powerful teams once you get your head around it.  Just to mix things up, you can also get to a summons — a huge crystal which unleash a super power move and often changes the battlefield.  The game looks neat, with some stunning cut scenes and the effects on the fight scenes are very good.  The soundtrack also carries the Final Fantasy vibe with some epic numbers.  It is fair to say that mega fans of the series will get the most out of this game.  Others may be unimpressed by the hit-and-miss nature of the story mode and the fact that the combat is not very deep once you have got the hang of it.  There are a lot of cool ideas and the game makes a few of them work but you can’t shake the “half-baked” feeling.  It is very much style over substance.

Score: 3.5/5

On The Stream

TWITCH superstar Dr DisRespect made his highly anticipated return after a break for personal reasons last year.   The two-time back-to-back 93-94 Blockbuster Video Game champ — complete with moustache and fake mullet — came back with a bang.

He claims to have broken Twitch as the site crashed at the same time of his stream starting.  He came close to breaking the audience record for a solo stream with 388,000 viewers.  He also won his first PUBG game.  Follow @DrDisRespect for more.

 

TYLER — or iretrogamer on YouTube — is the grandson of Silver Age comic artist legend Mike Esposito.  But rather than follow the family link to Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, he was hooked by computer games.  Tyler and his games-mad dad had a collection with everything from SEGA, Nintendo, TurboGrafx-16 and other classic consoles.

Tyler turns back the clock in My Retro Life, which combines home movie clips and yesteryear gaming.  See iretrogamer on YouTube or follow @i_retrogamer.

Ratchet Up The Clanks

ROBOT-smash fans are in for a treat — The Surge 2 is on the way.  Focus Home Interactive and Deck13 aim to have it on consoles and PC by 2019.  Details are a little light on the ground, but it will take place in a new environment and will have improved more hardcore combat.  Well worth keeping it on your radar.

Asemblance (Xbox One, PS4 and PC, £6.39)

YOU wake up in a room with a machine that can replicate your memories.  You have to find out just who you are.  OK, at this point, Asemblance sounds like a turn-off, but hang in there, because the Nilo Studios walking SIM /puzzler is a thriller.  It has a huge Twilight Zone vibe, or even Dark Mirror.  The core tale is about how far you are willing to go to relive or forget events of your past no matter the outcome.

It is a short game — your first play through will clock in at no more than two hours, but you could even do it in 30 minutes on replay.  You travel between four locations in search of clues but it all feels like a teaser to a much greater tale.  The Nilo team insist this is the first game in a series of tales which can be played as separate journeys so maybe that’s why.  However, the replay value means there are five endings which you have to unlock.  Each one is just interesting enough to egg you on to the next.

The sun-kissed forests and foreboding empty apartments look good and the soundtrack carries the tone and emotion.  It all adds up to an interesting game but it does repeat itself.  There are also a few audio glitches along the way.  But there’s a good night’s entertainment to be had.  It’s just not as good as similar games such as What Remains Of Edith Finch and P.T.

Score: 3/5

News With A Bit Of A Bite

Vampyr, the adventure role-player, is out on June 5th.  The game is set in London, 1918.  You are a doctor/vampire who must choose whether to feed on the innocent or spare them.  It’s the first game from Dontnod since the original Life Is Strange back in 2015.

DUNDEE indie developer Team Junkfish have released the turn-based strategy game Attack Of The Earthlings on PC.  It will make Xbox One, PS4 and Switch this summer.  Humans have made it to Planet X13 to mine for fossil fuel reserves, but upset the locals.  Cue battle time.

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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