I’m not kidding! Astro Boy: Omega Factor is significantly better than any licensed game ought to be. And you know what? It may very well be the best licensed game ever made... Because it ignores the trappings of most licensed games.

For one, instead of being whored out to inexperienced developers like most licensed titles are, the 2003 Astro Boy anime had two teams assigned by Sega to two adaptations - Sonic Team, for a completely forgettable PS2 version, and Treasure, for the Gameboy Advance “Omega Factor” version. These two games have nothing to do with each other; they have different gameplay styles and different stories.

Yeah, Omega Factor has a story. A damned good one. I won’t spoil anything, because that would be rude of me, but this is a deep story. For what’s fundamentally a kids’ franchise, it goes to some really dark places, including robot/human prejudice, political assassinations, time travel/revision and mass extermination. In that regard, it pays beautiful homage to the post-nuke that inspired the original Astro Boy manga. Now, to my knowledge, none of what happens here happened in the anime - this story is completely original, and completely skirts the typical story trappings of licensed games. And believe me, it’s fantastic.

But let’s not forget: This is a Tresure game. While the story is great, and really drives the pace of the game, the fundamental gameplay mechanics are excellent. Basically, the game plays like a hybrid of a scrolling beat-’em-up and a Mega Man game; Astro uses punches, kicks and Spirit Gun a finger laser to do weak damage. These weaker attacks charge a meter that powers stronger attacks - a powerful mega-laser, and a screen-covering butt canon. And it’s fun! You’re basically toggling between weak attacks and strong ones. It feels good. And the gameplay is just... Fun. It doesn’t have any deep RPG elements, but it’s just a joy to play. And it’s rare to find a game that I can say that genuinely about.

Honestly, play this game. Really. I can say, without hyperbole, that it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played. It goes for around $30-40 online, loose cart, but emulation is definitely a thing. And for handheldphobes, it looks and sounds great on my Retron 5 and sound system. I imagine the GC Gameboy Player will give you a similar experience.

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Star Ocean: The Second Story

I tried really hard to like this game. I really did. But honestly, having now played the first three Star Ocean games, I’m noticing a common theme between all of them. The story starts out really strong, but then tapers off into bland mediocrity for hours on end with no interesting plot. The game pretends to be a sci-fi tale, but quickly abandons all traces of sci-fi elements in favour of a medieval setting on an “undeveloped world”. Character development doesn’t really happen at any point, and no characters have even a cheap gimmick to make them interesting. Star Ocean 2 is kind of... Bad. Not, “avoid it like the plague” bad, but definitely “life is short, you don’t need this game” bad. Every time I think the game is getting interesting (for instance, the “hero” protagonist proving to be a jealous asshole lusting after the girl he saved, or hints at a technological explanation of “magic” in this primitive society), it just drops everything and goes back to being terribly uninteresting. The gameplay is fun, I guess, and it kept be going a good 15 hours into the game, near the end of Disc 1, but... I just had no interest in continuing on. It’s just a bland, unfulfilling experience, and definitely one you can live without.

DmC: Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition

For the longest time, I could not understand the sheer anger online over 30fps gaming. “60fps+, or get fucked!” they shout. And even as a PC AND console gamer, I neither saw the difference, nor understood the big deal. But now I do. DmC is a fantastic game, probably the best Devil May Cry game, and you should play any version you can. It’s amazing. But the PS4 Definitive Edition? Yeah, it’s a marked improvement over the 30fps PS3 version. I liked the game so much on PS3 that I picked up the superior version on a whim, and I compared the two. And seriously? Night. And. Day. It’s difficult to put in words, but even despite the graphical improvements (which honestly, aren’t that different), and despite my 720p LCD-TV that hypotheically maxes out at 30fps, it’s just soooo much smoother. Like, everything feels cleaner. The best comparison I can think of is Wiimotes - the difference between 30fps and 60fps is the difference between the normal Wiimote and the Wii Motion Plus. It’s enough to justify complaints about. Frankly, in this generation, no game should run sub-60fps. There’s no excuse. The PS4 and XBone are powerful enough to handle it, and there’s absolutely no reason not to at least make it optional on PC games.

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Moon: Chronicles

This is a 3DS FPS game that I got in a Humble Bundle. It’s terrible. But you know what? FPS games actually work awesome on New 3DS. And, I imagine, with the circle pad addition for the normal DS as well. I was actually surprised at how well it works. It took me a while to get used to the N3DS analog nub, but once I did, it felt great. Honestly, I’d love to see more shooters on 3DS. Does anyone know of any good ones? Are there any? I wonder if we’ll see a Metroid Prime Hunters 2 someday... (Oh, and game devs? A 3D version of DOOM or Duke Nukem 3D for 3DS would be amaaaaaaazing. Please make these.)

Transistor

This game sucks. I’m sorry, I know everyone likes it, but it sucks. I bought the PS4 version on sale, and my fiance (who loves the soundtrack) both watched me play and tried it out. We both hated it. The sword does just. Not. Stop. Fucking. Talking. Seriously, it’s like a glimpse into Joss Whedon’s brain. Every 3 seconds, there’s a “clever” quip, or stating something completely fucking obvious. And sweet Jesus, it was one of the most irritating experiences I’ve ever had with a game. The gameplay seems like it could be okay, but without much explanation or visual feedback regarding what my character was doing, or what effect my attacks had, it just felt... Weak. It’s completely lacking in any sort of satisfying “oomph” that makes both RPG and action combat satisfying. And is there a story? There might be. But an hour or two in, I just didn’t give a shit. I’m sure the sword would whisper some philosophical waxing, maybe drop a Blade Runner reference, but I just didn’t care at that point. I went to the PS4 menu, and just deleted it. Without saying a word. It’s so bad. The only good thing? I liked how the PS4 controller lit up to the rhythm of the sword’s speech. I thought that was really neat.

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Oh, and here’s me trying to read the text for this game:

I have a 32-inch TV. I sit about 8-10 feet from my TV. There is NO excuse for the text being as small as it is in this game - it’s barely readable. The faint yellow text on dark blue background doesn’t help either. It’s small text on a colour scheme that makes it look like a blurred mess. I know it’s a port of a PC game, but seriously. This is a console version. People don’t hunch in front of their TVs like cave trolls. Get it together, whatever smarmy dev studio made this piece of shit game.

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Konami

#FucKonami. No, I won’t stop saying it. I’m mad about Transistor being awful, but seriously, fuck Konami.