DS 2 - Internal Storage + Downloadable Games

All I want from a DS 2 - backwards compatibility with Nintendo DS games and large internal storage (20 - 30 GB) that you can download both Virtual Console games (including Game Boy and DS) and full sized DS 2 games. Games will also be available retail for a similar price.

I think we're more likely to see this in PSP 2, though.

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Burnout Bikes Impressions

It's the Year of Paradise. Criterion Games is releasing hours and hours of new content for its users for free. The most recent update, formerly called Codename: Davis, has been released and it includes Day/Night cycles, weather, and, most importantly, Bikes, or motorcycles.

In-game shot of a bike at night
One thing you should know about bikes is that there is no boost. The bikes are more about speed and maneuvering than stunts.Two bikes are available from the start. One of them is rather slow, but it has a decent strength (at least compared to the other option). The other bike is a 9 for speed, but it only has one strength. I chose the latter of the two options due to the fact that motorcycles aren't meant to be aggressive. After achieving a bike completion rate of 50% (which isn't hard at all), you will be awarded with a new version of the first bike with less strength and more speed. There is a fourth motorcycle, as well, and I presume it's an upgrade of the fast motorcycle and is probably available at 100% completion (101% is possible). Also worth noting is that there are now both male and female riders, though at a crash these disappear and no damage is done to the bike, which is rather unfortunate for a Burnout game.

The update adds 20 new awards to the game, which PS3 gamers should be familiar with. On the 360, the awards for the base game were just achievements. Most of these, unfortunately, aren't very creative and rather easy to get. The update is also nowhere near as long as the ten hours promised. I've only put a few hours into it and I'm over 50% completion. Also, all of the "Burning Rides" and "Midnight Rides" are extremely easy. I have only lost one race so far, and that was the first one when I still didn't know how to control the bikes very well. On a similar note, I noticed I found steering in third-person much better than first-person, which is weird for me because I play the cars in first person. The main problem is that when turning in first person, the camera tilts as you'd expect it to, but it only reinstates the idea that your TV is not your eyes. The only somewhat challenging part of the game are the new Day and Night road rules, which require a somewhat more precise control of the bikes, but are still very easy.

All and all, the pack is cool, especially since it's free, but I hope that Criterion expands on bikes further in future updates, possibly the Islands DLC.
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Story Starved

Survive Summer Drought: Completed

Thanks for helping me survive, Burnout.
In my opinion, the most under-emphasized aspects of modern games is the story aspect. Critics spend a lot of time focusing on the gameplay and graphics. They both deserve the attention, but the relative attention the story gets is unfortunate, in my opinion. While waiting for the big blockbuster games this fall, which promise deep, interesting stories, I've been stuck playing Burnout Paradise.

The story of Metal Gear Solid is considered to be the most complex in video game history.
Don't get me wrong, Burnout Paradise is one of the best games I've played so far this year. The problem is, after playing this extremely fun, yet story-less game, my hunger for new stories has grown. Having also played the first two Metal Gear Solid games as well as Metal Gear Solid 4 early this summer, I've been spoiled and can't help but feel that Burnout Paradise isn't as deep as I'd like it to be. I'm ready to get back into some exciting, heart-pounding stories.

Although many gamers were unimpressed with Call of Duty 3, I believe its story is where it shined.
There are few games I've played where the story completely uninterested me. I enjoy the cartoony storytelling of Ratchet and Clank, but I also enjoyed the historic storytelling of Call of Duty 3, as well as other games based on historic events. I also loved the action-movie feel of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and the narrated story of Resistance: Fall of Man. I also enjoyed the minimalist story of some of Nintendo's games, like Paper Mario and Donkey Kong 64. Even open-world games like the Elder Scrolls IV have some great storytelling.

Final Fantasy X's story is still my favorite story to this day.
My all-time favorite story of all time would have to be Final Fantasy X's. In all fairness, I never finished the game (got to the final boss), but the way that everything is presented, how the characters are built up, the plot twists, the voice acting, and just all of the other things that make a story great just made the story great. There were a heart tugging moments in the game, and seeing the way all of the character's stories are built up is just a very satisfying experience. Although I found Final Fantasy XII to be unplayable, Final Fantasy XIII seems to be a return to formula, and the budget of the game ensures another extremely well written story which will span multiple planned games.

That being said, there are tons of games coming this fall whose stories I can't wait to witness. Resistance 2 is ditching the narrator from the original game and going to a first person story, with the main character telling the player what's going on. Bioshock, a game I've never played because of my lack of Xbox 360, is a game many gamers have raved about for the past. What list would be complete without Fallout 3? Bethesda, who did a great job with the Elder Scrolls IV, are promising even more character involvement with the story of Fallout 3.

Unfortunately, all of these games aren't coming out until late October - early November. While I hold out until then, I'll keep playing Burnout Paradise. At least bikes are coming!
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Bionic Commando Rearmed Multiplayer Impressions

I've been slowly working my way through the single player in Bionic Commando Rearmed, and the game is no short of amazing. A portion of the game I had not touched up until yesterday was the multi-player. The unfortunate lack of online play for this mode kept me away from it until yesterday a few of my friends were hanging at my house and we decided to try it out. I never imagined how much fun it would be.

That rocket launcher is about to cause a whole mess of chaos...
Ok, think Super Smash Bros. The game is hectic four player action. The only difference is that you can't do melee attacks, though that isn't a negative. The game plays just like the single-player mode in that you use the grapple as your primary method of movement. You play across a variety of stages based on the areas in the game and you have pretty much every weapon in the game at your disposal. You can even throw barrels at your opponents!

You can see my full review of the game just as soon as I beat the story... I only have three areas left! So, I'll be done by about January of next year. ;-P
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