Shippin' Out April 7-11: PC Assassin's Creed, Ikaruga, Portal

PC edition of Ubi's actioner and 360 port of classic shooter join Valve's newly a la carte Orange Box offerings--including Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode Pack.

One week after an April Fools' ship date scared off virtually every publisher, the North American release calendar is approaching something resembling normalcy. Why only "resembling"? Because the highest-profile releases for the week originally saw the light of day as part of last year's holiday gaming deluge.

Selling at a brisk rate on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 since November, Ubisoft Montreal's Assassin's Creed comes to Windows systems this week. Assassin's Creed: Director's Cut Edition on the PC is an extended version of its best-selling console counterpart, with four new types of investigation missions complementing the five preexisting ones. Otherwise, the game offers a similar experience to the critically lauded console editions, with 12th-century assassin Altair plying his trade during the third crusade in the Holy Land, with futuristic elements interwoven into the story for added intrigue.

While Ubisoft's PC edition brings Assassin's Creed to an even wider audience, Valve's offering this week is a bit of a head-scratcher. The Orange Box--which includes Half-Life 2, its first two expansions, Team Fortress 2, and Portal--is already available at retail and through Valve's digital distribution service Steam. While PC gamers are already able to buy the individual pieces of The Orange Box on Steam, EA wants to offer retail customers the same opportunity. As such, PC editions of Team Fortress 2, the award-winning Portal, and Half-Life 2: Episode Pack are all available at brick-and-mortar outlets this week for a respective $29.99, $19.99, and $29.99.

Aside from the aforementioned offerings, this week looks much like the last, with niche titles dominating the lineup. Fighter fans whose tastes skew toward pervy will be pleased to know Arcana Hearts has arrived for the PlayStation 2. Developed by Ecole and distributed by Atlus, Arcana Hearts offers a traditional 2D fighter experience, where players can select from one of 11 different female anime characters. Atlus will also be publishing Sting's postapocalyptic dungeon crawler Baroque for the Wii and PS2. Telltale's humorous episodic adventure series Sam & Max Season Two wraps up its PC run this week with What's New, Beelzebub?.

The niche-gaming theme extends into the downloadable circuit as well, as Treasure's fan-favorite arcade shoot-'em-up Ikaruga arrives on Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade this Wednesday. Available for 800 Microsoft points ($10), Ikaruga is a vertical-scrolling shooter that offers the genre's hallmark punishing gameplay as well as highly detailed anime-style graphics. Several enhancements have been made to the XBLA edition of the game, including two-player co-op, high-definition visuals, and the ability to record gaming sessions.

Lastly, the Wii's Virtual Console has two new additions this week. Originally released for the NES in 1993, Yoshi's Cookie is a shape-matching puzzle game and runs for the standard rate of 500 Wii points ($5). Also pulled from the NES bygone days, baseball classic Bases Loaded is now part of the Wii's online library and can be purchased for 500 Wii points ($5).

This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).

APRIL 7, 2008
Bases Loaded (WII)
Nancy Drew: Double Dare 5 (PC)
Overclocked: A History of Violence (PC)
Yoshi's Cookie (WII)

APRIL 8, 2008
Assassin's Creed (PC)
Fatal Fury Battle Archives Vol. 2 (PS2)
Plushees (DS)
Fab 5 Soccer (DS)
World Championship Cards (PS2)
Half-Life 2: Episode Pack (PC)
MiniCopter: Adventure Flight (WII)
Arcana Heart (PS2)
Portal (PC)
Team Fortress 2 (PC)
Baroque (PS2, WII)

APRIL 9, 2008
Ikaruga (Xbox 360)

APRIL 10, 2008
Sam & Max Episode 205: What's New, Beelzebub? (PC)

APRIL 11, 2008
Summer Sports: Paradise Island (WII)

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Discussion

30 comments
Homerj
Homerj

The EB nearest me got one whole Wii Baroque copy in today and I snagged it. Next time something niche like this comes up that I want, I'm definitely reserving.

zeppelin_64
zeppelin_64

i saw baroque and portal at eb today

cooldude03
cooldude03

Yes Ikaruga. I've been waiting for this game, finally one of the best Gamecube Games comes to Xbox LIve. I've been waiting for this game for a long time.

dragonsama
dragonsama

Arcana heart, Fatal Fury Vol 2 and Ikaruga. this is an awesome week to be a gamer!!!!

Homerj
Homerj

Baroque definitely fits the "niche" category, aparently so much so that so far not a single copy appears to have made it to my state. Hoping that today brings better luck. The 360 and the DS have been getting all the love when it comes to rpgs...the Wii is in desparate need of a few of its own.

joe_kitanosono
joe_kitanosono

Please ikaruga was no where near as good as radiant silvergun. Until they bring that out im not paying to repair my 360.

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

Shame assassins creed requires such a powerful pc to run it on

Lord_Daemon
Lord_Daemon

Both Arcana Heart and Baroque definitely have my piqued my interest.

NeoNavarro
NeoNavarro

I wonder how Assassin's Creed will play on the PC? I hope the controls feel right...

MadlilMart
MadlilMart

Isn't Mario Kart Wiii out on the 11th? I am fed up with waiting for AC

mcuth
mcuth

IKA FREAKING RUGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!!! THAT IS ONE AMAZING GAME.

wilk25
wilk25

Assassin's Creed and portal

werc96
werc96

Ikaruga!!!! Finally!!

METALGEARNICK
METALGEARNICK

THAT Ticks me off they should of added the directors cut stuff to consoles or at least made updates to get it .

bulletsword
bulletsword

I'm probably getting Ikaruga tomorrow. sounds awesome and I have some points i'm not using right now. but listen to me, Valve. Keep the Orange Box together. TF2 for $20-$30 alone is just wrong.

teufelherz
teufelherz

At long last!!! Ikaruga's coming!!! Need M$ points ASAP. Can't go on life without this one :)

ragdollsrock012
ragdollsrock012

meh. Valve related things are good, but I'm not excited for the rest of it.

lamprey263
lamprey263

Hmmm, not really a notable week in my opinion. Though, it's cool to see some developers and publishers haven't given up on the PS2, I just wish retailers weren't so eager to throw out all their PS2 stuff.

LivingDeadNinja
LivingDeadNinja

Arcana Heart PS2, Baroque Wii and Ikaruga 360 for me. Totally insane that Ikaruga is only 800 points too, wow!

ctg867
ctg867

Couple things this wekk, but nothing too crazy. It's all just holding us out until GTA IV from here.

nate1222
nate1222

Assassin's Creed on my rig=Awesome!

Binpo
Binpo

Assassin's Creed + DX10 = sdfghjklaagePWNAGEagnpoeanhpaeonh

Binpo
Binpo

Assassin's Creed + DX10 = asdfkPWNAGEghjk

reckeweg
reckeweg

Ikaruga, sweet its about time! Woo Hoo, pretty slim pickins after that though