Things are picking up on the retail release front. After three straight weeks of slim launch schedules highlighted by notable games, August gets its first cluttered slate of new releases, with at least a half-dozen games sharing the spotlight.
The Xbox 360 has traditionally been a bit weak in the Japanese role-playing game category, but this week the system sees two major releases on that front. Namco Bandai's Tales of Vesperia will ship to stores on Tuesday, and Square Enix's Infinite Undiscovery heads out on Friday and should make a rare weekend debut on shelves.
The PlayStation 3 also features a bit of J-RPG flavor this week, thanks to the release of NIS America's tactical strategy game Disgaea 3: Absence of Darkness. The current-generation debut for the series will retain the lighthearted-yet-sinister style of its predecessors, as well as the 2D sprite characters in isometric 3D backgrounds
Wii gamers aren't entirely left out of the J-RPG trend, given that Nintendo has added the TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM RPG Ys Book I & II to its Virtual Console offerings. The combo pack will sell for 800 Wii points ($8). Also added to the online store were NeoGeo fighter Samurai Shodown II for 900 Wii points ($9), and the WiiWare debut of Ghostfire Games' rhythm offering Helix for 1,000 Wii points ($10). As for boxed retail offerings, Nintendo is stepping up to the plate with Mario Super Sluggers, which features a variety of Mushroom Kingdom regulars in an amped-up take on America's pastime.
Super Sluggers isn't the only sports action on tap this week. Electronic Arts ships Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable. The big addition to EA's golfing franchise this year comes in the form of Hank Haney, Woods' real-life golf coach. Haney takes players through a variety of skill-assessing tutorials to determine player aptitude in putting, short-game, accuracy, and power.
Finally, The Behemoth's long-awaited Xbox Live Arcade brawler Castle Crashers is finally set for release this Wednesday. The game will cap off the Summer of Arcade promotion when it launches for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15).
This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).
AUGUST 25, 2008
Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice (PS3)
Mario Super Sluggers (Wii)
MLB Power Pros 2008 (DS)
Commando: Steel Disaster (DS)
Helix (Wii Ware)
AUGUST 26, 2008
Tales of Vesperia (Xbox 360)
Spy Fox in Dry Cereal (Wii)
Pajama Sam in Don't Fear the Dark (Wii)
Freddi Fish in Kelp Seed Mystery (Wii)
From the Abyss (DS)
Digimon World Championship (DS)
Vampire Rain: Altered Species (Xbox 360)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP)
The Sims 2 Apartment Pets (DS)
The Sims 2 Apartment Life (PC)
GTR Evolution (PC)
N+ (DS, PSP)
Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli (PS3, Wii, PS2, DS)
Rebel Raiders: Operation Nighthawk (Wii)
Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness (DS)
FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage (PC)