It's been nearly three years to the day since ESPN NFL 2K5 took the field. Despite putting up huge numbers, the Sega-published football sim was sidelined when both its NFL contract and ESPN sponsorship were abruptly swiped away by Electronic Arts. In the aftermath of EA's move, Sega sold developer Visual Concepts to Take-Two Interactive, which redubbed it 2K Sports and continued to churn out NBA, MLB, and NHL games.
This January, Take-Two announced the 2K series' return to the gridiron. But since present-day superstars all fall under EA's exclusive license with the NFL, Visual Concepts signed more than 240 legendary ex-pro footballers to fill out the game's roster. This week, players will be able to reacquaint themselves with Visual Concept's brand of pigskin play with All-Pro Football 2K8. Rated E for Everyone, the game is available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and retails for $59.99.
Those looking for some more-youthful pigskin action can tackle EA's NCAA Football 08, which also goes on sale this week. This year's freshman class features a new branching animation system and 115 modeled college football stadiums, up from last year's 40. NCAA Football 08 is available on the PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, and Xbox. Xbox 360 owners looking for a peek at EA's playbook can check out a demo on Xbox Live.
Paper Mario and Bomberman Live lead this week's downloadable offerings. On the Wii, Nintendo will be porting over its Nintendo 64 classic Paper Mario to the Virtual Console. Mario's first wafer-thin role-playing adventure is available for 1,000 Wii points ($10). Hudson's cute-yet-maniacal unibombers will make their way to the Xbox Live Marketplace in Bomberman Live. Unlike last year's tragic rendition of Hudson's iconic mascot, this conversion will return Bomberman to its roots and feature eight-player online play. Rated E for Everyone, it will run for 800 Microsoft points ($10).
This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).
JULY 17, 2007
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (PC)
NCAA Football 08 (PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Xbox)
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition (PC)
PaRappa the Rapper (PSP)
Hot Shots Tennis (PS2)
Spelling Challenges and More! (DS)
Battleground Europe: World War II Online (MAC)
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology (PSP)
Ride! Carnival Tycoon (PC)