Only a scant few weeks remain in 2008's unseasonably busy summer schedule, but the gaming industry isn't taking time off before the holiday rush.
This week, Namco Bandai steals the headline slot with Soulcalibur IV. Along with the game's returning cast that includes Siegfried, Ivy, Cassandra, and Cervantes, LucasArts will be lending Darth Vader and Yoda to the respective PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. Making proper lightsaber duels a possibility, both games will also include Vader's apprentice as a playable character. For a look at Vader and Yoda's prowess in the ring, check out GameSpot Live's stage show from this year's E3 Media & Business Summit.
While merely an Xbox Live Arcade download, Bizarre Creations' Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 is sure to arouse the excitement of a number of Xbox 360 gamers. The sequel to 2005's top-down dual-stick shooter adds in six new modes, including local co-op and competitive for up to four. It will be available this Wednesday for 800 Microsoft points ($10), double the original's sticker price. Japanese-gaming specialist Atlus will also bring its fantasy turn-based strategy title Spectral Force 3 exclusively to the 360 this week.
American McGee--best known for the twisted interpretation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland--will bring his signature brand of demented storytelling to life this week in the first episode of Grimm. Titled A Boy Learns What Fear Is, the downloadable game is the first in a 24-episode series available for download exclusively through GameTap.
Nintendo has also dropped by this week with a fresh update to its WiiWare and Virtual Console game-download services. On the original game front, JV Games' Pong Toss will undoubtedly find footing among frat-house dwellers at a loss for ping pong balls. The party game accommodates up to four and is available for 800 Wii points ($8). Chase HQ, a cops-and-robbers driving game originally released for the TurboGrafx-16, can be downloaded for 600 Wii points ($6), and SNK's Art of Fighting 2 can be had for 900 Wii points ($9).
This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).
JULY 29, 2008
Art of Murder: FBI Confidential (PC)
City Life 2008 Edition (PC)
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm (PC)
King of Clubs (Wii)
MLB Power Pros 2008 (Wii, PS2)
Puzzler Collection (Wii)
SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 (Wii)
Soulcalibur IV (X360, PS3)
Spectral Force 3 (X360)
Summer Athletics (X360, Wii, PS2)
AUGUST 1, 2008
Legend: Hand of God (PC)