May was a long month, and not just because it contained the maximum allotment of 31 calendar days. More pressing to most gamers was the relative dearth of new releases--a few notable exceptions notwithstanding--after April went out with a bang and a pair of squealing tires.
However, June is poised to deliver. Leading off the month strong, fast, and just a bit sneaky is Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden II for the Xbox 360. The game's completion apparently couldn't come soon enough for Team Ninja lead and series creator Tomonobu Itagaki, who said this morning that he would be leaving the company as of July 1 over an unpaid bonus stemming from Dead or Alive 4. The exceptionally gory action adventure will maintain the series' signature level of difficulty, and continue on from the original Xbox Ninja Gaiden from 2004.
Although Jason Bourne makes it a habit of staying off the grid, Codemasters' Grid will appear alongside Robert Ludlum's Bourne Conspiracy this week. Codemasters' racer, which will surface on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, is the third iteration of the game maker's long-running TOCA street-racing series. The game, which received its edgier moniker just as Colin McRae Rally was rebranded Dirt last year, features high-speed racing and a high degree of vehicle and environment damage.
Those looking for damage inflicted more by fists than telephone polls may be interested in Robert Ludlum's Bourne Conspiracy, appearing on the Xbox 360 and PS3 this week. Sierra Entertainment and High Moon Studios' action adventure draws both from Robert Ludlum's novels and the recent Tony Gilroy-penned, Doug Liman-directed films. The game features cinematic action and a combat system modeled after the Jeff Imada-choreographed fight sequences seen in the movies.
Movie-to-game tie-ins take on a past, present, future theme this week. Already faring better than the tepid critical response for Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Traveller's Tales' Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Trilogy sends up the beloved franchise with the same style of parody seen in Lego Star Wars. LucasArts will be hitting all the bases with the game, unearthing versions on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii, DS, and PC.
Addressing the week that is, Activision and Luxoflux will supply the tie-in to DreamWorks' Jack Black-led animated comedy Kung Fu Panda, which will drop-kick the 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, DS, and PC. As for the future, Sega and Edge of Reality will get a jump on Universal and Marvel's theatrical release of The Incredible Hulk next week by releasing the game tie-in this Thursday on the 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, and DS.
Portables will be getting more than just a handful of ports this week as well. From Atlus and Flight-Plan, Summon Night: Twin Age brings yet one more action role-playing game to the DS. Meanwhile, the PlayStation Portable sees red this week thanks to a new God of War PSP bundle. In addition to Ready at Dawn's God of War: Chains of Olympus, the $199 bundle contains a "deep red" PSP silk-screened with Kratos' glowering mug, as well as a UMD of the Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg-penned juvenile comedy Superbad, and a voucher to download Syphon Filter: Combat Ops through the PlayStation Network.
Speaking of the PlayStation Network, Koei will at long last release the PS3 edition of Fatal Inertia this week through Sony's online portal. A redux of last year's release on the 360, the download-only PS3 game Fatal Inertia EX will run for $29.99. It includes a number of tweaks that Koei hopes will improve the racing experience. On the 360, Microsoft will offer for download Sierra Online's shoot-'em-up Aces of the Galaxy and SouthPeak Games' action puzzler Roogoo. Each Xbox Live Arcade game will run for 800 Microsoft points ($10).
Lastly, the Wii sees a trio of games added to the Virtual Console and WiiWare this week. As for original offerings, Two Tribes has completed its reimagining of the Game Boy Advance puzzler Toki Tori, whereas Ubisoft gets into the digital distribution game by publishing Sabarasa and Digital Builders' 3D shoot-'em-up Protothea. Both WiiWare games will run for 1,000 Wii points ($10). Originally appearing on the Neo Geo in 1990, Ninja Combat is a side-scrolling action game and can be downloaded from Nintendo's Virtual Console for 900 Wii points ($9).
This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).
JUNE 3, 2008
God of War PSP Entertainment Pack
Grid (X360, PS3, PC)
Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 (PSP)
Kung Fu Panda (X360, PS3, PS2, Wii, DS, PC)
Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (X360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS, PC)
Ninja Gaiden II (X360)
Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy (X360, PS3)
Summon Night: Twin Age (DS)