Shippin' Out September 1-7: Spore, Mercs 2, Viva Pinata 2

Headliners join arcade FaceBreaker, NFL Head Coach, and downloadable titles Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball, Shred Nebula, and My Aquarium.

As ambitious as it is an enigma to most audiences, Spore is easily one of the most anticipated games of 2008. Will Wright's first original post-Sims game, the evolution simulator first wowed rapt audiences at the 2005 Game Developers Conference. This June, gamers were given their first taste of the title with the Spore Creature Creator, a marketing tool/hype builder that has yielded more than 3.2 million user-created and uploaded life-forms to date. This week, Spore's journey coalesces with the release of the PC, Mac, and DS editions of the game. Only just the beginning of the Spore franchise, however, a Wii version of the game has been officially confirmed, and EA has hinted more console versions are under serious consideration.

A mercenary's life is never an easy one, and that goes doubly so for the Pandemic-developed Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. Announced well before EA acquired the BioWare-Pandemic superdeveloper in 2007, the controversy-rich Mercenaries 2 was initially penciled in as a PlayStation 3 exclusive for release during the loaded holiday 2007 shopping season. Those details didn't last long, however, as Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and PC editions of the killer-for-hire shooter were soon added, and EA abruptly bumped the game first to Q1 2008 last September, and then again to August so as to ensure the "game is 100 percent polished." GameSpot's review will offer its take on whether Pandemic was able to make good with that extra time tomorrow.

Another highly publicized sequel, Rare's Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, joins Mercenaries 2 this week. As detailed in GameSpot's full review, the Xbox 360-exclusive family title successfully picks up where the last left off, offering more papier-mache critters and new ways to cultivate their vibrant gardens. Microsoft's console will also see a pair of Xbox Live Arcade titles this week: Blazing Lizard's Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball and Crunchtime Games' shoot-'em-up Shred Nebula. Both downloadable titles can be purchased for 800 Microsoft points ($10).

Sports gamers will be treated to both ends of the realism spectrum this week, courtesy once again of Electronic Arts. For sim gamers, EA will follow up its Madden NFL 09 with NFL Head Coach 09. Debuting as part of the Madden NFL collector's edition in August, the game sees a stand-alone release on the Xbox 360 and PS3 this week. Gamers pining for an update to the classic Punch-Out!! experience may be interested in FaceBreaker. An arcade-style boxing game, FaceBreaker will practice its brand of the sweet science on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Nintendo's online storefront returns with its standard allotment of two Virtual Console and one original WiiWare title this week. Hudson's latest venture for Nintendo WiiWare reaches out to the console's broad audience with the underwater marina sim My Aquarium (500 Wii points, $5). Delving deeper into its own classic gaming catalog, Nintendo's Clu Clu Land (500 Wii points, $5) and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (800 Wii points, $8) have been added to the Virtual Console this week.

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

AUGUST 31, 2008
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (X360, PS3, PS2)

SEPTEMBER 1, 2008
Clu Clu Land (Wii VC)
Combat Mission: Shock Force - Marines (PC)
Ford Racing: Off Road (Wii, PC)
Guitar Praise (PC)
My Aquarium (WiiWare)
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Wii VC)

SEPTEMBER 2, 2008
Baseball Mogul 2009 (PC)
Defendin DePenguin (Wii, DS)
FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage (PC)
GTR Evolution (PC)
PictoImage (DS)
Rapala Fishing Frenzy (X360, PS3, Wii)
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos - Battle March (X360, PC)
Vampire Rain: Altered Species (PS3)
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise (X360)
Wizard101 (PC)

SEPTEMBER 3, 2008
NFL Head Coach 09 (X360, PS3)
Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball (XBLA)
Shred Nebula (XBLA)

SEPTEMBER 4, 2008
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (PC)
My Dream Job: Babysitter (PC)

SEPTEMBER 5, 2008
FaceBreaker (X360, PS3)

SEPTEMBER 7, 2008
Spore (PC, Mac, DS)

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Discussion

92 comments
john123g
john123g

wizard 101 is a pretty sweet game but there is a problem its that it COSTS TO MUCH!

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

AHAHAHAHAHA! FaceBreaker by EA, sucks? NO WAY! EA making a crappy game, who would have thought! lol

Jazz_Fan
Jazz_Fan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Jazz_Fan
Jazz_Fan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

zyxomma100
zyxomma100

Viva Pinata is out. I'm so excited. The first game is one of the best current-gen games out there.

breed101
breed101

Mercs 2 doens't come out till thursday the 11th in Australia

Blackstaff
Blackstaff

I can't wait for Spore, but I also want Merc 2 for the PC... and 90% of the websites lied to me and said it'd be out on Sunday!

darktro
darktro

spore is rally the game im looking for i will look into mario rpg hopeful the game will run on my pc the demo did so the game should to.......right?

Rolemodel1822
Rolemodel1822

Definitely going to be picking up a copy of Spore.

Mor-GanX
Mor-GanX

SSSSSSPPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRE!!!!

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

NOTE: In case it's not self-evident, avoid My Aquarium at all costs. That's money better spent on Super Mario RPG.

Midgetmen
Midgetmen

FACEBREAKER SON!!! Can't wait to get it and destroy my friends in it!

swaty056
swaty056

yea baby, spore is finally coming!

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

Spore bring it on..My nights are going to be enjoyable an than star wars

Sacif
Sacif

I just picked up mercs 2 and Infinite undiscovery yesterday, good games so far, nothing else really interested me this week.

LivingDeadNinja
LivingDeadNinja

Only Super Mario RPG for me, though that's more than enough to make the whole month a huge success to me! :P I might look into Mercenaries 2...

lanmanna
lanmanna

I want Viva Pinata 2. It is going to be underrated, as you commenters have proved so far. Mercs 2 looks sweet as well. I also want Spore, but I doubt it will run on my PC. :(

buffdaddy69
buffdaddy69

The only thinsg worth mentioning in this article was Spore and Super Mario RPG....i missed that game.

smfes
smfes

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

smfes
smfes

Spore is the only thing i can say.

tevic
tevic

... and waiting for SR2 and Midnight Club LA !!!

tevic
tevic

Mercs, too. Open world games are the greatest.

necronaux
necronaux

And the race to get anything released for the holiday season begins. What, no Guitar Hero related releases?

BoaMo121
BoaMo121

mercs 2 is great but definetly looking foward to TFU.

1407
1407

i got mercenaries 2, its pretty good if you like blowing up stuff... (like all) gets better multiplayer online, but it gets repetitive.

Zloth2
Zloth2

And so it begins.... we go from "please give us ANYTHING to play!" to "pthththh, GameRankings says you averaged only 92%, I've got better things to do." P.S. I think Spore is out on the 4th in Europe.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Let the big game releases begin. We have a big game almost every week to two weeks until next year. This week Mercs 2 and spore, in two weeks RB2... and it keeps coming. Lots to play

daabulls23
daabulls23

Yay for Spore! As for Mercs 2, isn't that commercial song kinda catchy? Oh no you didn't!

Sparticus1013
Sparticus1013

Im going to have an awesome three weeks. Mercs 2, followed by Spore, Followed by SW:Force Unleashed. Definitely makes up for the summer game drought.

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

Don't overlook the Warhammer game. If you love the Total War series's battles then you'll love that game. Any Warhammer fan should be playing it. I'm going to see how Facebreaker rates because that demo really turned me off. Ha, not suprised to see Baseball Mogul on yet another release list. Spore can easily be on the main consoles and I expect them to be out by next May.

jedikevin2
jedikevin2

spore will be amazing!!!! Everythign else is soso

D-Camo
D-Camo

Only interested in Spore and Mercs 2.

Indulge
Indulge

At lionsrock- Of course. But this week is basically the worst week of September. I can't wait for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. I rented mercs 2... SO MANY BUGS!

lions_rock_2008
lions_rock_2008

this month is nothing compared to what october is bringing

nav_auron
nav_auron

Only ones I'm interested in are Spore and Mercs 2 (This list doesn't really interest me, since I'm in Aus, so, Spore is already out here)

PsychoBear
PsychoBear

Spore is the only game there that's worth getting. And it's going to be sweeeet!

DemonoftheAbyss
DemonoftheAbyss

how can you claim that spore sucks balls? Are you a real human being? Do you have a soul? Do your parents even love you? I suppose they must not. Poor you.

division_9
division_9

"All these games suck balls" I can agree with that except Mecenaries since its pretty decent.

raverrozza
raverrozza

how is facebreaker a full game. i got the demo and was bored after one round. if it thinks it can get anywhere near ready 2 rumble boxing it is very much mistaken!

danyalhk
danyalhk

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Paladin_King
Paladin_King

considering mercs 2 is already out, it's basically just Spore and a bunch of other crap. Shred Nebula COULD be good though. Facebreaker? not so much