Shippin' Out 10/30-11/3: GTA: VCS, FF XII

Killzone: Liberation, F.E.A.R. 360, and Neverwinter Nights 2 will put the fright into gamers this Halloween week.

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After a considerable drought of quality releases, the PlayStation Portable is getting a trifecta of AAA titles this week. Foremost among these is Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, the second GTA game to hit the handheld. As its name suggests, VCS is a return to the setting of the best-selling 2002 PlayStation 2 game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and will center on Vic Vance, brother of the earlier game's sidekick/villain Lance Vance.

While the PlayStation 3 edition of Killzone has been missing since the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2005, the first PSP game from the franchise will storm stores this week. Killzone: Liberation will begin eating up gamers' free time come Halloween. That's one day after the release of Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony, the first title from Gas Powered Games' action role-playing game franchise to explore Sony's portable format.

Speaking of Sony platforms, one of the most anticipated PlayStation 2 titles will arrive on Tuesday. Five years after Square Enix revealed its existence, Final Fantasy XII is finally getting an American release--seven and a half months after it prompted long lines outside Japanese retailers. The game will be the last FF title on the PS2, with the next--Final Fantasy XIII--having been already announced for the PS3.

The week will also see one of last year's most acclaimed first-person shooters ported to the Xbox 360. Vivendi Games' F.E.A.R, which was named GameSpot's top shooter of 2005, will also scare gamers on Halloween. (The title will ship for the PS3 later this year.) The other big release for the platform is Need for Speed Carbon. The latest entry in Electronic Arts' enduringly popular racing series will also ship for the PC, Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube, with PS3 and Wii editions to come next month. A portable version, Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City, will ship the same day for the PSP, Nintendo DS, and Game Boy Advance.

The OG of gaming platforms--the PC--will be getting one of the year's highest-profile RPGs this week. After a series of delays, Atari's Neverwinter Nights 2 will finally ship on Halloween. The sequel to the popular Dungeons & Dragons-based title was developed by Obsidian Entertainment, an indie shop founded by veteran RPG designer Feargus Urquhart (Fallout 2) and a series of ex-Black Isle Studios staffers.

A full rundown of this week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).

OCTOBER 30, 2006
1701 A.D. (PC)
The Barbie Diaries: High School Mystery (PC, GBA)
Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses (PC, GBA)
Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony (PSP)
Rush (PSP)
Star Chamber Special Edition (PC)
Strawberry Shortcake: Adventures in the Land of Dreams (PC)

OCTOBER 31, 2006
ATV Offroad Fury 4 (PSP)
BattleZone (PSP)
Death Jr. II: Root of Evil (PSP)
F.E.A.R. (Xbox 360)
FIFA 07 (Xbox 360)
Final Fantasy XII (PS2)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (PSP)
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (GBA)
Killzone: Liberation (PSP)
Konductra T (DS)
Mind Quiz (PSP)
Need for Speed Carbon (PS2, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, GC)
Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City (PSP, DS, GBA)
Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC)
Power Stone Collection (PSP)
Scurge: Hive (GBA)
The Sims 2: Pets (DS)
Tom and Jerry Tales (DS, GBA)
Unreal Anthology (PC)
Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007 (PC)

NOVEMBER 1, 2006
Age of Pirates: Captain's Blood (PC)
Camp Lazlo: Leaky Lake Games (DS)
Children of Mana (DS)
D-Bug (PC)
DIRT - Origin of the Species (PC)
Disney's Chicken Little: Ace in Action (DS, PS2)
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (PC)
Jewel Quest Solitaire (PC)
Kim Possible 5 (PS2, DS)
Knights of the Temple II (PS2)
Reel Fishing: Life & Nature (PSP)
Scurge: Hive (PC)
Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock (PC)
UFO: Extraterrestrials (PC)

NOVEMBER 2, 2006
That's So Raven: Psychic on the Scene (DS)
World Championship Poker: Featuring Howard Lederer - All In (Xbox 360)

NOVEMBER 3, 2006
Scrabble 2007 (PC)
Shootout (PC)
Snoopy vs. the Red Baron (PC)

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