Shippin' Out Jan. 25-31: Afro Samurai, Coraline

Namco Bandai Surges with Samuel L. Jackson-led actioner, as Neil Gaiman film-to-game adapation joins MLB Front Office Manager, Ultimate Shooting Collection at retail.


January isn't traditionally known as a groovin' month in the gaming world, but Namco Bandai will attempt to liven things up a bit with the release of Afro Samurai. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game is the debut of Namco Bandai's West-focused Surge label, and in line with that theme, the action adventure melds feudal Japan with a modern hip-hop aesthetic. Like the anime released in January 2007, Afro Samurai will feature the vocal stylings of Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) and will include additional story elements that expand upon the cartoon.

Afro Samurai will find a measure of company as it heads to retail shelves this week. 2K Sports' MLB Front Office Manager takes to the bull pen this week on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. As the name implies, players assume the role of an MLB general manager, scouting talent, negotiating trades, and cherry-picking international talent over a 30-year career. The game will also feature an online fantasy mode in which up to 30 players can set up a league and compete against each other to prove their management acumen.

With Henry Selick's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Coraline fantasy novels due to hit theaters in early February, D3 Publisher is releasing a game of the same name this week. The title, which follows the travails of a young girl as she stumbles Alice in Wonderland-like into a surreal fantasy world, will launch for the Wii, DS, and PlayStation 2.

A Wii exclusive, Ultimate Shooting Collection is a compilation of three shoot-'em-ups previously released on legacy platforms, and it includes Radilgy, Chaos Field, and Karous. Tecmo's Rygar: The Battle of Argus is also coming just for the Wii this week. The game is fundamentally the same as the PS2 game Rygar: The Legendary Adventure, released in 2002, but it includes a new Gladiator mode, as well as new foes and techniques.

The system's online platform will also receive a pair of updates, with Niki - Rock 'n' Ball rolling to WiiWare for 500 Wii points ($5), while Wonder Boy in Monster Land sets up shop on the Virtual Console for 500 Wii points ($5).

For a full listing of the week's games, check out GameSpot's New Releases page. Check back later today for a video trailer of this week's releases.

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