Shippin' Out Jan. 31-Feb. 6: Star Trek Online, White Knight Chronicles

High-sci-fi MMORPG and high-fantasy JPRG join S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat expansion and Sims 3: High-End Loft Stuff add-on during light release week.

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After a jam-packed January, gamers' wallets get a respite at the beginning of 2010's second month, which bears only a few major releases. That said, one of those titles may be the game of the decade for Star Trek fanatics with a taste for massively multiplayer online role-playing games.

Cryptic is making Star Trek Online so.
Cryptic is making Star Trek Online so.

This week, Cryptic Studios is boldly going where no developer has gone before by launching an MMORPG set in the Star Trek universe, Star Trek Online. The Atari-owned studio behind last year's Champions Online took over the project after initial developer Perpetual Entertainment closed down in 2008.

Since then, the San Francisco Bay Area shop has been hard at work revamping Star Trek Online, which entered open beta for preorderers last month. The game is rated T for Teen and retails for $50 a la carte or as part of an $80 special edition. Subscription plans start at $15 per month in the US and Australia, although cheaper deals for long-term subscribers can be found on the game's official Web site.

Gamers who prefer RPGs to have a beginning, middle, and end can check out Sony's Japanese import White Knight Chronicles. Developed by Level-5 (Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box), the third-person game was unveiled at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show and released in Japan in December 2008.

The International Edition of the game contains a fully localized version of the Japanese original, which publisher Sony claims has a potential 100 hours of gameplay. It also sports a number of extras, including 50 additional on-disc online quests, with still more quests becoming available as downloadable content.

White Knight, blue light.
White Knight, blue light.

White Knight Chronicles: International Edition will also include more in-game dialogue options than the original, online voice chat, and the new Georama mode. In said mode, players will be able to build an online village, from which they can invite friends to participate in quests as well as acquire unique items.

Rounding out the week is S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, a stand-alone sequel to the 2007 postapocalyptic action-RPG S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. This time, Ukrainian developer GSC Game World drops players into the role of special agent Alexander Degtyarev. As the undercover operative, players are tasked with locating several missing helicopters while also contending with rival scavenger factions and radioactive mutants. Environments presented in the game include a secret military base, an abandoned factory, and the titular city of Pripyat.

Last and arguably least is The Sims 3: High-End Loft Stuff. As advertised, the story-free add-on is filled with expensive items for Simlish materialists to load up on. Items in the pack include Sharper Image-like gadgets, designer furniture, haute couture fashions, and virtual video game systems, so players' sims can play simulated games within the actual game.

For further details on the week's games, visit GameSpot's New Releases page. The full list of downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace, and the Wii Shop Channel will be revealed later this week. Release dates are based on retailer listings and are subject to change.

FEBRUARY 1, 2010
Assassin's Creed II--IP--Action--Ubisoft
Mystery 5 Collection--PC--Puzzle--Dreamcatcher

FEBRUARY 2, 2010
Family Party: 30 Great Games Winter Fun--WII--Sports--D3Publisher
Imagine: Reporter--DS--Puzzle--Ubisoft
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat--PC--Action--Viva Media
Star Trek Online--PC--Role-Playing--Atari
The Sims 3: High-End Loft Stuff--PC--Puzzle--Electronic Arts
White Knight Chronicles: International Edition--PS3--Role-Playing--SCEA

FEBRUARY 3, 2010
Chime--X360--Puzzle--Valcon Games

FEBRUARY 4, 2010
Armored Core: Silent Line Portable--PSP--Simulation--From Software

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