Shippin' Out January 21-25: Burnout Paradise, No More Heroes

Headliners join Advance Wars: Days of Ruin and Mario & Sonic's Olympic adventures on the DS, Pirates of the Burning Sea MMOG hoists its sails, and PixelJunk Monsters mauls the PSN.

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It may be a light week for game releases quantity-wise, but even a cursory glance at the impending slate should reveal a game for just about anyone. A release that would seem to be better garaged as an end-of-the-year blockbuster, Burnout Paradise squeals onto the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this week as easily the biggest release thus far this year. Developed by EA-owned Criterion Games, Burnout Paradise returns as the fifth installment in the road-rage-fueled racer. Both PS3 and 360 gamers can test drive a demo for Burnout Paradise through their respective online content distribution dealerships.

Wii gamers looking for middle ground will have no such luck this week, as the two most notable releases offer gamers a choice between assassins or marine life. No More Heroes, a hyperstylized action game from Killer7 designer Suda-51 and Grasshoper Manufacture, drops players into the role of a lightsaber-wielding assassin on his journey to ascend the ranks of a group of killers for hire. On the other side of the spectrum, Nintendo and Akira invite meditative gamers to delve into Endless Ocean, a scuba-diving sim that plays heavily to atmospheric gameplay and low-key tunes. On the Wii's Virtual Console, Adventures of Lolo 2 and Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers are available for 500 ($5) and 800 ($8) Wii points, respectively.

On the DS, Intelligent Systems' fourth installment in the Advance Wars turn-based strategy series is out this week. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin diverges from its critically lauded predecessor on the DS, adding in darker, more serious undertones and a more realistic style. DS gamers looking for a little light fun can check out Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. As with its Wii counterpart released last November, Mario & Sonic pits the two iconic characters and their respective entourages off in a series of world-championship gaming events.

Flying Lab Software's long-in-development massively multiplayer online game Pirates of the Burning Sea sets sail on PCs this week. A part of Sony Online Entertainment's ranging stable of MMOGs, POTBS received its christening by those who preordered the game two weeks ago. POTBS features both on-foot exploration and high-sea sailing around the Caribbean Sea circa 1720 and offers both player-versus-environment and player-versus-player combat. POTBS requires a subscription fee, with SOE plundering $14.99 from gamers' wallets monthly.

PixelJunk Monsters, a tower-defense-style real-time strategy game from PixelJunk Racers developer Q-Games, arrives on the PlayStation Network this week costing the equivalent of 1.5 beers, according to studio president and executive producer Dylan Cuthbert. In lieu of its weekly Wednesday release, Microsoft will be giving away Chair Entertainment's aquatic multiplayer action game Undertow in an effort to make amends for the widespread Xbox Live outages during the holidays. Undertow will be free to download from January 23 through January 27, at which point it will return to its regularly scheduled 800 Microsoft points ($10) price.

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

JANUARY 21, 2008
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (DS)
Adventures of Lolo 2 (Wii VC)
Endless Ocean (Wii)
Pacific Storm: Allies (PC)
Pirates of the Burning Sea (PC)
Ship Simulator 2008 (PC)
Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers (Wii VC)

JANUARY 22, 2008
Burnout Paradise (X360, PS3)
History Channel: Lost Worlds (PC)
Iridium Runners (PS2)
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (DS)
No More Heroes (Wii)
One Piece: Unlimited Adventure (Wii)

JANUARY 23, 2008
No releases announced.

JANUARY 24, 2008
Rainbow Islands Evolution (PSP)
PixelJunk Monsters (PSN)

JANUARY 25, 2008
No releases announced.

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