Shippin' Out: July 3-7

Short holiday week even shorter on new releases; 360 Lord of the Rings RTS tops thin list as the pickings are slim.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II
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When America wrote out its birthday wish list, it apparently had things other than games on its mind. While the country celebrated its 230th birthday, gamers browsed bare shelves as this week's game release list wasn't nearly as meaty as the millions of BBQ grills lit up on Tuesday.

Leading the pack is the Xbox 360's first real-time strategy game, Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II. Based on both the films and books of Tolkien's fantasy world, the game lets players command armies of elves, dwarves, orcs, and other beasties. LOTR: Middle-earth II was previously released on the PC and was published by Electronic Arts.

The PC added several games to its gigantic library, with strategy games For Liberty! and Glory of the Roman Battalion giving gamers with a penchant for historical action something to choose from. More war is available in DreamCatcher's WWII action game First Battalion and Tri Synergy's Terrawars: New York Invasion.

For those with a few extra bucks to spend, a second pressing of the collector's edition of Guild Wars Factions has also reached stores, according to GuildWars.com.

Current-gen consoles were dissed with only one game, the PlayStation 2's Ultimate Board Game Collection, and handhelds were completely shut out of new games. Next week's list is looking a bit anemic as well, but at least has two bigger next-gen titles in Chromehounds for the Xbox 360 and Prey for the 360 and PC.

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

JULY 2, 2006
Kitty LUV (PC)

JULY 3, 2006
Glory of the Roman Empire (PC)

JULY 4, 2006
For Liberty! (PC)

JULY 5, 2006
The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II (X360)
Ultimate Board Game Collection (PS2)
First Battalion (PC)

JULY 6, 2006
Outlaw Chopper (PC)
Terrawars: New York Invasion (PC)
Big Oil: Build an Oil Empire (PC)

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