Shippin' Out June 9-13: Metal Gear Solid 4

Guns of the Patriots locked and loaded for PlayStation 3 launch; Prizefighter 360 and Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit also on tap.

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To date, the first six months of 2008 are on track toward being the biggest first half year the gaming industry has ever seen, with such massive hits as Grand Theft Auto IV, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Wii Fit. While there are still a few weeks remaining in June, the biggest title left in the first half is dominating this week's new release list.

Set to arrive on Thursday, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is by just about any metric the biggest PlayStation 3 exclusive to date. Since its first official mention nearly four years ago, Hideo Kojima's supposedly final go-around with Solid Snake has been the subject of anticipation, speculation, and perhaps a bit of commercial exploitation. But with the game set to arrive this week in an array of bundles and editions, gamers are finally going to get the chance to play the latest chapter in Kojima's ongoing saga.

While all eyes will be on Metal Gear Solid 4 this week, there are a variety of other options for gamers who simply don't cotton to the stealth-action series. The Xbox 360 comes out swinging with Don King Presents: Prizefighter, the first boxing effort from 2K Games. Atari has a couple of heavy hitters of its own with Backyard Baseball 2009 for the Wii--featuring Red Sox slugger David "Big Papi" Ortiz on the cover--and Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit for the 360 and PlayStation 3.

As for downloadable titles, Nintendo is releasing Virtual Console versions of a pair of NES games. Namco's arcade classic Dig Dug is available for 500 Wii points ($5), while Konami's Japanese platformer Bio-Miracle Bokutte Upa gets a US debut with a slightly higher price tag of 600 Wii points ($6). Nintendo is also following through on its commitment to introduce new WiiWare content regularly with My Pokemon Ranch, which allows players to watch their Miis interact with captured creatures from Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. The deed to My Pokemon Ranch will run gamers 1,000 Wii points ($10).

Microsoft has a pair of new Xbox Live Arcade games set for release Wednesday. First up is a revamped sequel to Konami's original pond hopper in Frogger 2. The game features 15 levels, four-player multiplayer modes, and sells for 800 Microsoft points ($10). Also being added to the Live Arcade catalog this week is Capcom's Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3, also for 800 Microsoft points. While the game was released last week on the PlayStation Network, the Xbox 360 edition will come with access to the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix beta testing period.

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

JUNE 9, 2008
Don King Presents: Prizefighter (360)
My Pokemon Ranch (WiiWare)
Dig Dug (Wii Virtual Console)
Bio-Miracle Bokutte Upa (Wii Virtual Console)

JUNE 10, 2008
The Incredible Hulk (PC)
NASCAR 09 (360, PS3, PS2)
Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy (Wii)
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit (PS3, 360)
My Fashion Studio (DS)
Backyard Baseball 2009 (Wii)
Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles (DS)
Looney Tunes: Cartoon Conductor (DS)

JUNE 11, 2008
Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 (Xbox Live Arcade)
Frogger 2 (Xbox Live Arcade)

JUNE 12, 2008
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)

JUNE 13, 2008
Insecticide (PC, downloadable)

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