Shippin' Out March 9-14: Smash Bros. Brawl, Condemned 2

Nintendo's delayed brawler finally arrives alongside Sega's atmospheric action sequel and a DS version of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.


This space is usually reserved to talk about the week's biggest upcoming releases, but this week's largest game is already out. Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii went on sale yesterday, following the Sunday release strategy Nintendo takes with many of its biggest products, including the DS Lite and Wii hardware launches. Although the Smash Bros. disc literally has too much game for some Wii systems to handle, the critical and commercial reception thus far has been exceedingly positive.

Smash Bros. is by no means the only anticipated game launching this week. Sega has the sequel to its Xbox 360-launch action game Condemned lined up; Condemned 2: Bloodshot will ship to retailers for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Bloodshot picks up a year after the first game left off, with players assuming the role of criminal-investigator-turned-homeless-drunk Ethan Thomas. As in the first game, the creepy action is focused on brutal melee attacks, typically with unorthodox weapons such as pipes and bricks.

Condemned is limited to Microsoft's and Sony's systems for now, but Sega also has something for Wii fans in the market for an M-for-Mature gaming experience. House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return combines both arcade sequels in the light-gun shooting franchise and adapts them to work with the Wii's motion-sensing controller.

Sports gamers have something to look forward to as well with the release of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 on the PS3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable. The latest installment in Konami's long-running soccer series (formerly known as Winning Eleven), Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 adds a few wrinkles to bring the franchise's sim-oriented gameplay more in line with the real deal, including the ability to have players take a dive to draw a foul.

Portable players get a few exclusive releases of their own this week. Square Enix brings the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series to the DS with Ring of Fates. PSP role-players won't go wanting, either, because Wild Arms XF brings the Sony-exclusive series to the handheld for the first time as a strategy RPG. Those looking for a little more action on the go can check out the shoot-'em-up Nanostray 2 for the DS.

In the downloadable arena, both the Wii Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade are welcoming a pair of games this week. Nintendo's online store sees a pair of imported 16-bit games, DoReMi Fantasy: Milon's DokiDoki Adventure for the Super Famicom (Super Nintendo) and Puyo Puyo 2: Tsuu for the Sega Megadrive (Sega Genesis). In keeping with the heightened prices of previous Virtual Console localizations, both games will sell for 900 Wii points ($9). Meanwhile, Xbox Live Arcade will welcome the logic-puzzle game Brain Challenge for 800 Microsoft points ($10), and the casual puzzle game Bliss Island for 400 Microsoft points ($5).

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

MARCH 9, 2008 (Sunday)
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

MARCH 10, 2008
Sudden Strike 3: Arms for Victory (PC)
DoReMi Fantasy: Milon's DokiDoki Adventure (Wii VC)
Puyo Puyo 2: Tsuu (Wii VC)

MARCH 11, 2008
Condemned 2: Bloodshot (Xbox 360, PS3)
House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return (Wii)
Insecticide (DS)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP)
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (PS2)
Wild ARMs XF (PSP)
Imperium Romanum (PC)
Seven Kingdoms: Conquest (PC)
Nanostray 2 (DS)
Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz (PS2)
Buzz! Junior: RoboJam (PS2)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates (DS)

MARCH 12, 2008
Brain Challenge (XBLA)
Bliss Island (XBLA)

MARCH 13, 2008
PlayStation Network release schedule not yet announced.

MARCH 14, 2008
No releases scheduled for today.

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