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Shippin' Out May 22-26: Heroes of M&M V, Table Tennis

Quartet of PSP games command midfielders, Field Commanders, homicidal monster hunters, suicidal critters; Jaws finally breaks surface.


With the NHL and NBA playoffs whittling down championship contenders and breaking the hearts of fans all over the country (maybe next year, Clippers), now is a perfect time to take all the funds that would have gone to BBQ materials or that Stanley Cup-shaped cake and buy some new games. This week's slate of releases, while more expansive than last week's slim pickings, touches base on several platforms save for the DS.

The most interesting name on the list of releases comes from Rockstar Games, home of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, the Manhunt franchise, and the upcoming Bully game. However, unlike the games mentioned above, violence and controversy aren't the name of the game--unless one's idea of violence is hitting a small plastic ball hard. The publisher's first Xbox 360 game, Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis, was released today. Uzis and Tec-9s have been replaced with Ping Pong paddles in this simulation of the popular international sport.

One of gaming's longest-running franchises makes its return to store shelves in Heroes of Might and Magic V, the first M&M game published by Ubisoft. The fantasy-based real-time strategy features an all-new single-player campaign, as well as five multiplayer modes. Earlier this year, M&M fans rallied to postpone the game's release, saying the beta test didn't do the series justice. As of today, gamers can find out for themselves if the extra time in development appeased the M&M gods.

The PSP gets a quartet of new games this week, spanning a wide range of genres. Footie fans can inject themselves with some World Cup fever on the road with Electronic Arts' 2006 FIFA World Cup. Those who would rather play Patton than Beckham can lead their own armies in the strategy game Field Commander. If violence directed at humans doesn't sound appealing, gamers can take some swings at some evil creatures with Capcom's role-player Monster Hunter Freedom, based on the Monster Hunter G game for the PlayStation 2. Finally, one of gaming's landmarks returns in Lemmings, from Worms developer Team 17.

Several games did some release-date shuffles this week as well. Zoo Tycoon 2's expansion pack, African Adventure, is now running wild in stores, as is the Game Boy Advance game Backyard Baseball 2007. Jaws Unleashed, originally set to come out last August, is finally terrorizing store shelves. However, as some games shuffled into this week, it appears some have shuffled out. Ubisoft's PC ports of Capcom's Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition have apparently been delayed.

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

MAY 22, 2006
Backyard Baseball 2007 (GBA)
2006 FIFA World Cup (PSP)
Table Tennis (X360)
Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure (PC)

MAY 23, 2006
Rogue Trooper (PC, PS2, Xbox)
Jaws Unleashed (Xbox, PS2)
Heroes of Might and Magic V (PC)
Monster Hunter Freedom (PSP)
Steambot Chronicles (PS2)
Field Commander (PSP)
Lemmings (PSP)

MAY 24, 2006
Teen Titans (PS2, GC)

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