Shippin' Out September 8-12: NHL, TNA iMPACT!

Heavyweights join Sega's crime syndicate actioner Yakuza 2, Atlus' sci-fi strategy game Zoids Assault, and Rare's papier-mache garden on the go, Pocket Paradise.


Many gamers this week are undoubtedly entrenched in creating worlds with EA Maxis and Will Wright's evolution simulator Spore. However, as that game came out on Sunday, the week that is has its own nibbles of gaming goodness on hand. Namely, as Electronic Arts and Take-Two execs square off in the board room, their annualized hockey sims will likewise do battle at the ice rink. From Take-Two, NHL 2K9 will skate onto the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and Wii this Monday, while EA's NHL 09 checks the 360 and PS3 on Tuesday. (NHL 09 on the PC and PS2 are expected later this month.)

Midway has its own brand of professional athletes on hand this week as well, though whether their performance can be considered a sim is a matter of interpretation. After first being announced in 2006 for a 2007 debut, TNA iMPACT! will attempt to make its mark this week on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PS2. (A Wii edition is expected next week.) The game features 25 stars from the TNA wrestling brand, including Kurt Angle, Booker T, Sting, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Jeff Jarrett, Christian Cage, Rhino, and Christopher Daniels.

With Sega's Yakuza 3 slated to hit Japanese PS3s early next year, the publisher has at long last brought its predecessor to North American PS2s this week. The crime syndicate action game will be joined by equally Japanese-made Zoids Assault, a sci-fi turn-based strategy game developed by Takara Tomy and published by Atlus in the US for the Xbox 360. Rare's Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise--in which gamers cultivate gardens of papier-mache animals--will be available for the Nintendo DS.

The Xbox 360 online storefront is in for a busy week, as three new titles have been added to the service. RocketBowl equips players with jet-fuel-propelled bowling balls and is available for 800 Microsoft points ($10). Shotest Shogi will be listed for the same 800 Microsoft point fee this Wednesday, and presents a Japanese take on the classic game of chess. Lastly, SNK's classic fighter Samurai Shodown 2 can be downloaded for 400 Microsoft points ($5).

Nintendo has its own trio of downloadable titles populating its Virtual Console and WiiWare service. From the classics category, Nintendo has added two TurboGrafx-16 shooters: Final Solider (700 Wii points, $7) and Cho Aniki (900 Wii points, $9). Empty Clip Studios' Groovin' Blocks finds its rhythm on WiiWare for 800 Wii points ($8). The music-based puzzler accommodates features 27 stages and three skill levels, and accommodates play for up to two.

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

Cho Aniki (Wii VC)
Final Soldier (Wii VC)
Groovin' Blocks (WiiWare)
Lock's Quest (DS)
Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir (DS)
NHL 2K9 (X360, PS3, PS2, Wii)
Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise (DS)

Active Life: Outdoor Challenge (Wii)
Aqua Mania (PC)
Cabela's Legendary Adventures (Wii, PS2, PSP)
Hell's Kitchen (Wii, DS)
Mazes of Fate DS (DS)
NHL 09 (X360, PS3)
Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI (PC)
The Price is Right (Wii, DS)
TNA iMPACT! (X360, PS3, PS2)
Yakuza 2 (PS2)
Zoids Assault (X360)

SEPTEMBER 10, 2008
CSI: Super Pack (PC)
Dragonball Z: Trilogy (PS2)
RocketBowl (XBLA)
Samurai Shodown 2 (XBLA)
Shotest Shogi (XBLA)

SEPTEMBER 11, 2008
Sony had not revealed the contents of its weekly Thursday update as of press time.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2008
Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 2 (Wii)
Righteous Kill: The Game (PC)

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