With the first episode debuting in June 2006 and the series initially slated to wrap by Christmas 2007, the continuation of Valve's acclaimed Half-Life 2 shooter has followed more of a traditional release schedule. However, Drano now seemingly applied in liberal quantities, Valve is finally flushing out the oft-delayed Episode Two this week on the Xbox 360 and PC as part of the Orange Box. (A PlayStation 3 version is currently slated to follow later this year.)
A five-game compilation pack, the Orange Box includes the original Half-Life 2, its first two episodes, as well as Team Fortress 2 and Portal. It is rated M for Mature. For fans who can't be bothered with all the pack-ins, Valve is also busting up the Orange Box into � la carte offerings on its downloadable game service Steam.
Shoot-outs can also be had using soccer balls this week in EA's annual footballer FIFA 08 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii, Nintendo DS, and PC. Sports fans who prefer to be the speeding bullet themselves can hop into Sega Rally Revo this week. The first iteration of the acclaimed racing series to hit consoles stateside since 1999's Sega Rally Championship 2, Rally Revo hits the gas on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PSP this week and the PC next week.
Not content to spread one version across several platforms, the Looney Tunes and Bleach cartoons each have a pair of games out this week. Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal is Warner Bros.' latest action adventure featuring the likes of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, and Marvin the Martian. Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck is a minigame compilation for the Nintendo DS that features the notoriously short-tempered Daffy Duck. Cartoon Network's Bleach series also gets two installments this week, Shattered Blade on the Wii and The Blade of Fate on the DS.
LucasArts' Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron touches down on the PSP this week. Those feeling the Force can either pick up the game on its own for $39.99 or invest in Sony's limited-edition Star Wars Battlefront pack, which includes a ceramic-white PSP Slim with a silk-screened image of Darth Vader on the back and a copy of Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron, for $199.99. A revamp of the classic PlayStation strategy game, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions also wages tactical war on the PSP this week. Rounding out Sony's platform-exclusive offerings for the week, Folklore spins its fantasy action adventure tale on the PS3.
While Sony is still mum on what it has in store for the week, Microsoft and Nintendo are hitting the downloadable circuit hard this week. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, D3's surprise handheld hit from earlier in the year, brings its jewels to Xbox Live this week for 1,200 Microsoft points ($14.99). On the shameless advertisement front, the Toyota-sponsored Yaris also scoots onto XBL this week at the low, low price of free. SNK Playmore raises its dukes for the first time on Nintendo's Virtual Console this week with a trio of its bread-and-butter fighters from the NeoGeo days--Fatal Fury, World Heroes, and Art of Fighting--for 900 Wii points ($9) apiece.
This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).
OCTOBER 8, 2007
World Championship Paintball (PS2)
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights (PSP)
FIFA Soccer 08 (PSP)
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast (Wii)
Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey (Wii)
The Chosen (PC)
Nancy Drew: Legend of Crystal Skull (PC)
Arctic Tale (DS)
Fatal Fury (Wii VC)
World Heroes (Wii VC)
Art of Fighting (Wii VC)
OCTOBER 9, 2007
Sega Rally Revo (X360, PS3, PSP)
Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck (DS)
Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal (X360, Wii, PS2)
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer (PC)
Bleach: Shattered Blade (Wii)
Bleach: The Blade of Fate (DS)
FIFA Soccer 08 (X360, PS3, PS2, Wii, DS, PC)
Thrillville: Off the Rails (PSP, DS)
Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (PSP)
The Cheetah Girls: Pop Star Sensations (DS)
Flipper Critters (DS)
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)
Adrenaline: Rush Hour (PC)
Touch Detective 2 1/2 (DS)
Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun (PC)
OCTOBER 11, 2007
No releases announced.