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As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 Shipping Announcements

by Judy on Sept. 26, 2006 @ 10:34 a.m. PDT

Another day, another batch of games shipped to stores. Instead of giving them all their own posts, we grouped them, and so far there are announcements for:

Caesar IV (PC)

“Caesar IV blends classic city-building gameplay with next-generation 3D graphics,” said Cindy Cook, chief strategy and marketing officer for Vivendi Games. “The Roman Empire is brought to life as players build their provinces into prosperous urban centers. Plus, with Caesar IV’s online mode, players can compare their empires. This game has it all!”

Developed by Tilted Mill Entertainment, Caesar IV challenges players to transform a backwater in the Roman Empire into a prosperous city. Governing every aspect of city life, including economics, urban planning and defense, players must also complete difficult missions in neighboring provinces. Aspiring emperors must eventually make their way to Rome and defeat Caesar himself.

Hail Caesar! The best-selling city builder series returns. Caesar IV takes the ancient city builder to the next generation with leading edge graphics and expanded control over the Roman Empire. Developed by the award-winning creators of Caesar III and Pharaoh(TM), Caesar IV is sure to please the masses. Starting as governor of a newly formed province in the Roman Empire, your goal is simple: advance up the empire’s political ladder to become the next Caesar. As governor, you will have total control over your province, including city planning, finances, and defenses. As you succeed you will be given new challenges in other provinces within the Roman Empire, ultimately ending in the heart of the empire: Rome.

Caesar IV features:

  • Build your Rome: More than 100 awe-inspiring structures are available to build in any imaginable combination
  • Expanded Economic Control: With over 25 tradable goods, 10 industries, 4 markets and foreign trade routes, the economic possibilities are vast
  • Leading Edge Graphics: High dynamic range lighting, specular & bump mapping, along with realistic weather effects and a complete day / night cycle bring Rome to life in never-before-seen detail
  • Experience Life in Ancient Rome: Interact with more than 75 unique characters within your city
  • Improved Combat Functionality: Take direct control over your legions - who gain experience through combat and training - as you ward off barbaric invasions
  • Over 100 Hours of Gameplay: Career mode, standalone competitive scenarios, and sandbox mode offer variety and replayability

Distributed in North America by Vivendi Games under the Sierra Entertainment label, Caesar IV is rated E10+ and carries an MSRP of US $39.99.

The Fast and the Furious (PS2)

Inspired by the events of the Universal Pictures' film and Universal Studios Home Entertainment DVD release of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, available on store shelves today, The Fast and the Furious video game features a ground-breaking drift mechanic that makes drifting accessible to both beginning and veteran racing game drivers. Gameplay features revolutionary new systems like the Drift Indicator that make The Fast and the Furious the most accessible realistic drift game yet. Perched at the forefront of the drift racing phenomenon, the video game features a Revolutionary Drift Model that is fun and approachable for players of all skill levels; model cars, cinematic camera angles straight from the movie, unique boss challenges, stunning visuals with over 100 JDM Tuner, Classic Muscle and Concept cars as well as robust customization options all of which encompass the drift racing world!

Available inside each copy of The Fast and the Furious video game, customers will receive a $50.00 coupon to be used toward any NASA High Performance Driving Event in the country. Fans will have a real-life opportunity to experience the type of driving seen in the game, but in a controlled and safe environment. Consumers can drive their very own car on some of America's most famous road courses in a safe environment with no speed limits, no pedestrians, and no tickets!

The Fast and the Furious is rated 'T' for Teen by the entertainment software ratings board (ESRB), and is now available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $39.99.

Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 (NGC)

The sequel to Naruto: Clash of Ninja follows the storyline of Viz Media's hit anime series Shonen Jump Naruto and will feature more playable characters, new locations and added gameplay features including multiplayer modes for up to four players.

Developed exclusively for the Nintendo GameCube by 8ing, Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 will offer gamers non-stop ninja style combat action for 1-4 players in which gamers may choose to play as one of 23 total available characters. All-new multi-player modes will engage players in frantic simultaneous four player battles and single-player modes will offer more gameplay choices than before with survival and timed attack modes that allow players to showcase their taijutsu and special jutsu abilities.

Naruto takes place in a world where ninja hold the ultimate power. Infused with the spirit of a once fearsome Nine-Tailed Fox, Naruto Uzumaki is a ninja-in-training who is learning the art of Ninjutsu with his classmates Sakura and Sasuke. The trio studies under the instruction of their teacher Kakashi, who helps the group face dangerous and daunting tests and challenges. Through their adventures, the young ninja learn the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity, and right versus wrong.

NBA Live 2007 (PSP/X360/Xbox/PC)

Developed by EA Canada, NBA Live 07 features NBA superstar Tracy McGrady of the Houston Rockets on its cover, and it is available on the Xbox 360, Xbox, PSP, mobile and PC. It will ship to stores in North America on the PlayStation 2 on September 27th.

On Wednesday, September 27, McGrady and Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, who is featured on NBA Live 07 packaging in France, will help launch NBA Live 07 at the world's only NBA Store on 5th Avenue in New York City. Beginning at 1:00 pm Eastern Time, the first 150 fans who have registered to pre-purchase the game from the NBA Store will receive an autographed copy of the game from McGrady and Parker and have the opportunity to meet the players.

Outside North America, NBA Live 07 will be available to stores worldwide on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6 with Parker and Boris Diaw of the Phoenix Suns on the cover in France, Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks on the cover in Germany and Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies on the cover in Spain. McGrady is featured on the cover in North America and all other territories.

This year NBA Live 07 introduces ESPN Motion and streaming ESPN radio podcasts delivered right to your console in game through a ground-breaking new ESPN integration package available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. Fans connected online will be able to watch NBA game highlights, segments from Pardon the Interruption or Around the Horn, interviews and analysis from SportsCenter, and more. Fans will also be able to download and listen to ESPN radio podcasts as they play NBA Live 07, including segments from Dan Patrick, Mike & Mike, Stephen A. Smith and others. All this is in addition to live ESPN Radio SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes, the ESPN Ticker and ESPN News.

Legendary broadcaster Marv Albert and former Chicago Bulls star Steve Kerr call all the action from the best seats in the house as you take your game to the highest level in NBA Live 07. With all-new EA Sports Total Freestyle Control and revolutionary gameplay -- complete with ultra-realistic moves and player emotions -- the highly acclaimed basketball video game from the EA Sports brand plays as good as it looks. Pull off moves only the pros perform as you replicate the styles of your favorite NBA players. Elevate to the rim for an electrifying dunk and bring the crowd to its feet, or look to your superstars to shift momentum with the game on the line. Featuring all-new levels of ability for your EA Sports Freestyle Superstars, the power to switch their skills on-the-fly, and advancements to fan-favorite features like All-Star Weekend and Dynasty Mode, the hardwood is yours for the taking in NBA Live 07.

NBA 2K7 (PS2/X360/Xbox)

NBA 2K7 showcases the dynamic movements of every single NBA player with the introduction of Signature Style, featuring over 300 unique animations in jumpshots, dunks, dribbles and passes. Athletes in NBA 2K7 look and move exactly like their real-life counterparts, and display the same tendencies and behaviors, bringing intelligence and realism to the next level. Improved arena atmosphere includes enhanced lighting effects and dynamic 3D crowd behaviors, and over 30 new gameplay cameras.

NBA 2K7 brings the most comprehensive game modes for any sports game including 24/7: NEXT, an entertaining Streetball story mode with unique basketball challenges; a completely redesigned Create Player system; and the Association, the most complete franchise mode that includes three-team trades, progressive fatigue and more.

2K Sports continues to lead the online charge with the most comprehensive online features for NBA 2K7, including improved online stat tracking, online tournament features, and the addition of online fantasy leagues.

NBA 2K7 is available for the Xbox 360 for $59.99, and for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 for $29.99. NBA 2K7 for the PlayStation 3 will also be coming this holiday season.

Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria (PS2)

Divine insurrection besieges the heavens. Invoking his power as king of the gods, Odin hastily reincarnates the spirit of rebel valkyrie Silmeria into Alicia, Princess of Dipan. However, unbeknownst to Odin, the spirit of the battle-maiden awakens within Alicia, still seeking vengeance.

Years pass. Believing his daughter to be possessed, King Barbarossa of Dipan declares Alicia dead and exiles her to a faraway castle. Odin learns of Silmeria's awakening and dispatches the imperious Hrist Valkyrie to summon her spirit to Valhalla. Alicia runs in fear -- with Silmeria in defiance -- as they embark on a journey where nothing is what it seems and all hide behind a mask.

Sacred treasures offering unimaginable power suggest hope for independence, but manipulation and intrigue fool those who fight fate into fulfilling more diabolical destinies. The battle rages through the realm of Midgard, over the bridge of Bifrost, into the heavens of Asgard and beyond as the struggle for control -- over Alicia's fate and the fate of all existence -- unfolds in unforeseeable dimensions.

Features

  • An immersive experience of sight and sound -- 480p and Dolby Pro Logic II support provide a breathtaking cinematic experience
  • Puzzle-solving using the Photon Action System, an enhanced evolution of the popular crystal system -- freeze enemies and swap positions to reach new heights
  • Simultaneous multi-character combat places the controls of four separate characters at your fingertips -- perform advanced combos and tandem maneuvers with dazzling results
  • Classic Valkyrie Profile gameplay is updated with a state-of-the-art 3D rendering system that produces amazingly crafted environments that revitalize the franchise's 2D roots
  • A gripping tale of abandonment, loneliness and revenge crafted by the masterful storytellers at tri-Ace
  • Lush environments are enhanced by an advanced physics and lighting system, enabling a new level of brilliant and lifelike surroundings

Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria is rated "T" for Teen. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria is available at North American retailers for the suggested retail price of $49.99(USD).

Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier (NDS)

A turn-based strategy title based on the best-selling collectible miniature game from WizKids Games, Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier takes players to a time where war is rampant and the fate of the land rests in the hands of one brave warrior.

Players take on the role of a warrior who is tasked to fight and rally as many troops as possible in an effort to restore peace and keep the Land alive. This warrior must prove himself by fighting hard and earning the respect of other soldiers by engaging in small battles along the way. The more respect a player earns, the more inclined others will be to fight alongside him in an all-out war against those trying to destroying the Land.

“The Mage Knight franchise has always delivered a solid gameplay experience with lasting appeal,” said John Whitmore, Director of Internal/External Development at NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. “While staying true to the traditional tabletop game, Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier allows players to strategize, customize their armies and conquer the magical Mage Knight universe.”

Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier provides players with a deep and structured combat system based on the established Mage Knight rules. Players can explore and conquer more than 80 maps including forests, mountains, villages, icy plains and other various types of terrain throughout the Land. Players can also build an unstoppable custom army by utilizing more than 90 different units of troops through recruitment and conquest.

Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier is rated “E 10+” for ages 10 and up by the ESRB, is now available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $29.99.

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