Weekly video game releases: 'DeathSpank', 'Toy Story 3', 'Need for Speed World'

Among upcoming video game releases: Ron Gilbert's
DeathSpank romps onto Xbox 360 and PS3, the
Toy Story video game franchise gets a new entry, and
Need for Speed World hurtles into view with a free-to-play online racing game.

DeathSpank (360, PS3)
Release: July 13 (PS3), July 14 (360)
Age Rating: Teen

With game design legend Ron Gilbert at the helm, DeathSpank has the necessary heritage to be described as a mix between Monkey Island's humorous adventuring and Diablo's quest-based monster hunting. DeathSpank himself is brave, if not stupid, and needs your help to vanquish his cylindrical world of foes on a quest for an artifact only known as The Artifact.
Price: $15 / est. €12 on PlayStation Network Store, 1200 Points (~$15/€14) on Xbox 360 Marketplace

Toy Story 3: The Video Game (360 DS PC PS3 PSP Wii)
Release date: Europe, July 16. North America, released June 15.
Age Rating: Europe, 7+ (3+ on DS & PSP). North America, Everyone (E10+ on 360 & PS3).

A tie-in with the big-screen release of Toy Story 3, Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear are joined by Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl to form the game's roster of playable characters. Story mode is self-explanatory - what the movie doesn't have is a Toybox mode, where players can create their own levels with items unlocked from the main game.
Price: €49.99 / $49.99 (360 PS3 Wii), €29.99 / $29.99 (DS PC PSP)

Xbox 360 S European launch
Release: July 16. North America, released June 14.

The same price as the previous model of the Xbox 360, but smaller, quieter and consumes less power. The 360 S also has integrated Wi-Fi for those preferring not to use a network cable for online access, and is built to power the Kinect motion tracking camera when it comes out later this year. Older Xbox 360 units are also compatible with Kinect, but in that instance Kinect uses a separate power supply.
Price: €249 / $299

Trackmania (Wii), Trackmania Turbo (DS)
Release: North America, July 20. Europe, September 24.
Age rating: Everyone / 3+

The Trackmania games are slick and speedy, with a dedicated online community, and a built-in track editor allowing players to create, share, and race on circuits of their own design - quite often including wild corners, corkscrews, and loop-the-loops. Trackmania Wii brings the trackmania experience to the Wii, with online racing and track sharing; Trackmania Turbo is the series' second outing on DS, adding the online component.
Price: $39.99 (Wii), $29.99 (DS)

Need for Speed World (PC)
Release: Worldwide, July 20.
Age rating: Everyone 10+

Think of this as Electronic Arts' foray into massively multiplayer online games - but using a fast and furious car racer to do it: tons of licensed cars, 240 kilometers of road, and two cities brough back from Need for Speed Wanted and Need for Speed Carbon. Skills are levelled up as players get better, and the game is a free download and playable without payment up to Level 10. Purchasing the Starter Pack opens up the route to Level 50. Other perks include a week's headstart (from June 13) and an extra car. One wonders what the Burnout series will come up with in response.
Price: Free to play, $19.99 for the Starter Pack.
Download from: http://world.needforspeed.com

Arc Rise Fantasia (Wii)
Release: North America, July 20.
Age rating: Teen

This is the developer's first game for the Nintendo Wii, but based on their previous role-players for the Nintendo DS ( Luminous Arc, 7th Dragon) it's safe to say that Arc Rise Fantasia, though not perfect, will certainly have its charms. A young dragon-hunting mercenary is saved from death by a foreign girl who has mysterious powers of her own.
Price: $39.99

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)
Release: Europe, July 23. North America, released July 11.
Age Rating: 12+ / Everybody10+

One of the most popular Nintendo DS games ever released in Japan, this role-playing adventure sold over 4 million copies in just six months following its initial release last July. Review scores back up the fan frenzy as Japanese magazine Famitsu gave it a rare full marks. It's a huge game in terms of sales, acclaim, and replay value due to the number of downloadable extras. There's also a dual purpose DS stand / loudspeaker in the shape of the cute blue series mascot Slime available from accessories company Hori.
Price: €39.99 / $34.99
Hori Slime Speaker Stand: $49.99

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