Well, there's really only one major topic from this past week, and it dominated all the news. So we might as well start with that.

Grand Theft Auto IV is…umm…pretty damn good

You may have already read my review , and while I had to write it before I could finish the game, I will always stand by that review. The more I play, the more I continue to be impressed. I remember mentioning the "little things" in the review, and I keep noticing different ones. Niko actually turns and looks over his shoulder when backing up in a vehicle. Just tapping a parked car can set off a car alarm and alert a nearby cop on the beat. Cars will actually swerve to avoid you and flash their lights if you piss 'em off, which is a huge departure from the "cars on a line" we always found in past GTA installments. Niko can get tossed from a vehicle without a windshield if he hits something hard enough. Getting shot results in blood spatters around the corner of your screen, so you know you're in a bad position. I mean, even if you traverse the entire city, you'll probably see something new every time you sit down and play. And that , completely by itself, is extremely impressive.

I don't give perfect 10s, and GTAIV isn't perfect, anyway. But if you own a PS3 or Xbox 360 and you haven't at least tried this game, you're deprived. It may not be your cup of tea, but you have to at least try it. It really is that good.

Haze kinda sneaked up on me…

It's not like I wasn't aware of it; I wrote seven trillion news articles during the saga of the ever-changing release date for Haze , and I was immediately intrigued by the very first video I saw. However, I've been so busy over the past few months with both games and work, I never realized how close we were to the release of Free Radical's shooter. It just struck me when I learned this past week that SCEE would be delivering the playable demo to the European Store on May 6. Of course, I'm hoping to see it on the US Store this week as well, and the final release date – May 22 – is less than three weeks away. After the end of 2007, when I played Halo 3 and The Orange Box , I kinda needed a break from FPSs, but I haven't played one yet this year, and Haze might just fit the bill. I've played great stuff like Devil May Cry 4 , Assassin's Creed , Lost Odyssey , Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds , Gran Turismo 5: Prologue , etc…but remarkably, no FPSs yet in 2008.

That might just have to change come May 22. I like the idea and the concept, and the developers have made the TimeSplitters games, so how bad could Haze possibly be?

Personal gaming update

As if you even need to know. It's going to be GTAIV for a while, even after I beat it (I always want the full experience in every GTA), and that's just fine by me. But I'm also mixing in play time with Out of Bounds and Prologue ; both of which are huge gooey gobs of fun, fun, fun . I never managed to finish Lost Odyssey due to the constant freezing of the last level, but a friend of mine will loan me his 4th disc when he's done. Beyond that, I'm seriously considering Haze , and of course, when June rolls around, it's all about Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots . There's really nothing else between now and then I desperately want, although I have been interested in Condemned 2: Bloodshot . I haven't played a survival/horror title since Resident Evil 4 on the PS2 a few years ago, and as I like to stay diverse, Condemned 2 is a definite consideration. I'm just worried that it's a bit too short to warrant the full $60 purchase…

Anyway, I would never complain for having too many great games to play, and with three now, I'm plenty happy enough. ­čÖé

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