I'm in a pretty good mood, so I'll rip through some of my favorite topics real quick.

Kratos won't be in SCIV, but that's okay

I figured it was too good to be true; according to 1Up, Kratos definitely isn't in Soul Calibur IV . Honestly, I think he would be a fine addition to the SC roster, just because he seems almost custom fit for a game that features characters with kick-ass weapons. Those blades on Kratos' wrist would be just plain awesome, as I see them as something similar to Ivy's blade that slings out and can be long range. However, I suppose I can live with a Kratos-less SCIV, and the reason why is simple: this is the first time since the original SC came out that I'm actually excited about the launch of a fighting game. They've never been my bag, but the original SC is still one of my favorite games ever (not really sure why), and while I never got around to playing either of the last two installments, I'm primed and ready for the fourth. I'm sure I'll be terrible at it, but at the very least, I love the concept and the look.

If it weren't for the massive games that have already dropped this year, SCIV would be my most anticipated of 2008 thus far. It's not every year we get the likes of GTAIV and MGS4 in the first six months, and I have never taken my eye off Namco's impending gem. I really can't wait to lay my hands on it!

The Network will stay free, and I LIKE it that way

Sony has revealed that they're quite content with keeping the PlayStation Network free of charge , and that's great news for me. It was one of the biggest selling points of the PS3 as far as I'm concerned, and while I realize Live is still slightly more robust, the Network has definitely closed the gap. Besides, I couldn't care less about the little extra bells and whistles Live may still have over the Network; I'm just not online enough to matter. I'm a casual online player and I probably always will be. Hence, if I can just jump online whenever I want for free, just to play for an hour or two, I'm not about to even notice the frills. Just let me play, and I certainly don't want to pay. I don't even have a Gold membership for Live because, like I just said, I'm not online enough to matter and I don't have the incentive. On top of which, I've heard about Live somehow being more reliable, but in my experience, that's not true at all. Most everyone I know will say the Network is just as, if not more, reliable.

I'll tell you this- if Sony ever does decide to charge for the Network, I might seriously consider not signing up. It's low on the priority list, but provided it stays free…sure, I'll hop on and toy around every now and then. FREE works perfectly for my gaming habits.

Personal gaming update

So I'm still working my through Top Spin 3 , and when I finish, it's back to playing through MGS and MGS2 to prepare for MGS4. I've made Pro in TS3 and I've worked my character up to the point where he has an overall rating of 63. As a frame of reference, the best players in the game (Federer, Roddick, Nadal, etc.) all are between 70 and 75. Surprisingly, I was able to beat Federer – 4-3 (7-3), 3-0 – on my first try, and I also easily beat the likes of Andy Murray, Gael Monfiis, and David Nalbandian. I haven't played Nadal yet, but for some reason, Roddick just completely ran me off the court. I lost, 4-2, 3-1, and I realized at that time just how important power is in this game. But why is Roddick – evidently – the best player in the game? How is he better than Federer? What sense does that make? It's only a small complaint because the rest of the game is excellent and you can't expect 100% realism, but… I mean, it's weird. Anyway, once I finish the season at #1 (which I think I can do now), that'll be it, and I can move on.

Then, to interrupt my MGS time again, it'll be Soul Calibur IV at the end of the month. ­čÖé

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