First thing: my 360 returned today just under two weeks after I sent it in. It has the same serial number, but it seems like a new console — it has a different DVD drive, and runs cooler and quieter. It even has that new electronics plastic smell! There was also a three month Xbox Live membership card in the box, which was a nice way to make up for having to send back my console. Having to send it in still sucked, but MS handled it very well.
Second thing: Brütal Legend, the new Tim Schafer game. The gameplay is a strange blend of brawler/racer/RTS, and so far it’s been a lot of fun, but what really makes this game ate the characters, the story, and the game world, a free-roaming fantasy realm inspired by classic heavy metal album covers and motifs. Jack Black is pitch-perfect as Eddie Riggs, the game’s roadie protagonist, and the metal star cameos, including Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy, come thick and fast. The landscape is littered with monstrous bone piles, massive V8 engine blocks, and crumbling stone monuments, and it’s a hell of a place to explore, especially when you’re gunning your hot rod’s engine and cranking metal tunes from the game’s massive library.