The seasons have officially changed and the mountains received far too much snow for me to ignore them in favor or cold-weather mountain biking. So I flipped down the seat in my Element where my mountain bike took up residence for the past 7 months and I waxed up my snowboard. And since I have the luxury of being in the 6th week of my seasonal vacation from work, it's safe to say that I've been getting a lot of use out of the snowboard too.
And I've been playing a lot of videogames too. I have a couple more to add to the growing list of games I completed during this recess from work. Work that includes playing and completing videogames. Yes, life is good. Very good.
Test Drive: Eve of Destruction - Xbox
This has to be considered one of 2005's best sleeper titles. It got zero pub, nobody was talking about it after it came out despite its $30 pricetag, and nobody is talking about it still. And I'll tell you right now, it's a damn fine game. The gameplay is all about demolition derby racing and as weird as this is to say, it's actually a pretty deep experience. The Career Mode is huge, complete with a country town to drive around (buy new cars at the salvage yard, upgrades at the autobody shop, race for money at any number of places) and your home -- a single-wide trailer, a couple of beaters in the dirt driveway, and a flock of chickens running around. The real action is out of town at the game's many raceway/arenas. There, players compete in dozens of different demolition racing events. All of which are available in 4 person multiplayer as well. From straight up racing to demolition derby to oval-track racing with boat trailers and school buses. You can even play soccer with the cars. And sprinkled throughout the experience is a collection of very funny, and very impressive clips of real cars and people partaking in these exact events. Combine all of this fun with some impressive graphics (480p) and a pleasantly surprising physics engine and you got one of the best games nobody has heard of this year.
Resident Evil 4 - Gamecube
In stark contrast to the game mentioned above, everyone knows about this game. And everybody knows how good it is. Likely to receive plenty of "Game of the Year" accolades, RE4 is not only the first game in the series that I completed (19 hours total gameplay), but it's the first one that I could stand to play for more than 30 minutes without breaking a controller. It may have taken them the better part of a decade, but Capcom finally got the camera and controls right. And boy did they! RE4 plays well, has compelling gameplay throughout its length and just looks and sounds fabulous. Definitely one of the best-looking games on any current-gen system. Also one of the funnest. While the story is complete nonsense, the game completely embraces its videogamey-ness and gives you a really fun time. It also has several unlockable bonus games, a great weapons selection, and an impressive lack of fetch quests. If you haven't played this game, you must. And now that it's out on the PS2 as well as the GC, there's no reason not to.