The Sandbox: August 18th 2012

Darksiders II

It’s time for another edition of The Sandbox, the weekly feature in which the GamerNode team members reveal what we’ve been playing over the past few days and what we’ve got on our plates for the weekend. This week we found out what all the DayZ fuss is about, spent some time as Death himself, and found out a brand new way to play Pokémon, among other things.

Kem Alily

Finally VIDEOGAMES!!! It has been almost two months since I played a good old game. Circumstances at worked inhibited me but not even the cruel talons of “the man” could keep me from my love.

To start my revival, I have been trying to complete Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. As fascinated as I am by the origins of keyblade masters and the world before the introduction of Sora and Riku, there are only so many fetch quests and average dialogue sections one can take. Luckily, the battle system is extraordinary and keeps me plowing through the dreadful story bits **cough cough** Ventus plotline **cough cough**.

The Civilization series is, and forever will be, a black hole for time. No matter how often I set limits for play time, no matter how late it is, no matter what time I have to get up for work the next day, Civilization V will always seduce me into playing just that little bit longer. Next thing I know, it is 3 a.m. — Firaxis is just too powerful, and must pay for their crimes against my schedule!

Charles Battersby

Shhhh…. Don’t talk to me about video games. I’m hiding from zombies in a little shack near some small town in Chenarus. I’ve been exploring for hours but haven’t found a gun yet and if the Zeds hear me, they’ll chase me for miles… I finally broke down and had a look at the DayZ mod for Arma II. This is also my introduction to the Arma series of ultra-realistic military shooters. It’s great to see the mod community reanimate interest in a game that released a few years ago. I’m dividing my time between the original version of Arma II and the new zombie mod and finding both to be uniquely realistic versions of their genres.

When not fighting army guys or zombies I’ve been trying my hand at the new 360 shooter Hybrid – where I shoot robots. It’s a cover-based game where players can ONLY move between cover, and it definitely gives a new take on the multiplayer shooter. Plus it has jetpacks!

I’ve also managed to squeeze in a few hours shifting between Stark and Arcadia in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. This is a series I can replay endlessly and this latest run through Dreamfall just makes me want to spend another forty hours playing the original The Longest Journey again. Rope, Clamp, Duck, indeed!


Mike Deas

This week I plowed through LIMBO, which was fantastic. I’ve also been crunching my way through GTA III on the PC. I hope to wrap up Darksiders this weekend in preparation for the sequel. I’ll hopefully get into Kingdom Hearts 3D once I get it from Gamefly. Then I’ve got the million other things on my backlog.

Eddie Inzauto

While Jay and company celebrate at his sure-to-be-awesome bachelor party in Philly and Atlantic City, I’ll have to miss out, as I’ll be visiting my family in Myrtle Beach. The good news is that I’ll have time to sit down and play some games. I’m still looking at Darksiders II, perhaps some Sleeping Dogs, and older titles I have yet to finish, like the last two Assassin’s Creeds, both of Rocksteady’s Batman games, The Witcher 2, and The Walking Dead, among other back-cabin titles. I’ll be sure to let you all know how I fared next week.

Anthony LaBella

Most of my gaming time over the past week and a half has involved Darksiders II, which is a pretty awesome game. My review will be coming soon, so keep an eye out for that. But in the meantime I can say that any game with tempting loot, sidequests, and huge bosses is sure to keep me interested. I honestly wasn’t expecting such an expansive sequel, but Darksiders II has a lot of stuff to do. That should make it easier for gamers to open those wallets and plunk down the cash for the game.

I also took my Vita with me yet again when I was out of the house and ended up playing through the Sound Shapes campaign. I was kind of hoping that the gameplay and music would tie into each other more directly, but this is more of a solid platformer with great tunes. But hey, I’m not complaining too much. And it looks like the level builder and community options will give this game plenty of life after people complete the campaign. I already played a few fantastic user-made levels.

Sound Shapes

Aled Morgan

Pokémon. Nuzlocke.

What is that strange second word? It’s the start of an entirely new way to play your favorite cutesy animal bloodsport simulator. The rules are simple. They’re so simple that the creator of the Nuzlocke challenge has wrapped them up quite neatly in this charming comic strip. (Two rules: You may only capture the first Pokémon you encounter in each new area, and if a Pokémon faints, you must release it.)

Up to speed? Good.

Playing a Pokémon using Nuzlocke rules simply makes it better. I began a Nuzlocke run of Pokémon White a few months ago. I made friends, the names of who I remember to this day, but then I lost them all during a headstrong attempt on the Elite 4. It hurt guys. It hurt real bad.

Now I’m going back again, but this time on Pokémon Platinum. I’ve never played the fourth generation of Pokémon before. Sure, my time as a competitive battler means I know what the monsters are like, but I’ve had no experience with the structure of the game, so that in conjunction with the Nuzlocke rules makes things very interesting, and oftentimes fatal.

I’ve just completed the third gym now, and it was by far the toughest. It transpired so that one of my Pokémon would have to die in order for Fantina’s wretched Mismagius to go down. In end it was Jitterbit the Kricketune, savior of the last gym and all around underdog, who took one for the team. When I say heart-breaking, I’m not even really exaggerating.

I will never forget…

It seems that my own rollercoaster ride of victory and tragedy has already piqued the interest of two of my fellow GamerNode writers, so why not join the party?

Misery loves company, after all.


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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