The Sandbox: February 23rd 2013

Ni no Kuni

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 pitted humans against dinosaurs, sliced up enemies in a whole number of ways, and spent time with Lord High Lord of the Fairies, among other things.

Game Dev Story

Mike Deas

This past week I pulled out the old iPad and did another playthrough of Dungeon Village while at work, which was just as addictive as the first time. It even prompted me to buy Game Dev Story, which I’ll hopefully start today when things hit a lull in the office. It only has an iPhone version, so playing on my iPad will be annoyingly small, but if it’s half as fun as Dungeon Village, I think I’ll get over it.

Primal Carnage

Eddie Inzauto

I’m having an “off” gaming week, although I do intend to get busy with Primal Carnage, the humans vs. dinosaurs first-person shooter/clawer/biter we’re giving away on Steam all week.

I’ve also had a hankering to go back in time with some PS2 and N64… and maybe even some SNES gems – an RPG or tactics game, perchance. We shall see. We shall see.

Also, XCOM: Enemy Unknown rocked my world.

Ni no Kuni

Anthony LaBella

I finished up Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch earlier this week. My full thoughts on the game can be found in the review that’s going up on the site in the near future, but in short I thought it was a very charming and likeable RPG. It does feature moments in which grinding becomes necessary and the story falters at times (in large part because of presentation issues), but it’s easy to get swept up by the game’s beautifully realized world with fantastic art design from animated film company Studio Ghibli. And man is Drippy a great sidekick, I can’t get enough of his wisecracks in that delightful Welsh accent.

I’m not entirely sure what to play this weekend. I did download Platinum Games’ Vanquish, which is now free for PlayStation Plus subscribers. I remember enjoying the demo a few years back and it would be a fitting tribute since I’m holding off on a Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance purchase for a little while longer. I was also thinking of going back to Ico from the HD collection since I never did finish it.

Hitman Absolution

Aled Morgan

After six weeks of fairly intensive work, my gaming schedule has become bloated and backlogged. Again. And it’s only February. So this week I return to my pads with all the indecisiveness that comes from having four games on the go and not enough time to play any of them.

First there’s my continued love-affair with Dark Souls, whose blend of challenge, reward, and imbedded narrative was the first game since Dragon Age Origins to make me start a new game the moment I finished my first playthrough. After the three punch combo that is the Depths (Curse!) Blighttown (Toxic!) and Sen’s Fortress (Traps!) I’m at the brink of entering Anor Londo. Now if only I can beat the Iron Golem with this katana that cannot, it seems, stagger for crap.

Now for another remorselessly bleak world of a different kind: it’s Hitman Absolution, whose narrative seems to be filled entirely with the kind of people who make a considered argument for involuntary euthanasia. Hitman Absolution is grimy, corrupt, and as sleazy as you might imagine a game about killing people for money to be. It has also strayed away from the Hitman of my memory a little too much for me to say I like it, but I’m sticking with it for the occasional open-ended level that recalls the brilliance of Blood Money’s finer moments, or those bits where I get to assassinate a dude with a syringe from across a room. Either one.

I also managed to pick up Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, despite stock issues conspiring to the contrary. I’m only a few hours in yet – a drop in the water for these kind of games – but that Ghibli charm is hard to deny, even if the combat doesn’t look to open up for another ten hours. Even so, every now and then I just crave an epic adventure with dragons, and magic, and numbers leaking out of people as if everyone were made of maths. Special mention goes to Mr. Drippy, my fairy sidekick, who speaks with the kind of thick Welsh accent that I’m accustomed to hearing at any family gathering. ‘Tidy’ indeed Mr. Drippy.

Finally, and most uncharacteristically, I spent a day off playing Mortal Kombat – that reboot that happened sometime in 2011. It’s been sitting in my Playstation Plus pile for a month now, and while most of those titles are destined to sit unplayed until the end of time (or whenever I’m unlucky enough to break both my legs), I’d been planning on actually getting into fighting games for some time now, so why not? To wildly misappropriate the catchphrase of one of the fighters, and embarrass myself in the process: “Get over here fighting games!”

Finally, with the kind of ambiguity that can only come from good intentions and not enough time, I also sincerely plan to play DmC, The Cave, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. That’s to say nothing of the upcoming Tomb Raider, BioShock Infinite, and whatever delicate marvels the indie scene throws at us in the coming month.

One, two, three on me: AARRGH MY WALLET!

Metal Gear Rising

Mike Murphy

As indicated by my Co-Op Node stream this week, I’ve picked up Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance this week. The game has that classic Metal Gear feel when it comes to story and presentation, but brings with it some kick-ass hack-n-slash action as Raiden. It’s been a blast cutting up cyborgs and taking on Desperado all while seeing how the franchise’s world has adjusted following the events of MGS4.

The only other title I’ve been playing lately is NHL ’13, and by gosh are my Sabres making one epic comeback this season. In three week’s time we’ve gone from 12th to 4th place in the conference, closing the gap in with the Canadians by six points for first place in the division. My big off-season pickup, Patrice Bergeron, is hurt yet again with an injured shoulder, and my big sniper Thomas Vanek sprained his MCL. However, my team is stepping it up in their absence and keeping the team’s winning ways going. The MVP for us so far has got to be Ryan Miller, who has gone from being abysmal to almost unstoppable, with 10 shutouts already on the season.

I also spent some time playing some Dragonball Z Budokai HD Collection with my best friend. Since he’s picked up the title, it’s been a ton of fun and nostalgia beating each other up as our favorite Z Fighters. Who would have thought this old title would look so good rendered in HD and still be a ton of fun to play? Not me, but I’m glad I’m wrong!

This weekend I look to make a huge push into Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and perhaps get a couple of GM Connected games in.


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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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