The Sandbox: January 12th 2013


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 vanquished foes in Lordran, played virtual businessman, and participated in the Nonary game, among other things.

Mike Deas

I’ve been continuing my playthrough of Mass Effect. My femShep is level 37 and I’ve barely scratched the main story (just completed Feros, for those in the know). The game has its share of glitches and shows its age a bit, but I wouldn’t change a damn pixel.

I also happened to pop in the God of War: Ascension beta via my PS+ benefits. I am a God of War fan, but I’m not into fighting games (one v one or group fighting). I’m less than 10 matches in and I can tell you I will buy this game day one. I can’t get it out of my mind. And I’m pretty good at it! That’s a rarity for this type of game.

Sound Shapes

Greg Galiffa

Sound Shapes has got an amazing soundtrack that must seemingly be ripped apart by my awkward timing and failed executions. The game’s music aligns with progression (think Guitar Hero, but like a platformer with abstract art and stuff), so when I fall or leave a screen or miss a piece of the level, the music coughs. It’s distracting, but makes the moments when everything’s in tune all the more pleasant. Not much of a time investment though. TWO DAY RUN, SON.

Final Fantasy IV continues to crawl toward a finish. Still an incredible experience on the DS, just some sluggish pacing in the underworld. Also, having to cast Float on each floor of a dungeon is a cruel form of grind torture. It was back on the SNES and it still is today.

Speaking of replaying experiences and having little incentive to see them to their absolute completion, Shadow of the Colossus is still as gorgeous and empty as it was back on PS2. And those HD graphics really help you see the nothing. Srsly though? I love that game’s face off.

Eddie Inzauto

Well, I nabbed The Binding of Isaac and its expansion “Wrath of the Lamb,” along with a Steam copy of Amnesia: The Dark Descent (had to get it in that library) on sale recently, so I’ll likely play those this weekend. I’m really not sure what to expect out of The Binding of Isaac, and I feel a bit shameful about it, but Amnesia I intend to play with a friend, because bejesuses need scarin’, and that’s the best videogame-based method of doing it.

Virtue's Last Reward

Anthony LaBella

For the past couple of weeks 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward have been twisting my mind into a pretzel. The former is a 2010 DS title that seems to have found a second life in the past few years. I like to think of it as an adventure game even though a lot of people seem to refer to it as a visual novel, but it’s fascinating either way. Nine people find themselves trapped on a ship and they must complete the Nonary game to escape. The premise is simple but the story has to be one of the most complex I’ve ever encountered. The genius of 999 is how it encourages the player to get all endings – including bad ones – to shed light on the overall plot. With that being the case it does take a while to really get going; I thought the slow, methodical pace might turn me off but it actually works in the game’s favor. By the time I got to the true ending, mind-blowing revelation after mind-blowing revelation hit and I was hooked.

After finishing 999 I immediately ordered the sequel, Virtue’s Last Reward. It takes the same premise, adds a few important narrative tweaks, and ramps up the crazy. I’m talking psychopathic rabbit AI crazy. I’m about 15 hours in and have already had my fair share of shocking discoveries. Notable story ties to 999 are starting to pop up more now, so I can’t wait to see what happens next. Also helping matters is the fact that VLR makes a lot of improvements. My biggest problem with 999 was how multiple playthroughs became a chore. Dialogue that had already been read could be skipped, but you had to constantly press a button and completing the same puzzles over and over again was unavoidable. VLR streamlines the process by allowing players to skip around on a timeline screen. It also features better puzzles, solid voice-acting, and sleek visuals. I’ll probably make quite a bit of progress this weekend since I can’t seem to put the damn thing down… that is until my Vita needs to be charged.

Aled Morgan

Over the holiday I lost myself to Dark Souls. Time off work game binge style!

Not to say I wasn’t digging it before, but once I was rocking a wind-blasting battleaxe, full set of heavy armor, and a sinister variety of pyromancy (PYRROOO TAAAAAAANK), I knew I’d be coming back to Dark Souls. I spent as much time discovering weapons, collecting souls, and traveling across Lordran seeking hidden items as much as I did progressing. Once I had wasted hundreds of Silver Knights practicing my parry, and stripped down to leather to learn how to dodge, I could see why Dark Souls is as lauded as often as it is.

Now I’m on my second playthrough, and there’s no looking back. I’ve got weird, far-flung covenants to join, invading spirits to fight, and a certain bonfire to leave cold.

Mark of the Ninja

Mike Murphy

This week signaled the first offseason in my GM Connected League in NHL 13. I’m currently attempting to be a hard negotiator and resign my top players while keeping my eyes out for a top center that my Sabres definitely need to compete for the Stanley Cup. Last year our holes cost us a playoff spot by a tie-breaker. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again this year.

Aside from being a virtual businessman, I finally got to play through Mark of the Ninja. It was soooooo good! The stealth mechanics are probably some of the best since Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, which makes it even more impressive considering it’s a 2D sidescrolling indie title. I also loved the choice the player had to make at the end and the twist. A bit predictable, but it really made you think about the events of the entire game. Any time a game makes you think like that is a winner in my book.

On Tuesday, I was able to get some time in with Guild Wars 2 for Co-Op Node. This allowed me to find the spawn location of the Tequatl the Sunless, one of the dragon champions, although his event never kicked off while I played. However, I did get to take on the Claw of Jormag, another of the game’s dragon champions, who resides in one of the level 80 zones. There was also some fun yet ultimately unsuccessful assaults on supply camps and a tower in World vs. World in addition to a couple of typical PvP matches that I got into. If you want to see everything I did, click the link I’ve highlighted above and skip ahead about 10-15 minutes, as that’s when I started rolling out and adventuring. Also, don’t forget to keep your eyes out for myself and the other GN editors as we play our favorite games (and maybe even some of yours) on Co-Op Node each week!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
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.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.