The Sandbox: September 29th 2012

Borderlands 2

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 irresistible loot in Pandora, prepared ourselves for some hidden blade action, and let our broad interests take hold at a videogame expo, among other things.

Dan Crabtree

So I own Borderlands 2 by accident (NVIDIA is giving away a PC copy for free… with the purchase of a high-end gpu), and played it accidentally a few times. Just like with the first one, I really need to find someone to play this thing with, because I’m just not getting it with solo play.

I have been satisfied, however, to rock Torchlight II by myself. What struck me is how similar Torchlight II and Borderlands 2 are in focus – it’s all about the skills and the loot, sonnnnnn. Maybe I haven’t given Borderlands enough time to impress me with the Siren, but the Embermage in Torchlight II can pull off some unbelievable spells within 2 hours of playing the game. Now that I’m toward the end, I can summon the most intense combination of fire pillars, electric beams, and icy Stonehenge pillars and I can drain some serious health while doing it. I guess I just feel more immediately empowered by Torchlight II (I’m playing both games on Normal, per usual). If I can get some mother of a gun in Borderlands 2, I’m back in.

Torchlight II

Mike Deas

With work bearing down, my gaming time has slowly dwindled. Finally took down my last Colossi, which was fantastic. Went on a Journey a week or so ago and have been Jungle Running with Rayman. I’m looking forward to dabbling with Legend of Dragoon and am waiting for Darksiders II to come via Gamefly.

My backlog is stacking up but I won’t even get into that list…

Ben Gyurik

Over the past two weeks I have had most of my time split up between CS:GO, Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition, and Black Mesa.

I’m on my second playthrough of Dark Souls, and I have just started “Artorias of the Abyss.” After modding the game it looks much smoother. The recent release of Borderlands 2 has been eating up a lot of my time, too. So far I’m just focusing on a playthrough with the commando Axton.

October is coming soon, and I don’t even know what I’m going to do with the releases of XCOM and Dishonored slowly approaching!

Borderlands 2

Eddie Inzauto

My goal is for October is to finish up the Assassin’s Creed games I’ve been neglecting in preparation for my most anticipated entry in the series since ACII. Aside from a little Brotherhood and most of Revelations, there’s always more Dark Souls to wrap up, and I’ve been very interested in finally getting around to Dragon’s Dogma and Kingdoms of Amalur. Those shouldn’t take too long… right? Right?

Anthony LaBella

A lot of my week consisted of The Last Story, which only got better with more playtime. The battle system is a nice mix of old and new, and the characters and world are worth caring about despite the fact that there’s a bit too much melodrama for my liking. A review of that will be coming soon, in addition to one for the new Darksiders II DLC, “Argul’s Tomb.” I enjoyed the last boss, but outside of that it felt like a glorified sidequest. Then again, popping Darksiders II back into the 360 isn’t really a bad thing considering how much I like the game.

Aled Morgan

I’ve been busy at Eurogamer Expo these past few days, so apart from my usual sordid romance with Pokemon Platinum Nuzlocke (my Twitter followers are force-fed all the grimy details) I’ve not had chance to fix one particular game under my steely, unrelenting gaze. Instead said gaze has become unfocused, perhaps because of the volume of games I’ve been trying out, perhaps because of nine hours a day in a dimly lit hall, staring at bright screens, but most likely because of the dangerous amounts of Mountain Dew they’re giving away here. For this week’s Sandbox I’ll just be sharing some of my notes with you, though I can’t guarantee that all of them will be sincere, of much special insight, or even coherent.

Actual previews for some of these titles will follow, but in the meantime you’ll have to make do with the following lexical scraps.

Halo 4: Battle Rifle > DMR.

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale: It seems like my preconceived plan of maining as PaRappa was shattered by PaRappa seemingly being a bit crap.

New Super Mario Bros. U: Being the guy with the Wii U GamePad, laying down platforms to help the players, is like being tasked with babysitting lemmings.

Hitman Absolution: If, as a law enforcement officer, you keep falling for my fuse-box trick, you probably deserve the incoming fiber-wire kiss.

Tomb Raider: Lara, why do you think it’s such a good idea to cross the perilous chasm by shimmying across a structurally unsound plane wreckage?

The Cave: Ron Gilbert’s humor. Double Fine’s charm. My absolute inability to complete the most basic of logical puzzles.

Proteus: I’ve got no idea what Proteus is, but it’s lovely. Some singing mushrooms just walked into the sea.

Prisoner Architect: It’s like Theme Hospital but with a tutorial level where you build an execution room for an inmate. Worryingly compelling.

Fable: The Journey: This is fun, but I really wouldn’t want to do it for more than fifteen minutes. Am I really bad at this, or do I blame Kinect?

Dishonored: Embedded player choice means nothing when you’ve made Blink the most fun thing to use in any game ever.

Unfinished Swan: Perhaps the embodiment of “indie art game.” No bad thing.

Pikmin 3: Rock Pikmin. Further experimentation needed before I decide just how these differ from purple Pikmin.

BaraBariBall: Calling this “Barry Ball” for now. Two-player game where you throw the ball into the opponent’s bit of ocean. Plays wonderfully. May begin challenging randoms to this.

Unfinished Swan

Mike Murphy

My gaming plate has been occupied by three titles over the past two weeks. First was NHL 13, which you can read all of my thoughts on in my review.

Next was, of course, Borderlands 2. I haven’t gotten that far in, but I’ve been having a lot of fun exploring Pandora again with all new guns and my awesome assassin. So far the story feels like a much bigger improvement over the first game, and I’m incredibly glad to see that Gearbox hasn’t lost it’s sense of humor either. All I know is that I can’t wait to max out the Bloodshed tree and tear through everything Handsome Jack has to throw at me.

I’ve also still been chugging along at Guild Wars 2. My progress has gotten me over level 50, with regular assaults on the dragon lieutenant known as The Shatterer successful. I’ve also become more familiar with World versus World combat, even helping to organize assaults, distractions, and defenses against the enemies of Henge of Denravi thanks to in-game communication with teammates. It’s in these moments that the game really shines, but that’s like say a sun spot shines on, well…the sun.


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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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