The Sandbox: November 10th 2012

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 tapped and… punched our mobile devices, sharpened our hidden blades, and donned the Spartan armor once again, among other things.

Dan Crabtree

I finally finished Borderlands 2review incoming (fart sound).

Of greater interest is one of the top 5 highest rated games of this year, Punch Quest. AND IT’S TOTALLY FREE. If you haven’t played (see: gotten addicted to) this little gem, do yourself a favor and get on it. Yes, there are microtransactions, but they’re totally unnecessary and the game is great without paying a dime. It’s like… Robot Unicorn Attack, but with punching, bats, gnomes, laser raptors, a cyclops, orcs, spinning fists, and some of the best 8-bit tunes around. This free-to-play gem ain’t at the top of the charts for no reason.

Also, has anyone else played Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation? Man, it’s like they skipped all the Final Fantasy X and went straight to the X-2. An outfit system? Really? You want to show that the first female lead in an Assassin’s Creed game is clearly feminine and super badass, even on a small screen, and you have her playing dress-up debutante for a third of the game? And don’t worry, there’s literally no explanation for why she does what she does. Character is pretty unimportant here, so feel free to ignore it entirely.

Oh, and for a brief moment last week, I was ranked #473 in the WORLD in Angry Birds Space. Bow. Wow. Wow.

Greg Galiffa

This week has been about pick-up-and-play gaming. First, I’ve been pining over Need for Speed: Most Wanted and all its delicious cars ready for my consumption. The game is a nice deviation from my normal wheelhouse of pew-pew, slash-slash, jump. That I’ve been more entranced with it than my highly-anticipated run of Assassin’s Creed III shows me how polished Criterion made it. Seriously, waxed and shiny. I’ll have a review up soon. Keep an eye out.

The other half of my week has been spent on my phone. Most notably is Peter Molyneux’s social experiment, Curiosity: What’s in the Box? Several Brad-Pitt-In-Seven jokes later, I was convinced this is a worth the participation. It’s also free, so there’s that. Connectivity issues notwithstanding, the app is intriguing. I’m currently breaking down hundreds of green blocks a day, chipping away for the red mass underneath. And for some reason, Christmas songs keep seeping into my head.

Also on my Droid is the Humble Bundle 4, which has reunited me with Splice and introduced me to Sword and Sworcery EP. The former is just as therapeutic and self-congratulatory as the last time. The latter is quirky, simple and somewhat terrifying. Hacknslashnhacknslash. It’s like Adventure Time meets Out of This World.

Persona 4 Golden

Eddie Inzauto

It’s been a jam-packed week for me! I finally wrapped the bonus content in Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (and beat the game for a second time) as a BOOM-BOOMING sorcerer, so this is likely the last you’ll hear of my obsession with “Souls” games for a while. Next up was a campaign of medieval combat, as I hacked and slashed through Chivalry: Medieval Warfare as an archer, knight, vanguard, and man-at-arms. I never actually managed to become a proficient killer like during my Goldeneye years, but I damn sure tried, and had a good time doing it. The complexity of the fighting mechanics was actually a good way to wean myself away from Lordran, so that curse may indeed be broken.

After stepping back in time, I turned the clock forward again (Daylight Savings joke for the WIN!) to take part in the most primitive of modern pursuits, donning my virtual hunting gear and playing through Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions and Dangerous Hunts 2013. One of these titles provides an outlet for gamers’ hunting desires, the other is pretty much useless. You can learn more about these glorious experiences in my reviews.

And hey guys, guess what! I finally wrapped the last sequence in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood! Was I seriously that close all along? Anyway, it ain’t no Assassin’s Creed II, and I’m getting the feeling that Assassin’s Creed III will blow me away, but it was a pretty solid expansion on Ezio’s story. I’ll probably take care of Revelations and AC III by December. They’re high on my list of gaming priorities, fo’ sho’.

And then there’s this Punch Quest thing I’m downloading. I do have a flight coming up, after all.

Anthony LaBella

Over the past week I’ve been playing Persona 4 Golden for the Vita, and to say I’m hooked would be an understatement. I thought the story and characters in Persona 3 were great, but the grind of exploring Tartarus created an obvious imbalance. With Persona 4, the characters are even better and combat environments are far more varied. The result is a game I have a hard time putting down.

None of that is new considering Persona 4 came out four years ago for the PS2. This is my first time playing the game, but I’ve seen videos of the PS2 version and there are some smart additions added to the Vita port. Examples include easier-to-navigate menus, fusion searches, and the ability to choose which skills are inherited during fusions. The list goes on from there, making the Vita version the ultimate Persona 4 experience.

Persona 4 Golden doesn’t come out until November 20, but be on the lookout for a GamerNode review in the next couple of weeks.

Halo 4

Aled Morgan

I got to sleep Wednesday morning after all-nighting the Halo 4 campaign on legendary. Kudos go to my fellow Spartan in arms, as well as the fat stack of snacks that kept us pew-pewing throughout the evening. As impenetrable as the Halo fiction can be to one only familiar with the games, it was the best shooter campaign I’ve played in a long time, with a few stand-out moments and nothing that felt underwhelming.

Now it’s time to begin climbing the ranks in Halo 4’s multiplayer, the main motivation for my play being the prospect of shiny new helmets and pretty visor colors. In all seriousness, though, I’ve always found myself enjoying Halo’s brand of shooter multiplayer more than anything more realistic. 343 Industries has obviously been watching while such titles have flooded the market, and Halo 4 borrows from these. Does it take too much? Not if you ask me. Not at all. Halo 4 is decidedly different from previous iterations of Halo’s online sandbox, but is that not a good thing? People debate the best Halo multiplayer on and on, and here I am having a blast with each of them.

I decided Halo 4 really was a Halo game the moment the map’s skybox became a cluster of exploding banshees and misfired rockets, all of it colored with the deep red of Spartan lazer.

In short: yeah, I’m feeling right at home in this multiplayer.

Mike Murphy

Before November 5, I was assassinating Templars in my attempt to catch up in the Assassin’s Creed series. Though I own Assassin’s Creed III, I’m behind and trying to get through AC Revelations. I was able to finish all the Desmond sequences, buy practically everything in Constantinople, and get to Sequence 5. Then some other game was released, and now owns my soul…

That game, of course, is Halo 4, and I. AM. HOOKED. Up until a few weeks ago I was incredibly skeptical of where 343 Industries was going to take the franchise, but it turns out that place is back to the promised land! I haven’t been able to play too much of the campaign as I’m going through it via co-op with two buddies, but what I’ve played is so far the best and prettiest one of them all. Multiplayer, something I have sank plenty of time into, has made just enough tweaks to keep in line with its competition, stay fresh, and still feel like Halo when I’m playing it. Ordinance drops, randomized power weapon spawns, and customizable loadouts are executed to perfection and are welcome additions. Call of Duty and Bobby Kotick take note. This is how you keep your big franchises thriving!


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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