by Erik Johnsen
Returning for more robot smashing fun are Gabe, Tycho and you in Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode Two. Expanding their search for the giant robot terrorizing New Arcadia (and smashing your house), the duo return to your home (now a tent) to recruit you on a new lead in the hunt for the evil walking trash can that has an unhealthy attraction to fruit. Importing your character from the first game is a major plus in keeping the continuity of the first story in line with the second.
Brand new villains and locations await you in this installment of Penny Arcade. Featuring a longer story, your quest takes you through a Psychiatric Hospital, a Science Convention, the rich part of town and even the Fair. Armed with different weapons this time around, and all-new power attacks, you’ll battle your way through hospital orderlies and patients, snobs and young lovers, ticket collectors, and the familiar thrusting mini robots.
This episode of the game series has some additional features that improve your experience. In the Startling Developments office you’ll find a new ‘outfits’ options that give you different benefits such as more max hit points. You’ll also be able to check your ‘Stats’ of the game as you go along in addition to the inventory, map, and D20 sitting on the desk. Also, if you never bothered with it, play with the D20 die and see what happens when you roll a natural 20.
Two excellent improvements to the second episode over the first are the difficulty levels option, including an “Insane” mode once you complete the game once on any difficulty. Insane mode has extra unlockables in chests that you’ll see throughout the game on your first play through that you can’t open yet.
The other is the ability to cycle through things to look at or destroy using the LB/RB in the world. In the first episode you had to move to it, and hope the bubble would show up for you to select that action. This was another key plus in the new game.
On the downside, the storyline does bog down a lot in the middle. In their effort to made the game last longer and make the story more ‘meaty,’ they sort of forgot the meat and you spend a lot of time moving back and forth between the different locations to do one little objective and then back to another, which induces a lot of loading times.
Another little annoyance is Gabe and Tycho’s inability to find their way to you if they get stuck around a railing, table, etc. and they just run in place until you move into their range so that they can go around their obstacle or if you move to another panel.
The fighting is basically the same in this rendition as the first. Since different weapons are in this game, the animations have been updated a slight bit, and the advanced attacks are fairly fun to pull off, but even the third level attacks aren’t all that difficult to accomplish. It took me almost no time at all to fill up the overkill bar. I also noticed that throughout much of the game it was next to pointless to use regular attacks (unless the enemy was ‘weak vs.’ those attacks), and that it was better to just spend the extra little time to charge up to the special attacks.
On the whole I would recommend this game to fans of Penny Arcade, or those who played the first game and enjoyed it. The story is somewhat self-contained for new players who didn’t play the first one, but several bits and pieces from the first one don’t carry over which detracts from the gameplay experience. It’s a good turn based RPG that won’t take up all aspects of your life, but instead is a good casual ride.
In the end, I felt this was quite satisfying. It brought a good conclusion to the first half of the story while at the same time opening up what appears to be another story arc of the game for the forthcoming Episode 3 in the series.
Biting, over-the-top, and sometimes crude humor delivered exceptionally well.
Importing of your character from first game.
A LOT of double-backing for a short game.
‘Rinse and repeat’ style of fighting with little variety of enemies.
Married Gamers Report Card: B
(8.0 out of 10)