Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode Two review
Penny Arcade: The RPG Episode 2 - ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
When you have a hit on your hands, a sequel is inevitable, especially if they're planned, and especially in these *bleep*ing episodic packages! This is one of those sequels that may improve on some parts here and there, but if you didn't like the first game, the sequel isn't going to win you over either. I apologize if parts of this review seem like they were copied and pasted from the review of the first episode, but... they're almost practically the same game! Sure, there are differences, but not a whole lot, so if you hate rehashes, don't bother with this, but if you want to continue the story, this is something you've probably already bought and therefore, unless you're curious as to what may have changed, this review is kind of useless...
Before I start talking about the game, I should tell you that if you've finished Episode 1, you can transfer your character from that game into this one. It's a good idea to actually finish it in order to get yourself into the right mindset for this game. Not that you have to, but you'll miss a few things here and there by not doing so. Now with that out of the way, let's get going!
Story: After the events of the first episode, you'll still have to chase the giant robot who destroyed your home. That's basically what the story amounts to – that what you had to do in the first episode! However, there's less exposition and more forward momentum as you'll just be finding out shit about the robot, and believe me when I say that there's more than meets the eye... and perhaps if you had finished the first episode, you'll figure it out. Possibly because of this direction, the jokes are more consistent. The first episode's streak of hilarity may have been good, but you have to admit that there were a few bad jokes in there, too; not the case here. Basically, expect a barrage of non stop laughs here, which ought to make up for the fact that the story, once again, isn't anything special.
Gameplay: If you thought the story was rehashed, then you'll just hate the gameplay, because it's practically the same thing as what you experienced in Episode 1! Having said that, it feels like it's been refined somewhat. Oh no, not in the adventuring department – adventuring is still pretty lame. Fetch this for that guy is the name of the game. Not to mention, during the first half of the game, you'll find yourself having to backtrack constantly. It ends up becoming a massive chore, though thankfully, there's less of it in the second half... but until then, just grab a beer and be patient.
But never fear, for the combat is still quite entertaining! It's still fast paced and straightforward enough to be addicting without it feeling too simple. Once again, you'll be limited to using regular attacks, special attacks and items, and it's all sort of in real time... just that when you select a command, you'll have to wait for bars to fill up before you can attack again.
Thankfully, the interactive portions come back, as you'll have to press certain keys to initiate special attacks and space to block. This time around, the actions required to activate the special attacks require timing, and they can get pretty damn frantic when you're using a stronger special attack. It's things like this that prevents battling from getting boring when you have to do a lot of it, because there's more to do than just press X and watch them attack.
Replay Value: There isn't much you can replay, unless you feel like playing it again. The only problem with that is that the jokes aren't as funny the second time, which means its appeal lessens and lessens. There are achievements, which aren't quite as tedious thankfully... but they shouldn't take too long to complete. Meh.
Controls: When you're in battle, it's as simple as clicking on the action you want, while pressing space to block when you're about to be attacked. It's all very simple and easy to get the hang of. As for adventuring, well, it's point and click as I may have mentioned, so obviously, you'll be clicking to navigate your character. Again, very simple, but it manages to work out.
Graphics: As far as the graphics are concerned, both sections get ticks. The 3D graphics have that cartoony look, which is suitable given the license. Sure, it may look a little like it was meant for the PS2 or Gamecube, but again, it really suits. There isn't a huge variety in the environments, but I'll forgive that, because each of the environments look fantastic. There's quite a lot of detail without it looking realistic, keeping that cartoon vibe. Then there are the 2D graphics, which retains the look of the webcomic. There are more 2D animations in this game, which is a good thing because they were actually pretty slick, with some fluid animation and whatnot. Unfortunately, the way that a fair amount of cutscenes are presented is still a problem. Having them presented as comic strips is a great idea because it'll remind you of the look and feel of the webcomics, but it feels like THEY could've taken up most of (if not all of) the screen, and not the in-game graphics. Perhaps it's because the 3D graphics aren't quite as good as the 2D graphics.
Audio: Unfortunately, the audio is something that could've been better. The soundtrack sounds good, but nothing remarkable or anything worth a damn. Oh, and the instances where carnival music plays... just no. I understand that it may have been put in for humorous purposes, but... just no. Now, the voice acting is barely existent... which is unfortunate, because what voice acting there was, was pretty good. The narrator does a good job of keeping your attention, but then he stops existing after the first third of the game.
Overall: The second episode of On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness proves to be a pretty good sequel. It's more humorous than the first, and there's more instances of 2D animation Sadly, it just fails where all episodic content fails – feeling like all of the episodes are meant to be together instead of separate, and not feeling like it's finished, right down to the fact that there won't be a third or fourth episode. Good going, guys.
Replay Value: 4/10
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