Should I Buy? – Penny Arcade: On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness Episode 2

Now I really did mean to get round to this sooner, but better late than never. For those of you who don’t know, Penny Arcade are a real web success story. From a webcomic started as a hobby by Mike and Jerry, it’s the biggest on the web. It has its own charity, its own merchandise, two annual conventions and have branched out into other ventures like a new comic, the Trenches, hosting shows like Checkpoint & Extra Credits on PATV even its own games.

On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness was intended to be an episodic four game story, but the developer moved on to something else after the second game had disappointing sales. Let me assure you, that’s not because its’ a bad game. If anything, it’s better than the original. And luckily, Zeboyd Games are picking up the series! Yay for them. I like you now, Zeboyd games. Well OK, I liked you for making Cthulhu Saves the World, but now you get extra cool points.

Episode 2 continues the story of the first, with Tycho and Gabe still investigating the strange goings on of New Arcadia and once again drawing your custom character into the fray. Like Puzzle Agent and its sequel, this follow up works better overall despite being mechanically very similar because it has a tighter narrative than makes your actions feel weightier.

The gameplay is unchanged from the first (what ain’t broke), it’s still the limited yet fun JRPG type stuff. In a nice touch, you start the game at the first’s max level instead of being reset to level one. In response, the enemies are toughened up to match, but it’s only really cosmetic as you weapons and special skills have gone down to to their baseline.

At least the game has a reason for not using your kickass old weapons, so all is forgiven.

While the first game focused on hobos and mimes, here its the absurdly rich and the mad that get your grizzly attention. It’s nice to see the plot picking up the dangling threads from the last game and beginning to build itself a mythology. Though there’s still a really rather limited amount of environments, they tend to flow together better.

Again, the comic’s legendary humour is omnipresent, and Jerry’s writing style is well suited to the macabre, the occult and the dark humour. Fans of the comic will be pleased to see Dr Darktalon Raven Blood, Divx & Charles the Apple fanboy joining the cast under varying guises.

I really enjoyed the time I had with both games, and I really can’t wait for Zeboyd to deliver the third. I heartily recommend this game to everyone. And buy the first one too.

Actually, this week I’ve only reviewed sequels. I guess that makes it a ‘weequel’.

OK If Penny Arcade had done that joke they totally would have gotten away with it. Stupid Penny Arcade, with their money, success, talent, money, talent, respect, talent and money…

Price: (Steam) £8.99 – Combo Pack
(XBLA) 800 Microsoft Points


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