Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 2

Penny Arcade is back on the, erm, Arcade with the second episode of “On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness” – a stand-alone sequel to Episode One.

Well, I say stand alone and, yes, it is. You can start from scratch at the beginning of this one. But it doesn’t really explain how you came to be living in a (soon to be flattened) tent next to your previously flattened house. Or why the opening cutscene shows Tycho and Gabe next to a truck full of fruit. So, yeah, stand alone it is… but, to be honest, you’re much better off having played the first game so that you start out a lot less bewildered!

If you have played the first game, and completed it, you can continue with the your character and stats from there. I have yet to finish the first game – due to a minor annoyance at the combat system (I have since resolved that issue with a smidge of levelling up) – so I started my character afresh. There are plenty of customisation options available to make your character looks how you want – sure, it’s not Oblivion or Fallout 3 in terms of customisation but you can get a pretty decent looking character with a minor amount of fiddling. You want to look right as you wield your garden implement of destruction, after all.

If you’ve played the first game, everything is pretty much the same. A definate case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, you’re still on the trail of the robot that destroyed your house but this time your investigations take you to a lunatic asylum where the creator of the robot is housed and the adventure continues from there. As with the first episode, it’s brilliantly funny in places and rude as hell in others. The dialogue is excellent – even the opening scene, where Tycho and Gabe are trying to re-recruit you to the cause is a masterpiece of comedy but you’ll only know that if you decline their offer to team up once more.

One of the major criticisms of the first installment was the combat. It was rock hard. There’s no two ways about it – more often than not the battles ended with your arse being handed to you on a plate. Episode Two starts off by asking you how you want the combat. This is a wise addition to the game – as another episode of hair-ripping, controller throwing combat wouldn’t be any fun. The combat is still turn based, and still has the “pull the left or right trigger to block” mechanic of the first episode – this was the bit that sucked. Blocking an attack was, at times, the hardest thing to pull of – second time around things seem to be a lot easier resulting in less frustration as a small fruit defiling robot urinates you to death.

Everything about this game is fun. From the little asides the characters will mutter when you talk to them, to the funny (and very clever) enemy attacks – the crazies in the asylum have a schizophrenic attack which splits them into two before they beat you, for example – the whole thing is a joy to play.

Now bring on Episode Three!







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