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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

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Penny Arcade Adventures Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Computer and Video Games recently published a new review of Hothead Games' Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode 1. Based on the characters from the Penny Arcade comic strip, the episodic adventure game allows players to create a character and step into an adventure with Tycho and Gabe. CVG gave the game a score of 7.8 out of 10.

Twelve-word review: the puzzles are fine, the dialogue is great and the combat tedious. The division of your playing time between those three exploits is roughly 40%-20%-40%, so the mathematics don't churn out an overwhelmingly favourable figure.

But cold calculations can't account for the nerdy glee of embarking on a pseudo-Lovecraftian adventure with that guy who likes dice and that guy who likes Pac-Man.
The webcomic is funny, three times a week, and has been since the beginning of time. It has also developed artistically from basic sketchings to a sumptuous and elegantly expressive strip. Moreover, it contains many swears.

These three powerful boons have survived the change to game-form mostly unmarred, since the artist and author of the strip are also the artist and author of the game. (Respectively, as seems only wise.) The reason for the word 'mostly' is Episode One's 3D character models. Most of the game is played in 3D, roaming stylised environs with the comic's heroes at your side, but the posse are pretty grotesque.

The game gets away with it, though, through a Machiavellian alignment of steep camera angles, oppressive gloom and voluminous hairstyles. It can't entirely conceal Gabe's plastic-toy face, Tycho's improbably bowed legs or Annarchy's doll-like rigidity, but it does prevent them becoming too problematic. The backdrops and 2D art used in conversations and cutscenes are splendid. Even the ingenious rendering of your own character is striking.
Follow the link below to read the rest of the review.

CVG: PAA Episode 1 Review
Hothead Games
Penny Arcade
Penny Arcade Adventures

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