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Monday, November 10, 2008

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

GameSpy has posted a new reivew of Hothead Games' Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode Two. In the latest chapter in the series players rejoin Gabe and Tycho in a quest that moves ever closer to solving the mystery in the heart of New Arcadia. GameSpy gave Episode 2 a score of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

From the review:

The good news with Episode 2 is that the basic gameplay remains fun. The combat system is a quick-and-dirty version of the real-time battle system popularized in JRPGs such as the Final Fantasy series. Every party member has three separate types of actions ("Use Items," "Basic Attack" and a mini-game-triggered "Special Attack") that charge up in that order. Once an action goes live, the player can order that character to perform that action. Players can also call in subsidiary characters for mega-attacks and block enemy attacks by pressing a button at just the right moment. The system's even been enhanced a bit by having the word "block" pop up on an enemy's lifebar to help players learn proper timing.

Unfortunately, many of the actual enemies the player will be fighting this time around are simply not as much fun. The enjoyable process of slaughtering mimes and hobos in the last episode is replaced with rich jackasses, annoyingly cute couples and starved and abused lunatics. While the first two could certainly use a good smacking (which was doubtlessly why they were included in the game), the powers they're given don't carry nearly the comedic heft of a battle with a mime throwing an invisible boulder. The pathetically abused residents of a sinister insane asylum seem more designed to induce guilt than pleasure when killing them, making every fight against them a chore. There are some happy exceptions, of course. A bunch of giant spiders that seem to have wandered over from another genre are a hoot, and there's a hilarious boss battle between the player's character and the biggest "wimpy boss" ever.

The game's art design is similarly hit-and-miss. Hobo Alley from Episode 1 returns, having been gentrified into Riverbrook Park Estates. This is a hilarious send-up of tony town districts with the kind of amenities that one might believe the real residents of a place like Beverly Hills would have if they thought they could get away with it. Other areas such as the Cloying Odor Sanitarium and the Symposium on the Future of Man are mostly open areas without a lot of visual interest or amusing commentary in the descriptions. Even worse, the player will be seeing a lot of these places multiple times, as the gameplay now forces a lot of unnecessary trudging back and forth in order to move the story along.
Visit the site below to read the full review.

GameSpy: PAA Episode 2 Review
Hothead Games
Penny Arcade
Penny Arcade Adventures

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