After like their first game, the creative minds behind Penny Arcade came up with a satisfying sequel in On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode Two. Chills, thrills, and overkills galore.
For the most part, this game does very well at following up on the story of the previous game, filling in the gaps on the nature of the Four Gods, the tragic history of the Brahe Family, and how the player character from the first game is coping with the ongoing loss of his house. There’s a lot more character development for Tycho, since Gabe is intentionally one-dimensional and fun-loving (though he gets a nice moment with a robot monkey named Mr. Tails). And there’s ultimately a deeper mythology being established, especially when Tycho and the chief villain get into the strange relationship between dark magic and machines.
As far as actual gameplay goes, it’s mostly on par with that of Episode One. One nice feature is that you can import your character from the first game, allowing him or her to continue leveling up and developing new attacks as you progress. By the final battle, Tycho, Gabe, and I had all hit the maximum at Level 30 and were bashing through our opponents with patient and persistent attacks. But it almost doesn’t matter when you come up against Fruit Fucker Prime, the final boss, whose gargantuan stature is almost nigh-impossible to comprehend, let alone take down. It mostly becomes an endurance contest until help can arrive, though if you’ve learned to be patient in building up your special and team-up attacks, you can ultimately triumph.
By far, my favorite part of the game–and it’s definitely one of the more creative and challenging parts–is a mini-game, wherein you’re dosed with mind-altering drugs at an insane asylum and get help from PA characters Twisp and Catsby to rewire your own brain through a puzzle of interlinking pathways. It’s unusual and daunting, but it’s a problem-solving delight set to a great piece of original music titled “A Madman and his Violin.”
I enjoyed this game about as much as I did the first one, though I know it’s not over yet. Stay tuned for my review of the third game, in which we take a blast to the past and reacquaint ourselves with MIDI-style music.
On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode Two is available for purchase and download through Steam. A recording of my favorite track, “A Madman and His Violin,” is available for listening on YouTube courtesy of the user Verothix.
Bibliography: Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode Two. Designed by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik. Developed by Hothead Games. Release date: October 29, 2008.