I still can’t believe it took me about 7 hours to finish this game. The first episode took me about 5 hours, but I finally finished the second episode for On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. That is a long title…sort of. The original saga was developed by Hothead Games before being picked up by Zeboyd Games I believe.
The game is based on the popular web-comic, Penny Arcade which is something I have never read. The second game was released four months after their first ever game.
I still find it a shame that the developers for the game stopped at the second game, the games were originally meant to be released as trilogy or possibly as a saga. I do not think the third and fourth episodes follow the story-line set up in the first two episodes. It would be awesome if it does since I am curious what the narrator is talking about. However, I highly doubt it does. I remember reading somewhere that they also changed the design of the game, from being a comic-book style to a more old-school RPG.
Playing the first episode of the game is not necessary as you can play the second episode as a standalone experience. However, the plot and few jokes in the game make more sense if you have played the first but it will explain most of the events of the first game for you. Now I admit, it has been a very very long time (read: 4 years) since I played the first episode so I do not necessary remember everything, so I may miss some differences and similarities between the two. I’ll try my best to remember them all. Like its predecessor, the game swaps between 3D animations and to comic-book style.
In episode 1 you had to fight murderous mines, fruit-obsessed
humping robots and an occasional trash can that wished to devour you. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, you also had to fight a god. Why? Well…you were out for revenge because a massive over-sized robot decided to smash your house into pieces.
In episode 2, you finally got your beloved house rebuilt and about to put the finish touch on your home when it gets destroyed again. Not by robots this time, but by your former allies in the first episode. So your mission for a new home begins yet again while helping them track down the mysterious giant robot from the first episode, as the boys have found a lead to the location of original creator of the robots. The game divides the story into cases for the player to close once they meet the case goals. Do not worry though as you will end up completing them all at the end.
The differences from the first game are mainly the weapons that Tycho, the book reading and gun wielding partner (also head/founder of the Startling Developments Detective Agency) swaps his tommy-gun for a shotgun, which is sort of cliché but we’ll ignore that. While you swap your fearsome garden rake (that has killed many a foe, and possibly a god) for a more terrifying garden hoe. As for the third partner of this crazy trio? Gabe? Well….he still punches things so nothing new.
Combat-wise, I think it is the same from the first game. You have more variety of support characters compared to the first game, they have various attacks that range from devastating or just allowing you to have enough time to perhaps heal or charge up for a special attack. However they only have one attack option and take several turns to charge up again if you do use them. I recommend saving them for either boss type battles or very long tedious battles. Basically waiting allows you to unlock different skills which goes from items > basic attack > special attack and finally if you wait long enough for a second or all three characters to charge their specials, you can do a tag-team attack.
The special attacks (individually, not tag-team) have a mini-game sequence which determines how powerful the attack will be, but it is dependent on your performance. If you miss, it will only do partial damage instead of full. The mini-game sequences are also unique for each character. Gabe will need you to press the “A/D” keys as they pass through the zone within a time limit, the more successful you are, the faster it will move. Your character just requires you to hit the space bar as an arrow passes over the green bar. The easiest out of the three in my opinion when executing special attacks. Tycho’s specials are probably the most devastating out of the three but since he has lower speed, he takes a longer time to charge up. His mini-game involves hitting targets with the WASD keys as the robots show up, but you need to also avoid hitting blanks and friendly targets.
The enemies have changed in the game. The robots now have upgraded AI systems and stronger counterparts making them a bigger challenge compared to the first. They have new combat skills as well. Enemies can now hide behind each other, making it harder to hit them. They can also either flee from battle or even join the battle even if you are already in mid-battle with another group of enemies. It helps keep the fight sequences interesting since the enemies in the game are a set number.
In this episode, I believe you have more areas to explore compared to the first and there are more things to do. In the first game, once you finished it; that was it. You could not do anything else. In the sequel, you are able to play the game once more on ‘insane mode’ which makes the game harder but allows you to get access to the chests that you could not open in normal mode. There is even concept art (12 in total) hidden throughout the game’s various levels which can be viewed later. The game also keeps track of statistics which will be shown to you at the end of the game, after the credits. Such as enemies killed, how many robot parts you found, concept art pieces found and many more. I am afraid to admit that I missed a lot of things.
As for voice-acting, only the narrator has a voice in the game. The characters are completely mute, leaving much of the dialogue in the game to be text which can sometimes be a bit long to read. However, the narrator still does an excellent job and definitely has a bigger presence in this game compared to the first. Having voice-actors for the various characters would be great though.
As for the negatives. Well the main one I had really was the mini-game that you had to do for the asylum case. While not difficult, it still took a bit of time to get through especially since it has 3 levels before you can finish it and continue onwards. The lack of voice-acting would be a second complaint but I don’t think they had any for the first game either minus the narrator. Third would be that trying to see the prompt for blocking enemy attacks was a little hard, especially during boss battles where I could not see the prompt at all. Another would probably regard the case about the petitions, not having any idea who I was talking to made the collecting signatures a little annoying. It ended up being a trial and error thing that took me way too long. Probably even longer than the brain mini-game if not about the same amount of time to complete it.
The best way is to view this game as a continuation of the first, or potentially as being the same game (just split into two parts). It continues on the story-line from the first with some improvements with the graphics and combat sequences. It adds more places for the player to explore as well new enemies to fight. The game keeps the humor from the predecessor the same, which is lots of sarcasm and profanity. The last boss fight was a little random, since while I suspected something along the same lines, I just wasn’t expecting….that particular scenario to play out. That final boss fight was really easy though, maybe I was just lucky. On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode Two is much longer compared to the first, while keeping the core elements of the game the same. With some improvements. Despite the very cheap price, I still found it enjoyable and think it was a great sequel to the first episode. It makes me wish that I could have found out how the third episode would have gone, especially with how much foreshadowing the ending cut-scene gave.