MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2009 (#40)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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166 MacDirectory REVIEW | GAMES PENNY ARCADE ADVENTURES > ON THE RAIN-SLICK PRECIPICE OF DARKNESS, EPISODE TWO BY HOTHEAD GAMES When the creators of the webcomic Penny Arcade teamed up with Hothead Games to develop and produce their first video game, expectations were mixed. Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain- slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One arrived to mostly positive reviews (we gave it 5 stars). Most reviewers seemed to agree that the game could use a few improvements. Well, the team took that criticism and applied it liberally to Episode Two, making the sequel even better than the original. First, one of the biggest gripes has been addressed: The loading time between environments is noticeably faster, by at least half. This has the effect of keeping immersion and helping you remember your objective for that environment. While not a flashy improvement, it's certainly a welcome one. Second, the action has picked up the pace considerably. Combat events are hairier, leaving scant time for over-long perusals of your response options, and there are more mini-bosses this time around. Additionally, there is a new feature: Insane Mode. Once you've completed the game in Normal, you can unlock Insane, which gives ene- mies greater health, and takes away the "Block" indicator that lets you know when to click the mouse for a counterattack. Your sidebar allies are still with you, notably Ann, who as her special attack calls down a projectile strike from an orbiting set of twin gatling guns that pretty much takes the opposing side out of the picture completely. Gone are T. Kemper and the Modded Fruit F$#@er, and in their place are Div, Mr. Tails, and Dr. Raven Darktalon Blood, all characters from various points in the webcomic. Your weapons still get upgrades via the collection of bolts from defeated Fruit F$#@ers and a visit to Ann in her stately home. It's important to remember, though, that with each upgrade, the number of overkills you'll need to max out your stats also increases concomitantly. It's worth the time to get every checkmark in there before moving on to each upgrade, so you'll derive the most benefit from each upgrade. During combat, enemies have picked up new behaviors, making combat less predictable than in the previous game. Sometimes a single opponent will leave the battle prematurely, only to group with another set of villains that are waiting just ahead. At times one of your enemies will jump in front of another, taking the brunt of your attack. Enemies are also quicker to take advantage of healing abilities, which can drag out a battle far longer than you'd expected. Sometimes the key to victory is assessing someone's particular weakness, as one might be more vulnerable to punches, and another might be weak against special attacks. Speaking of special attacks, the mini- games for each character have been changed. Gabe now has a "Dance Dance Revolution"-like rhythm game you must complete to pull off his special; Tycho features a particularly devious "Whack-a- Mole"-style mini; and your character's clock mini from the first game has been replaced by a metronome that bounces faster with each success in hitting the strike zones. As promised, your character's stats can be brought over from the previous game, making you mightier than a newly-created character right off the bat. You also have a few more options to customize the look of your character, but not nearly enough, in my opinion. With other smaller additions like new character outfits to find, new inventory items, and the return of unlockable artwork and music, OTRPOD: E2 is sure to please fans of the original game. If they continue to improve with each iteration, then I can't wait for Episode Three. WORDS BY KEONI CHAVEZ Product Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode Two Made by Hothead Games Price $14.95 downloadable Pros Loading times improved; New mini-games; Your character's stats carry over from first game Cons Still feels a little short Rating HHHHH

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