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Written by  :  Brandon Tabbert (19)
Written on  :  Jun 30, 2008
Platform  :  Xbox 360
Rating  :  4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars

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This is a game made by the guys at Penny Arcade for the fans of Penny Arcade, and it delivers amazingly.

The Good

For those without background knowledge of Penny Arcade: shame on you. Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik have been enhancing the lives of gamers and the gaming industry for almost ten years. By creating the Penny Arcade comic featuring their alter egos, Tycho and Gabe, Jerry and Mike have brought both laughter and awareness to the community that we all call home. If you’re one of the millions that know and love Penny Arcade, this game is as close as you will get to living it.

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness starts by allowing the player to create a custom character from a decent handful of options, and dropping the gamer into “New Arcadia” in 1922. Classic gangster times. In a game involving tommy guns, fruit fuckers, and evil, the first mission is to rake your lawn. A fruit fucker, for those uninformed, is a possessed juicing robot, pictured below. After a giant fruit fucker crushes the player’s home (not house), the player embarks on a journey that includes partnering with the 1922 versions of Gabe and Tycho, mercilessly murdering mimes, tracking the giant robot, and having a grand old time.

Rain-Slick is an anomaly in gaming: a blend of RPG and adventure genres. The gameplay is very sound and provides enough action commands to maintain a reasonable level of activity during battles. Players are able to pull the right trigger immediately before an enemy attack to partially block, fully block, or counter-attack. To assault your mime, hobo, and robot enemies, there are both standard and special attacks. The special attacks involve a mini-game of sorts, differing for each character. Tycho’s involve a button mimicking sequence, Gabe’s is a button repetition (smashing the A-button as many times as possible in 10 seconds and then once more in a small window), and the player character’s special attack is completed by timing button presses with open windows in a rotating circle. The combat system is well-executed and doesn’t get overly stale at any point.

Outside of the battles, however, is where the game truly shines. The story is, without a doubt, interesting enough to never tire of while playing. It is hilarious. Period. The dialogue might be the funniest of any game in the last year and the narrator’s early role is incredibly well-voiced and will excite the player to seek rake vengeance more than any game in the history of games. Unfortunately, the narrator doesn’t have much work to do after the first act, as there are numerous times throughout the game that he would have been welcomed with open arms and ears.

Visually, Rain-Slick is quite impressive. The 3D, cell-shaded work is as good as, if not better than, The Simpsons Game. Cutscenes throughout the game are impeccable replicas of Mike Krahulik’s 2D art style from the comic, and anyone that is a fan of the comic’s art will be pleased with the game’s look.

The Bad

The only faults, if they can be called that, are the length and cost of the game. Running between five and ten hours, the first episode of the game is a bit shorter than most would like for a $20 arcade game.

The Bottom Line

Presentation: Interesting, panel-style, but limited (4) areas to explore. Excellent interface and easy-to-learn main menu.

Gameplay: Good combat mechanics and activity to keep battles interesting. Surprising amount of interactive objects in the environments.

Graphics/Sound: Beautifully translated visuals from the comic on the cutscene and conversation fronts. Top-notch cell-shading work. Great narration, but not enough audio.

Value Factor: Five to ten gameplay hours. Only valid for 2-3 completions and another run-through when new episodes are released. Downloadable content is rumored. $20 or 1600 MSP.