Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Penny Arcade Adventures

Episode one of the Penny Arcade Adventures entitled: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness has finally been released and I got a chance to play a bit of it. For those of you who don't know, Penny Arcade is a web comic that has new comics every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The comic is mostly about gaming with a few other things thrown in on occasion. It was created by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik. Jerry does the writing and Mike does the art work. They are both very talented in what they do and have a razor sharp wit when discussing games and the gaming community. I guess one day they must have decided to put their money where their mouth's are, so-to-speak and make a game. I am sure the long title was Jerry's idea. I will refer to it as PAA:ORSPD from now on for brevity's sake.

The game itself is a mix of genres, but predominately an RPG/Adventure game. They say you should write about what you know. I guess the same holds true for making video games. Those two genres seem to be favorites of the two gentleman at Penny Arcade. PAA:ORSPD starts off in the town of New Arcadia in the 1920s. You are outside of your house when a giant Fruit Fucker comes by and demolishes it. The rest of the adventure is about you getting revenge and meeting up with Gabe and Tycho the alter egos of Mike and Jerry in Penny Arcade. If you are a fan of the comic and their humor you are in for a treat. The game has one of the funniest support characters I have ever seen. I won't spoil it for you.

I haven't finished PAA:ORSPD yet so I can't give a full review, but I will give you some of my impressions. First of all, the character creation is nice and you can make many different types of character looks. There are no stats to distribute or classes of any nature, but the look of your avatar can be wildly different from someone else's. Moving around the screen is done by pointing and clicking where you want to go and there is a nice map system to get around quickly. Combat is much like many console RPGs with the addition of some mini-games to use special moves. So far I have run into monsters like the aforementioned Fruit Fuckers, Mimes (they are really funny), and Hobos. The combat itself varies a bit depending upon which system you purchased the game on. The PC version is a bit more RTS-like and the Xbox 360 is akin to most console RPGs as you can imagine it would be.

PAA:ORSPD has a really great Penny Arcade vibe to it and is really funny. So far it's a nice break from the kinds of games I have been playing. I don't know how long it will take me to finish it (perhaps this one will be the first one I finish since I made The Pledge). I have heard it takes about six hours to complete. It's the first in an episodic series so if you like it, you can rest assured that there is more on the way. I initially purchased it for the PC, but having heard that the Xbox 360 version is more like a console RPG, I tried the demo out. I ended up buying it on the 360 too and I will play the series there. I wish I had known that there was a difference in play between the two. Oh well, I consider the twenty bucks spent a good way of supporting Mike and Jerry and a small amount of thanks for their great comic which I have read religiously (by lighting candles and everything) for a few years now. There are demos for both the PC version and for the Xbox 360. If you are a fan at all of the series, I suggest you check it out. A small bonus: the demo includes the support character I was talking about. Oh and one small tip... Don't forget the block button if you play it. You can save yourself a lot of frustration that way.

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