Review | Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3
As a rule of thumb, I’m always leery when a game switches developers.
Sure, I know there have been good changes, but normally it ends up worse for all. However, I was a bit more optimistic than usual considering Zeboyd’s track record.
So, I’m happy to report that Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 is a great game. In fact, it may be my favorite in the series.
The game picks up where the second game left off. Dr. Blood still seeks the Necrowombicon, Tycho is still on the path to kill gods and Gabe just wants to hit stuff. Anne-Claire also makes an appearance early in the game and late in the game as well.
However, created players will no longer be part of the team. Instead, you have Jim, complete with his glass jar, and Moira, which is a great addition to the team. Moira is added in as Tycho’s former wife, complete with a grudge against him.
Another thing to note early on is the graphical change. The cartoonish style that Hothead Games had is gone, replaced with a pixelated style similar to Final Fantasy in its early years. In fact, there’s even a portion of the game that plays that up. The art style still looks great, though, and adds a bit of charm to the game.
Also added in is a new combat system. A bar at the top shows how quickly team members and enemies will get to attack, as well as when battle commands can be entered to prepare. Early on, it’s a simplistic bar that doesn’t really matter as you destroy enemies. Later on, though, it adds a huge level of depth and strategy that any RPG fan will love.
Another level gets added to the battle strategy with the addition of classes. Early on, you’ll run across two sets of “class pins” that add various classes you can equip, along with your original. You can eventually equip two class pins on top of your original class. Each class has strengths and weaknesses, such as the defense-minded Crabomancer class and speed-minded Cordwainer class. Other classes can plant gardens (Gardener), predict the future (Apocalypt) and more.
There’s no “absolute” mold that works for classes. While there are definitely some builds that work better than others, any character can use any class. However, for a heavy hitter like Gabe, you’ll quickly see that defense and offense will really help him over magic.
Finally, a thing to note is that characters get healed after each battle, and items are restored. You don’t actually find items you use in battle, you find upgrades that let you use the item more times during the fight.
Like previous titles, the humor is still abundant in the game. Banter between characters, while quiet, is great to read. In addition, the enemies will also cause you to raise some eyebrows, like mimes, hobos and even the Leviathan. The game also throws in plenty of homages to the comic series, like the Broodax, but knowledge of the series isn’t needed.
Between buildings, you’ll navigate the over-world on a fairly linear map. New locations will open up as plot points dictate. There are also places available to buy and sell weapons and accessories found in maps, as well as buy item upgrades.
The final thing to note about the game is something I didn’t notice until almost the end. There is a coliseum in the game that lets players take on various enemies. There are two rows of enemies there originally, although a difficult enemy spawns when killing them all for you to take on again and again to level classes. Hopefully, you’ll notice it quicker than I did, as I didn’t find it until the final chapter.