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Quick Review of Penny Arcade Game 68

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the wonder-how-they-would-rate-their-own-game dept.
Now that it has been in general circulation for a while, Kotaku has a nice simple review of the good, the bad, and the ugly in the new Penny Arcade game, On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. "When you've been making fun of the video game industry as long as Penny Arcade's Jerry 'Tycho' Holkins and Mike 'Gabe' Krahulik have been, deciding to create your own game is one ballsy move. You have to know that every review site you've ever trashed and every developer you've viciously sodomized with your barbed wit is watching your every move, desperate to see you stumble so they can get in a few licks."
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Quick Review of Penny Arcade Game

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  • I've been trying to decide whether to get this for the 360 or the PC...I do like that they've made it available on so many platforms, though. /fp?
    • Re:which to get (Score:4, Informative)

      by p0tat03 (985078) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:22PM (#23674501)
      I got it on 360, loved every moment of it, will probably replay it for achievements soon :) IMHO the 360 version is better, since all the commands are tied well into the various controller buttons, whereas the PC is entirely mouse-driven. Combat is a bit easier on 360 because of this.
    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      I strongly disliked the PC controls, personally. It was a basic JRPG interface with the added annoyance of having to mouse back and forth across the screen during combat sequences, instead of just tapping the D-pad to select items or enemies.

      There's a PC demo: grab it to see if the controls jive for you.

      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:39PM (#23674771) Journal
        There are at least two things to learn here:

        First, you can hold the mouse button down. I was ready to write the game off as pitifully annoying after having to click everywhere, but when held down, it's not really worse than any other movement -- probably better than keyboard arrows would have been, in fact.

        Second, I'm on Dvorak, so this isn't going to be a problem for many of us, but WASD is not in anywhere near a decent place to be able to use Tycho's combo. Looking at your standard QWERTY layout, my W is where your comma is; my S is your semicolon; my D, your H, and A is in the same place.

        The trick to this, of course, is that you are allowed to use the arrow keys instead. I feel stupid for having beat the game before I figured that out.
      • by Kr4u53 (955252)
        so it's like diablo 2 controls?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Skrapion (955066)
      It's worth noting that if you buy the PC version, you'll get to reinstall it on Windows, Linux or Mac. If you buy the 360 version, you're stuck on that platform.

      On the other hand, you can't increase your Gamerscore or collect achievements with the PC version >:)
      • Re:which to get (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vux984 (928602) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:50PM (#23674901)
        On the other hand, you can't increase your Gamerscore or collect achievements with the PC version >:)

        This 'gamerscore'... what is the point?

        The higher your score the more of a joke your life is? I've always thought people who cared about gamerscores were like forum rats who cared about their post count... as if being on top was something to be proud of.

        Or is there more to it? Can it actually get you anything?
        • Re:which to get (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jor-Al (1298017) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:51PM (#23674919)
          The great thing about the 360 isn't beating the games, it's showing everyone online that I did.
          • by Thoggins (1162149)
            Classic
          • by lorelorn (869271)
            Except you don't get to show off to "everyone online" only to those people in the same walled playground as you.

            And like you, those other people are ignoring all scores except their own, which they look at and grin, knowing themselves to be awesome.

            • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward
              WHOOOOOOOOOOOSH
          • Too bad gamerscore isn't a reflection of the games you beat but the extra silly tasks the developer makes you do. You may get points for finishing a game but more often than not you get points for doing things that have nothing to do with completion and often run contrary to actual play. All too often achieves are like "padding" where gaps in gameplay are made up be this other meta-game.

            I'm all for "meta-play" in games. Whatever a gamer wants to do in a single player game by themselves that entertains th
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by crenshawsgc (1228894)
          I'm not sure why you're so hostile to the idea of gamerscore. I've never payed attention to anything like that, but I can see how it might be fun. Perhaps the "point" is to enjoy competing with your friends in games which may not have a multiplayer element? It's not for me or you but the concept is essentially sound. Don't hate.
          • Re:which to get (Score:4, Insightful)

            by provigilman (1044114) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @05:30PM (#23675501) Homepage Journal
            It's also fun just for it's own sake. I don't "compete" with my friends, or even try to keep up with general leaderboards. Unlocking achievements is, however, a fun little extra in games, and gives you some thing to look back through after you beat (and/or sell) a game.

            With Oblivion, for example, I can look back over all the guild rankings I got and what not. Or in Mass Effect I can look back and see what abilities I unlocked. Or with Gears of War I can remember how hard it was to beat the Berserker on hard (plus, it's got an awesome name: "My love for you is like a truck...")

            They can also give you fun objectives to try for in games. There's a great one called "Pacifist" in Geometry Wars. You get it by surviving for 60 seconds without firing a shot...very hard, but also a lot of fun to try and get it. :D

            So, while you may find the competitive aspect of it stupid, there's plenty of other reasons that some of us enjoy racking up Gamerscore points and the associated achievements.

            • by vux984 (928602)
              It's also fun just for it's own sake. I don't "compete" with my friends, or even try to keep up with general leaderboards. Unlocking achievements is, however, a fun little extra in games, and gives you some thing to look back through after you beat (and/or sell) a game.

              You'll note I didn't ask about 'unlockables' or 'acheivments'. I get those. Hell I even get online leaderboards and ladder tournaments and so on. They exist in practically every game on every system.

              But that has really nothing to do with 'gam
          • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

            by vux984 (928602)
            Perhaps the "point" is to enjoy competing with your friends in games which may not have a multiplayer element?

            Er... that's what a 'high score' is or even the online leaderboards, and ladder tournaments, for a given game. I 'get' those. I've even competed in games at that level.

            But a "Gamerscore" is an aggregate score across all your 'achievements' in all your games... well all your xbox 360 games anyway.

            So if I'm 'competing' with my friends for 'gamerscore', the guy who rents a lot of stupid/terrible/easy
        • by Bryansix (761547)
          I love it when gamers say that gamers who game a lot are losers. They usually say this while they are gaming. The Irony kills me!
        • by Gulthek (12570)
          I can get me (or more often my brothers) bragging rights for doing something crazy, difficult, awesome, silly etc. in the game.

          Also since achivements are usually given at major game points, we can all see how much we've all respectively completed.
      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by Danse (1026)

        On the other hand, you can't increase your Gamerscore or collect achievements with the PC version >:)
        I still fail to understand the appeal of the Gamerscore. Why do people care about it? What does it mean to you?
    • Re:which to get (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mr2001 (90979) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @07:08PM (#23676561) Homepage Journal
      If you don't have an HDTV, don't get the 360 version. It's letterboxed on 4:3 and the text is nearly unreadable (there's a zoom setting, but it doesn't help much).
  • The Review (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jack9 (11421) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:20PM (#23674481)
    Decent review. A little harsh on the environments, given the engine. Still nothing about the crappy writing given there was so little of it.

    see my review (after finishing the game): http://forum.playgreenhouse.com/jforum/posts/list/424.page#2684 [playgreenhouse.com]

    see my previous vapid comment: http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=566489&cid=23577559 [slashdot.org]

    //for some reason criticizing PA writing always garners troll mods
    • My Review (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:30PM (#23674647)
      this game sucks and anyone who likes it sucks. penny arcade sucks and is as funny as something that's not funny at all.

      ddf
    • Re:The Review (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:32PM (#23674687) Journal
      From your review:

      Fruit Fuckers are over-represented. Why did they keep coming up after you wiped out the source?
      I think this was mostly for the collection aspect. Where else are you going to get parts? Not an excuse, just an observation.

      As my roommate asked, why is Tycho ALWAYS reading a book?
      That seems realistic, and part of the humor. Tycho is, in fact, always reading a book. [penny-arcade.com]

      The toilet humor.
      Fair enough. I don't think there's disproportionately more in the game than in the comic, though.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        Toilet Humor.
        Totally unexpected in a Penny Arcade game~

        That guys reviews are really example of how he missed the point.
        • by Jack9 (11421)

          Totally unexpected in a Penny Arcade game

          Not totally unexpected. Where did you get that from? And what was the point anyways, that they let Gabe do all the art and much of the dialog because we should expect PA to be weak in one area and not the other like usual? Oh wait, that's probably not THE point, 'cause that would make sense. I suspect, you missed the point.
    • Re:The Review (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:38PM (#23674755) Journal
      The engine made me realise how impressive Grim Fandango was, with better visuals running on a machine a tenth of the power. The humour was predictable and only occasionally made me actually laugh in the demo, while the gameplay managed to feel tedious in places in spite of the short duration of the demo (and certainly didn't make me want to pay for the full thing).

      When you compare it to something like Monkey Island, or Grim Fandango, or even most of the Space Quest series, it didn't come up to anything like the same standard.

      • I played through Grim Fandango, and recently finished the PA game. Frankly I think the Penny Arcade series has the potential, after all four episodes, to be just as good.

        They are also different styles of games, the PA game being a mix of adventure/RPG with the other games you mentioned (I think) being pure adventure, making the mix harder to judge.

        I really liked the combat dynamics, and the mix of RPG/adventure felt about right to me - but they will also be playing with that in future episodes, the next on
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Danse (1026)

      Decent review. A little harsh on the environments, given the engine. Still nothing about the crappy writing given there was so little of it.
      I thought the writing was pretty well on par with the comic. If you like the writing in the comic, you'd most likely enjoy the writing in the game too. I did. Plenty of people don't like the comic writing either though, so to each his own. I don't think those people should buy the game. For $20 it was a pretty fun game.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Danny Rathjens (8471)
      //for some reason criticizing PA writing always garners troll mods

      Or maybe these whiny little preemptive attempts to influence the mods have the reverse effect. Personally, I tend to skip over posts that starts with any mention of moderation whether I have mod points or not.
      • by Jack9 (11421)

        Or maybe these whiny little preemptive attempts to influence the mods have the reverse effect.

        Or maybe it's an accurate observation.

            30% Interesting
            40% Troll
            30% Underrated

        Regardless of it being opinion and partially informative and on topic, troll mods because it criticizes PA's child.
        • And your total score is 4 now. The system is working fine. Don't pay so much attention to individual moderations and just look at the end result. That's the way the system is supposed to work. (And we should self-mod by removing our karma bonus from posts like this. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TrekkieGod (627867)

      see my review (after finishing the game): http://forum.playgreenhouse.com/jforum/posts/list/424.page#2684 [playgreenhouse.com]

      I thought your review was pretty interesting. It does highlight that the game attracted gamers of really different tastes. As a result, everyone liked some aspects of it, and were displeased by others.

      Personally, I loved the story and the writing. I see you had issues with a lot of the humor, ("shit...as in poop?"), but that's pretty classic Penny-Arcade style humor. Especially for Gabe dialog. So, at least, it was expected. I'm not saying you're wrong, it's just a matter of taste and it's perfect

  • by morari (1080535) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:21PM (#23674497) Journal
    Outside of a few shining moments of wit in the writing, the game offers nothing in the way of real fun. It's sad, and at the same time very surprising. You'd think that after making fun of bad games for years, the Penny Arcade guys would know how to avoid developing one themselves.
  • by mbourgon (186257) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:22PM (#23674519) Homepage
    My wife & I just finished it last night (she helps with the planning, I click things and go "shiny!").

    It's a Japanese-style RPG (I played final fantasy for 15 minutes and got frustrated with it), with some adventure elements and a wicked sense of humor (the Lucasarts guy who worked on it did a fantastic job). So there's the "how and where do I go to make hobo meat edible" adventure-quest element, the fights are all JRPG (which works out pretty well, though I'm sure others can do more with it and still others were turned off by the whole thing), and then there's the dialogue and writing, which are top notch. I have no idea what the requirements are supposed to be, but on my Athlon (single core from about 2 years ago) 3400 with a Geforce GT7600, framerates were great - the stylized "comic-book look" works well here (duh?).

    Well worth the $20. We've been playing it for an hour or so a night since it came out, and just finished it.
    • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @04:46PM (#23674869)

      So there's the "how and where do I go to make hobo meat edible" adventure-quest element...
      I think it might be worth buying just to see how that plays out...
      • It was... disturbing. Typical PA to the core though. I really did enjoy the game, but I don't think it was worth $20. Considering that there are four episodes, I would be much happier paying $10-15 per or $50 for the complete series.
    • I agree. I'm no real gamer (I just gave up nwn, which was released in 2001) but I thought this one was worth the $20. I didn't even mind the combat system which my previous experiences with that type of combat on consoles at friends houses left me dissatisfied (just not my thing). I liked how you had to plan your attacks and timing for various characters vs. certain NPCs. At the same time though, it wasn't so complicated that I felt overwhelmed. In other words, for a casual gamer like me, it was just t
    • by geekoid (135745)
      "It's a Japanese-style RPG "
      Yes, there certianly wasn't any games like that before Anime was mainstream~

      Day of the tentacle was like that, and IT wasn't new to that style.

      Planning? planning!? What Planning? It's a great game, but you don't need to be a super genius to do it. I mean, I'm glad you and your wife are enjoying it, but come on.
  • by nomadic (141991)
    I like what they did with it, they've managed to retain the humor of the comic strip (especially the dialogue and the facial expressions). Wish it was a lot less console RPGish and a lot more sandboxy, though. I won't complain for $20 though, though if it had been $40 I would complain.
  • I grabbed the demo off of XBLA a few days ago and decided I'd buy the full thing, due to a combination of intrigue and boredom. I felt it was tedious at first...

    And then I stopped raiding every trash can and mailbox in sight, and started actually playing the game =P

    The gameplay was fun, albeit a little predictable and linear, but it was interesting enough to keep me occupied. My only real complaint about it is the item balance. I think it'd be fairly easy to go through the entire game only using attac
  • I thought the game was great as far as RPGs go. I am a fan of the comic but I would have liked the game even without that element. To me it brought the best parts together of a forgotten genre. It felt like it vamped a lot on the mechanics of the paper mario series (which IMHO is one of the best RPG series ever) while adding in just enough of the real time elements along the lines of what silicon knights did with KOTOR. Im a dinosour by gaming standards which might be why I am not jiving with the rest of th
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Anyone can gripe about what makes a game good or bad, but who is going to listen?

    Aren't there enough "surprise, you're NOT at the end and you have 2 more boss fights to go with NO chance to save" games out there?

    You'd think Capcom would learn, but not only does Mega Man not overcome this, it makes its way to Zack and Wiki.

    There's a tendency to auto-dismiss the opinions of the consumers, after all, if they knew what they were talking about, they would be showing their point instead of speaking it, putting th
  • A missed item from the "Hated" column:

    Yet another PC game with depressing BioShock style product activation. Sounds like a cool game, a shame I'll have to skip it.
    • The guy from Twenty Sided has a post up which talks about some of the distinctions between their DRM and the stuff from other companies:

      http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1677

      It's worth reading, although I'd be curious to know if anyone has actually tried installing it more than 3 times? If I have to call them to get them to add more activations to my account (which is what the guys from Hot Head were saying in their own forum IIRC, can't find the link right now), then I'm not interested.
  • It looked promising, until I discovered that there was no way to change the refresh rate in fullscreen mode. 60 Hz sucks on a CRT, and it's bad form to relase a game that doesn't have such controls.

    So, I decided to give up and play it in a window, which means lower performance. It also means that as soon as I try to clean the yard (the first task), my mouse cursor disappears, and never re-appears.

    I uninstalled the demo and didn't look back. That's a real show-stopper bug for me.
  • I'm a bit baffled by the occasional negative review. As a game, it's a slim but cleverly implemented JRPG sped up to the point of nearing the action genre. It's fun and does the job well, and the game is short enough that I can't imagine anyone managing to tire of it before the credits roll. The environments are pretty and amusingly constructed, and the writing - well, it's simple: if you don't enjoy PA, you won't enjoy the game.

    I guess the best argument I can make in its favor is that once I'd started p

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