Pro Tip: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1

This week I’ve been playing a lot of Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1. Its title alone warrants downloading at least the demo.

I absolutely love this game. A sentence I did not think I was ever going to say or write in conjunction with PAA: OTRSPOD as I am not a fan of any turn-based genre. I have tried a few Japanese RPGs including Final Fantasy VII, and I just can’t do it. I can’t stand the combat. I don’t like waiting my turn while someone smacks me in the face.

Somehow Penny Arcade and the team at Hothead games have created some kind of mutant game. During the exploration it feels very much like a point-and-click adventure, and if you’re playing it on the PC, Mac, or Linux, it actually is a point and click adventure (I’m playing it on my 360 because I’m a sucker for achievements). There are no random encounters; you can see, and avoid if you must, all your enemies before you fight them. A fantastic inclusion when you are exploring a new location.

That stuff is all well and good, but the mutant part comes when we start talking about combat. At its base it plays very much like a JRPG, but they included a fantastic blocking mechanic that makes me enjoy the game a thousand fold. And that leads into why we are here.

Pro Tip: Block when the enemies health meter flashes white, it will save your life.

I don’t believe proper blocking is ever taught in the game, and that is why I share it with you. If it is there I don’t remember seeing it. I discovered this through trial and error after dying a whole lot in the second level.

On the 360 version you pull either of the trigger buttons. I usually pull both for some reason. You can time out your trigger pulls based on the animation but when you see that meter go white you have to be ready. There are a couple of different stages of blocking, and I think that’s what’s most intriguing.

There is the partial block, where the enemy does a decent amount of damage, but it’s less than what it would have been; the actual block, where the enemy does very little damage and you can congratulate yourself on a nearly perfect block; and finally the counter attack. This is what keeps me interested in playing.

If you perfectly execute a trigger pull (or whatever it is on the keyboard) you take no damage from enemies and actually counter attack, laying a basic attack on the enemy while still allowing you to attack on your turn.

By giving the player this sort of metagame within the game I am never waiting around for my turn but constantly managing my characters. It’s kind of similar to an RTS in that respect. I have never played a game that controls the way this one does.

I recommend everyone pick it up. I’m probably seven hours in and it feels like it’s nearing its end. That’s more gameplay than some retail games, and this one only costs 20 bucks.

[Creighton DeSimone]


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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