Saturday, April 21, 2012

PAX East 2012: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3

Just outside the Mega Indie Booth at PAX East stood a large booth demonstrating one of the show's highlight debuts: the third game in Penny-Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness.  Following Hothead Games' first two adventures, many thought a third entry in the series would never arise, but thanks to a forum topic bringing up the idea to take it to Zeboyd, the project has reemerged.  We got to speak with both Robert Boyd and Bill Stiernberg, the entirety of Zeboyd Games, about the project, and we also got to try it out for ourselves. [Check after the break for impressions and a gameplay video!]

Penny-Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 continues the exploits of Tycho Brahe and Johnathon Gabriel, the two behind the Startling Developments Detective Agency.  It is up to them to stop what threatens New Arcadia and the rest of the world, and this game starts off with an eerily silent yet intense phone call.  To what does this call lead our heroes?  What monsters from the other realms will they encounter?  What fences will be punched?  We will find out when we get a full look at the game's story.

Precipice of Darkness 3 is a twist from the previous two games, but the humorous writing and Lovecraftian world remains.  Under Zeboyd Games, Episode 3 follows the tropes of older RPGs such as Final Fantasy games on the Super Nintendo.  Everything appears to be from that older era, but at the same time, some liberty has been made to keep the graphics looking old while going beyond what an older game system might be able to handle.  Even the music sounds like it is coming from an older game system.  It is a great callback on the older years of RPGs, much like Zeboyd Games' previous titles: Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World.

In the demo, we got to travel through the game's main map and into a monster-infested pier.  Rather than having an expansive open world to travel through, the game's main map follows a fixed path, along which are landmarks to specific locations, such as the aforementioned pier and the protagonist's home base.  Whether this means the game will be more linear or not, I am not sure, but considering the game has a definite story built within it, I would not hold it against the game.  Meanwhile, while on location, monsters are seen visibly on-screen, allowing players to choose when to battle and when to steer clear.  When a battle is actually initiated, the game plays similar to an older RPG with elements of Grandia.  On the top of each battle screen is a timeline showing who is going to fight next.  When it comes to abilities, most appear to be similar to that of older RPGs, save the Duplicator, which provides all of the items which can be used in a single battle. No more stockpiling of potions!  Also, monsters become increasingly powerful during a match, so there is no time to dilly-dally!

The game demo did not have too much to it, but we did have fun playing it for the time we did.  Here's hoping it continues to deliver the fun when we get to see it later this summer.  Penny-Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 is set to debut on PC, Mac, Xbox Live Indie Games, iOS products, and Android.

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