|System: X360 (XBLA), PC, MAC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hothead Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Hothead Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 29, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The crux of Episode 2s gameplay is largely unchanged. Its point-and-click exploration aspect have some very minor puzzle elements and fetch quests to dabble in much of the fun still comes from clicking on anything not bolted down to pick up the expansive medley of humorous tidbits and comments littering the game. The series RPG elements youll level-up, gain experience, upgrade your equipment, and learn new attacks are essentially the same this time around, but theyve somehow managed to grow on me more in this episode.
Combat encounters crop up frequently, whenever you venture too close to foes on the map. Being able to see the battle coming is handy at times and irritating at others. Further along in the game, there are moments when youll have fought through an entire area only to backtrack your way out and have to face more of the same opponents. The strategic, turn-based combat has you rolling for initiative and taking turns selecting attacks to unleash on the unruly bunch of enemies youll face. This too is the same, but a few minor adjustments actually go a long way towards making combat a little less tedious.
For starters, each characters choice of weaponry is different. Your old garden rake has been replaced with a hoe, Gabes knuckles are now adorned with blades, and Tycho wields a shotgun. Each can be upgraded to more badass variants. The revamped mini-games required to pull off special attacks are definitely improved. Theyre similar to the original in last game, but a slight redesign makes them less unwieldy. Support characters from the comic and a few new to the game provide helpful assistance in the form of unique and sometimes disturbing assaults.
The different gameplay components in and of themselves are reasonably good, but their value and enjoyment multiplies greatly when considered as a whole package wrapped in the entertainingly warped alternative reality the PA duo and Hothead have concocted. The series premiere set the ball rolling nicely, but Episode Two picks up the uproarious humor and killer story and runs with it. Fans will find plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, and the masterfully implemented battle at the end of this installment tops everything weve seen in the series so far. Penny Arcade Adventures continues to grow and improve, and we cant wait to see what comes next. Two gods down; two more to go.
CCC Staff Contributor