Do the names Tycho Brahe and Gabriel ring a bell? If your first thought is for Danish scientists or biblical angels, you should probably just walk away from this review right now. And if you're offended by colorful language or potty humor, run - don't walk. Those of you who immediately thought of Penny Arcade's main characters probably don't need to read this review either, as it seems likely you've already made a purchase decision. For the rest of you, perhaps the best place to start is by heading over to the Penny Arcade archives and do some "research".

Anyone can critique games - after all, we're doing it - but it takes a lot more time and energy to try to create them. Long-time webcomic and pseudo-review site Penny Arcade has stepped out of the shadows and into the dark waters of game design. Joining with the people at Hothead Games, we were more than just a little curious to see what sort of offspring would result from this demonic union…. (We mean that in a good way - not all demons have to be bad, after all!)

Those of you familiar with the Penny Arcade webcomic are probably interested in knowing whether the game actually captures the spirit of PA. The setting is a new steampunk world with Lovecraftian trimmings called New Arcadia, so you won't find yourself among Twisp and Catsby or the Cardboard Tube Samurai. What you will find are Gabe and Tycho along with a few supporting characters, and plenty of snide comments, jokes, and an interesting blend of adventure/RPG/comic storytelling.

Many of us are fans of the Penny Arcade comics, and Mike "Gabe" Krahulik and Jerry "Tycho" Holkins have done an excellent job of posting satire, sarcasm, and invective directed at various segments of the gaming community over the years. We were more than a little curious to see what they would bring to the table when it came time for them to make their own game. The result defies easy classification; whether you'll like it or not will at least partly depend on how much you enjoy crude and vulgar humor.

Besides looking at the game itself, we also want to examine the hardware and technical side of things. This isn't a game that will push the limits of computer technology - far from it, in fact - but there are still some interesting developments… one might even say Startling Developments… that warrant discussion.

Fighting the Good Fight
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  • PrinceGaz - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    Even if there isn't the option to turn off AA in-game, couldn't it be forced off in the graphics driver settings? I've never used IGP solutions, but I'd expect those from nVidia and AMD/ATI have very similar driver settings to those of their discrete graphics-cards.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    I'm not sure what others do to get these "forced" settings to work, but I've encountered quite a few games where regardless of what you set in the control panel, you end up with the in-game setting. Assassin's Creed didn't let me enable AA at higher resolutions, and in a quick test just now forcing AA off in Precipice didn't turn it off. Depending on how the AA is being done, it may not be something that the graphics driver handles directly. (Besides, I figure most people with IGP solutions are running Intel stuff, and I don't recall ever seeing the option to manually set AA there.)
  • Houdani - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    [quote](Ed: Hey, we're a family website. Penny Arcade can throw around all the cuss words they want, but we do our best to avoid dropping the F-bomb in our articles.)[/quote]
    I snicker that you would pointedly avoid typing the F-bomb, but turn around and link a screenshot of the (clearly identified) Fruit F*er on the same page. Haw!
  • camaris - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    I think you mean
    Mike "Gabe" Krahulik and Jerry "Tycho" Holkins

  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    Grr.... I swear I had that right too, but I must have switched it without thinking. I've met the two in person up in Seattle before (and I've even got signed PA books to prove it). Anyway, I've fixed the reversal.
  • ImmortalZ - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    Sorry to say that you are wrong about that.

    Precipice was released on the scene on May 22nd, 2008.
  • ViRGE - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    Except that it apparently doesn't work right, supposedly the game logic of that release was all screwed up making the game play out of order.

    Anyhow, it's a fun game, but $20 was a bit too much.
  • ImmortalZ - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    Then get the fix :P
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    I'll leave confirming whether or not the "fix" works to others... at least some of the comments I've seen indicate it still has issues, and besides I'm not in support of piracy.
  • ViRGE - Tuesday, June 17, 2008 - link

    Judging from the people complaining in the usual places, it sounds like the fix doesn't work. So no, it hasn't been completely and correctly cracked from the looks of things.

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