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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  • joetron2030 - Wednesday, July 9, 2008 - link

    Just now getting around to reading your review. I'd have to agree with you on the gameplay and "fun factor" aspects of the game (and I too come as a fan of PA).

    Also, one minor correction, the actual XBLA point cost is 1600 points. US retail prices for a 1600 pt. card is usually about $19.99. So, it ends up essentially costing $20 that way as well.
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, June 18, 2008 - link

    How can you seriously say it's not a big deal that for $20 we're only getting a rental? And how can you hesitate to call "activation" DRM? It's the worst form of DRM I'm aware of, which is saying something given how nasty this stuff has gotten.

    I would have purchased this, but like so many other recent PC games, they've taken that option from me. I will not pay $20 for a rental (and yes, if you don't own an actual copy of it you can use whenever and however you like, it is a rental).
  • tonjohn - Wednesday, June 18, 2008 - link

    "(and yes, if you don't own an actual copy of it you can use whenever and however you like, it is a rental)."

    As a consumer, you never own any piece of software. You are merely purchasing a license to the software and must adhere to the terms set aside in the licensing agreement.

    While DRM can be frustrating, it is a necessary evil. And things like Steam make DRM seem non-existent (unless you are on 56k) and we should embrace those methods.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, June 18, 2008 - link

    As I said, it's a ONE TIME activation, and from the quote it appears if you end up needing to install it on more PCs and encounter problems, they are more than willing to help you out. DRM in my mind is locking content like a movie to one device. Locking an OS to install on one PC (at a time) or an application to only install on a few PCs is reasonable, I think. We're not talking about EA levels of "call home every 10 days to validate" DRM (even though EA decided not to do that), and with the game being available exclusively through online distribution the requirement to activate over the Internet is hardly a problem.

    I've voice my concerns for the long-term, but then I just don't see this as such an important game that we're going to want to return to it in five years. I thought it was fun, I got my $20's worth of entertainment, and I doubt I will return to Precipice for another round again. Just like I haven't really touched Assassin's Creed, Bioshock, Crysis, and any number of other games since I finished them (outside of benchmarking purposes).
  • yacoub - Tuesday, June 17, 2008 - link

    On the last page - pretty sure the comics go back to 1998 not 1988.
  • Jynx980 - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    Shouldn't the system requirements be on the performance page instead at the end of the review?
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    Some people just skip to the end. :)
  • tonjohn - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link


    This game was also released on Steam and includes all of the achievements from the Xbox 360 version.

    I'm not a fan of these sorts of games but I have really enjoyed playing this one so far.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 16, 2008 - link

    Page five, bottom of the first paragraph.
  • tonjohn - Tuesday, June 17, 2008 - link

    My bad! Thanks :)

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