On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode Two
On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode Two, continues the bizarre chain of events that began on that fateful day, when a colossal robotic juicer stepped on your house. As you reacclimatize to the world of New Arcadia, as either a brand new character or as a holdover from Episode One, you’ll be greeted by an overall sense of familiarity. Not a great deal has changed between episodes, but if you take a closer look you should notice a myriad of refinements, after all you are a Startling Detective.
If you’ve played through Episode One, there should be no trouble falling back into the diet JRPG and light adventure mechanics. For the uninitiated, Rain-Slick uses a variation on the tried and true turn based JPRG battle system, however to keep combat interesting, battles happen in real time and feature timed inputs and mini games. After a battle concludes your team accumulates experience, which leads to level ups and new special attacks. Outside of combat, you’ll wander the seedier venues that comprise New Arcadia in the search for clues, along the way meeting a great number of NPCs to converse with using a fairly standard dialogue system.
Having personally played Episode One on PC, it did take a little time to feel comfortable with Episode Two’s controls. In combat each character’s abilities are mapped to the various face buttons, which works much better granting access to each ability without the need of scrolling your mouse. Unfortunately, and understandably, the adventuring portion of Episode Two doesn’t hold up quite as well without a mouse. When exploring a new area it was much easier to mouse over the entire screen and quickly find out what set pieces could be examined, but now your character has to be physically near an object to know if it can be examined. If multiple objects highlight at once in your immediate vicinity, the game allows you to cycle through them using the R and L buttons. Whether or not you prefer Rain-Slick with a mouse or controller, the title feels more at home on a console.
Much like the Sam & Max titles, the general flow of Episode Two is near identical to the previous entry. In between running quests for NPCs you’ll visit Anne-Claire regularly for weapon upgrades or advice, in much the same manner that the Freelance Police visit Bosco and Sybil Pandemik. However, there is plenty of new content to be found in Episode Two including a number of appropriately weird locations and NPCs, highlighted by a sanitarium run by a psychotic taxidermy enthusiast.
In addition to the new characters and locations there are a number of less obvious improvements to the overall Rain-Slick experience. Episode Two features a more regular dose of the awesome Flash animated story sequences found in Episode One. Jerry Holkins’ writing has been further refined, providing a more digestible narrative that is still littered with black magic, mad scientists and other unholy things. The most noteworthy addition to most players will be the new difficulty settings, which include an unlockable Insane mode. With a new extreme difficulty setting, a wider variety of collectibles and Trophy support, Episode Two comes in far more replayable than Episode One. Plus, it all comes with a cheaper initial price than Episode One.
There really isn’t much to say about Episode Two; it delivers exactly what you’re looking for in episodic content. It has a new chapter of the story, new environments, characters and subtle refinements, all mixed with a healthy dose of the familiar. It certainly isn’t greatly superior to its predecessor, but it is an overall better experience and is easily one of the best RPGs on the PS3. I wait patiently for the inevitable third demolition of my home.