It’s no secret that, when it comes to my choice of games, you can always find me playing something with a lot of combat, a lot of danger, and lots and lots of things that explode. I’m an action junkie through and through and I barely take any time to step out of my comfort zone and try other genres.
As they say, too much of a good thing can often be bad and that’s exactly how we got here today. I needed a fresh new experience to get my hands on and show me something I’ve never seen before. I had a great time playing Ori and The Blind Forest earlier this year so when I heard of an epic new platformer arriving on Xbox Game Pass, I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone once again.
Psychonauts 2 is the long-awaited sequel from Double Fine studios and, after a fifteen-year wait caused by numerous delays, it’s finally available across multiple platforms, including Playstation 4, and is available day one on Xbox Game Pass. Needless to say, There was no excuse for me not to give it a try.
25 hours later and I’m glad I did. I had no idea what to expect since I never played the original Psychonauts but what I found kept me entertained and left a memorable impression on me and my thoughts on platformers in general. So, without further ado, let me tell you about Psychonauts 2.
PSYCHONAUTS 2 REVIEW
So, What’s It All About?
Psychonauts 2 is a 3D platformer that puts you into the shoes of Razputin (a.k.a Raz), a 10 year old psychic that recently joined the Intern program of the world-famous Psychonauts, a large organization of psychic agents that train their powers to thwart evil and save the world.
Psychonauts 2 switches up gameplay between the real world and the mental world which you enter every time you open a portal into the mind of another character. Aside from level design, the main difference is the fact that losing all your health in the mental world sends you back for a hard restart.
Raz has a very large pool of psychic abilities within the game including the power to blast enemies with your mind, pick up objects at will and even slow down time itself. Each can be upgraded as you level up and earn points with many abilities, like the Mind Connection, opening up new platform options as you level them up.
Being the son of famous acrobats, Raz also has a few acrobatic maneuvers up his sleeve. Double-jumping, rail grinding, and even some trapeze work are just some of the obstacles you’ll come across as you platform around the map, traveling to and from certain objectives.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a true platformer without an abundance of collectibles…to collect. Every mental world you enter has ‘figments’ of the character’s imagination, memory vaults that contain a slideshow of the character’s past, emotional baggage that needs to be tagged, and many more.
— Ryan C. Voller (@SteviusM) September 8, 2021
Then, What’s GOOD About It?
I’ve rarely used the word charming to describe anything before but I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe my experience playing Psychonauts 2. From the art style to the characters themselves, I found myself liking this age more and more the further I got into it, which was a big surprise.
Especially with the creative way that this story is told through the dialogue and the different mental worlds you enter throughout the game. Each area feels so distinct and different from the last and opens up the development of each character in a way I haven’t seen before in a video game.
I didn’t expect to get drawn in as much as I did with the story beats and twists that occur along the way and felt intrigued by the pseudo-origin story of the original Psychonauts that Raz discovers. The plot introduces a lot of questions and manages to wrap everything up in a satisfying way just like a well-written movie.
The number of psychic abilities that Raz has at his disposal are simple yet provide enough depth and flexibility to stretch my imagination during most encounters. I was constantly switching things up and trying new combos and it took a long time before I settled on an optimized combination of moves.
And, What’s Bad About It?
As pleasant as my experience has been playing Psychonauts 2, it’s hard to ignore some of the technical bugs I encountered along the way. Granted they were few and far between but to not mention them wouldn’t be fair. I mean, there were two times that the game went completely pitch black while I could still control Raz and here all the actions happening on screen.
Not to mention the long load times between worlds. I ended up keeping my phone nearby so I could scroll through Twitter while I waited. All these things didn’t completely halt my playthrough and I doubt that you would even encounter some of these annoying attributes on a next-gen console.
— Ryan C. Voller (@SteviusM) September 4, 2021
Should I Play It?
While Psychonauts 2 is nowhere close to converting me into a 2D platform guy, I still think it’s one of those games you don’t want to miss out on playing. From the characters to the world itself, there’s a lot that’s going to attract your attention the further you get in your playthrough.
I’m glad that it came to Xbox Game Pass as well because I don’t think I’d be writing this review right now if I had to get it the old fashioned way. It’s just not my style of game but I got to step out of my comfort zone for a bit and I’m proud to be sharing my experience with it.
Have you gotten the chance to play Psychonauts 2 on Xbox Game Pass? What did you think of this wacky world of psychic agents? Let me know in the comments section below.