Psychonauts 2, Double Fine, Xbox One Review
Now, 16 years later, psychonauts 2 picks up right where it left off and does more than just feel the shoes of its beloved corky predecessor, but sets itself apart as a classic in its own right Music. The story picks up only days after the first game and moments after the vr sequel, interlude psychonauts and the rhombus of ruin. 10 year old, psychic prodigy raspute naquato has saved the leader of the psychonauts from the grips of a maniacal dentist, amateur brain surgeon. Dr loboto was that you screaming on me in an effort to discover who hired dr lobato in the first place. Raz and the other psychonaut agents enter lubatos mind only to uncover that a far more menacing antagonist has been pulling lobato strings and maligula a past enemy of the psychonauts caligula shes been dead for 20 years. The return of maligula tears open some old wounds for the psychonauts, leading to a heaping load of mystery and the suspicion of a mole within their operation. In order to unpack everything, razz must enter the minds of the psychic six, the founders of the psychonauts, to piece together, a dark and hidden truth. What unravels is an unexpected turn of events, with a story constructed and driven by the misjudged choices of its characters and its a heavy theme that remains constant, even through rezas own choices. Early on the rather serious narrative, events are intertwined with a spectacle of platforming and action with each level taking place inside of the mind of a character, and they are dazzling displays of creativity, everything about psychonauts 2 from its environments to his history, the psychonauts themselves, its Enemies and mechanics all work in tandem and feel wholly realized.
It feels rich with detail and its all defined by its complex cast of characters dad. What are you doing here? What well were here to support you son? Will we, of course, as you bounce, through minds of characters, each levels, concepts in artistic direction is reflective of the mind in which it takes place, often putting mental conditions like addiction, ptsd and anxiety front and center in a light, hearted manner that doesnt demean them, but Rather, treats them in an approachable and empathetic way. One level in particular features depressing themes and undertones of excessive drinking as a design motif. The level takes place on a big open sea to sail across with sandy islands, to visit in a beautiful, clear sky overhead, but the moment i stopped to take it all in. I realized that the trees were shaped like bottles and platforms were beer cans and the rails i grinded on were drinking straws. Suddenly, the bright culprit world i was excitedly jumping through was instilled with a very different and serious tone. It was all nuanced balanced, with bizarre and quirky conversations but bookended with a serious look at someones inner struggles with the intent of better understanding who they are as a person and why, ah thats the stuff yeah a little motion really gets the juices flowing. If you know what i mean now, while its representation of mental conditions may be complex, engaging with the game, isnt psychonauts 2 is truly a joy to play with its action and platforming returning from the first game, albeit much more fine tuned and streamlined.
Not that little many abilities from the original will be familiar to returning players, telekinesis cyblast, pyrokinesis and levitation, all of which have been given a welcome overhaul. All of these quality of life improvements make psychonaut 2s combat, feel tight and refined abilities can be upgraded by ranking up, which itself is done by collecting things nuggets of wisdom, figments of imagination or side cards. They can all be found through levels and in the open world, with the introduction of each new enemy. I was conditioned to change my playing style, forcing me to change up my abilities in the fly taking full use of the games. Eight burn them all abilities. No matter how good its level design is or how imaginative its concepts get some of the level concluding boss fights fail to reach the same heights. Some are better than others. Like the vomiting hand, puppets from comptons cooking level are a standout fight, but not all of them stick the landing more often than not fights involve a towering enemy throwing projectiles at you. While you fend off hordes of little baddies and the formula rarely changes mechanically theyre. Fine, but can be rather cliche in comparison to its otherwise inspired levels. Thankfully, even after some of these fights, what then awaits is a welcome degree of freedom and exploration between each level. I was given the chance to explore the world tackle levels at my own pace. Talk to its many characters or do things completely out of order exploring the hub areas which are broken into four sections is a distraction from the main quest, but a delightful one, with no waypoints to clutter my screen or lead me in a very specific direction, which I deeply appreciated exploring felt organic.
I had a constant curiosity to see what was around every corner of the bustling psychonauts hq or to climb to the top of the trees in the woodsy questionable area. These areas all felt thoughtfully, designed and tailored to incentivize natural exploration with identifiable characteristics that made it a breeze to navigate Music. The world just feels really good, and a lot of that is owed to characters you meet along the way whether it was catching up with one of the other interns or the lonely kind of sad receptionist in the psycho isolation chamber, theres. Never a wasted line or interaction, hello. Finally, i thought youd never say hi, i tell ya. I have been waiting for someone to come visit for a long time, every interaction deep in the world and the introduction to razs gypsy circus family. The aquatos is the cherry on top traveling, thrill, givers and practitioners of the acrobatic arts. The game packs a lot in its 15 hour run time, but the result is something that feels carefully considered, tailored and deliberate in everything. It gave me from the story to its gameplay to its exploration, to its music, to, of course, its writing. Oh, is that honey, peppa boy bacon. I havent had that since my days back in headquarters on the surface, psychonauts 2 is an engaging ambitious honed in take on colorful 3d platformers, but the most rewarding aspect hasnt just been mastering its platforms or combat, but peeling back the layers to see whats beneath it.
To take a closer look at its characters, the depth of their struggles, fears and regrets, all of which serve as the games foundation, Music, its an emotional hilarious and, at times pretty devastating story, but a story about forgiveness and second chances.