Psychonauts 2 – game review. A perfect continuation of an excellent production.
Microsoft has launched its offensive for 2021, and Psychonauts 2 is the best confirmation of one – the American corporation has made some extremely smart business moves in recent years and can now reap the fruits of these purchased trees. Double Fine Productions did not disappoint, and we can be sure that Tim Schafer did not say the last word.
Tim Schafer has waited a long time with the introduction of Psychonauts 2. The first part hit the market in 2005, and although preliminary information about the work on the sequel appeared in 2012, it was only a decade after the premiere of the first installment that we received the first preview of the game. At that time, Double Fine Productions could not expect support from a large publisher, so the developer counted on the help of fans – over 24,000 players decided to donate over $ 3.8 million to the creation of the item. Since then, a lot has happened, the studio joined the Microsoft family, and the story was expanded thanks to funds donated by the American giant. As a result, a game was created that cannot be ignored by fans of the first installment, and at the same time it is an adventure that can encourage a whole series of new audiences. But let’s start from the beginning …
Psychonauts 2 is a full-fledged continuation
Double Fine Productions does not forget about its achievements in the least, so you should be aware from the very beginning that Psychonauts 2 is a full-fledged continuation, which continues the previously presented threads, while the gameplay can also stimulate memories. The main character of the adventure is once again Razputin Aquato, who makes it clear from the very beginning that he still remembers the powerful powers discovered in the first story. It is for this reason that it is best to approach the game knowing what happened in the first part or even when playing the title from 2005 – the developers offer a story outline in the form of animations at the beginning, but if you did not have the opportunity to play the first adventure, here you will get just a series of hard-to-connect events. The prepared movie is a repetition for players who got acquainted with the production years ago and need a specific cheat sheet.
Returning to the story was essential because the action of the peer-reviewed Psychonauts 2 begins after the end of the first story, and Once with the team they save the chief of Psychonauts. Already at this point, the developers show that they are not going to mess with people who are not familiar with the first installment. After a while, the main character goes to the headquarters of the organization, where he learns that in fact all his previous achievements have not been appreciated and he is not a full member of the organization. Instead, he is given an “intern” badge and must prove his worth to the Psychonauts.
It turns out that the first opportunity to demonstrate appears fairly quickly – we receive information about the “mole” located in the headquarters of people with paranormal abilities. Initially, our protagonist does not have the best relations with other young adepts of the telekinesis school, in addition, he has to face the mysterious and very powerful Maligula Galochio, the main antagonist of the production. The story is astonishing in many respects, and it will take a good 12-15 hours to complete – but I am not convinced that it is worth approaching the item without any knowledge of previous events, because during the story, Raz encounters many friends and the authors do not really care about the translation of individual threads. The protagonist takes part in dialogues that are often more or less related to the adventure started in 2005.
However, what distinguishes the reviewed Psychonauts 2 from many productions of the genre is that it offers a whole range of emotions. The scriptwriters made sure that the new proposal was funny at every turn (Once humorously comments on events or large intervals in the premieres), at the same time the title of Double Fine Productions deals with many difficult topics related to death, trauma and mental illness, and the developers fulfill the task perfectly. Each issue is treated with due respect. Tim Schafer’s team is well aware of when he can joke and it is really great, but he also presents serious issues. However, I must point out that it is worth getting to know these demanding topics if you know English well. Unfortunately, the game did not receive a Polish localization, so although we seemingly get a colorful 3D platformer here, if you want to delve into all the threads, you need a decent knowledge of an additional language.
Psychonauts 2 focuses on the extensive possibilities of the main character
As I mentioned, the reviewed Psychonauts 2 is a continuation not only in terms of the story, but also the gameplay, because at the very beginning of the adventure, the developers give us well-known skills – telekinesis that allows you to throw objects, the ability to create a special ball for fast travel or hovering in the air, “shooting” with PSI-Blast or pyromancy … In addition, after a while, Raza’s arsenal is expanded for more powers, among which I can distinguish, among others, the slowdown of time, the option of creating a double and a mental connection that allows you to control other people’s thoughts.
It sounds really interesting on paper, and each of the abilities fits the concept of the presented world, but the creators did not quite manage to tame the controller. In Psychonauts 2, all skills have been cast on triggers and bumpers, So you can easily guess that exactly half of the buttons are missing to have access to the full range of the main character’s capabilities. As a consequence, we are far too often forced to jump into the menu to swap powers, which to be honest is a bit frustrating at one point. On the one hand, the team made a good decision, offering players familiar toys and expanding the capabilities of the main character, but after the first few hours I had the impression that this element could be solved much better. Of course, the development of abilities has not been forgotten – here we can not only use the experience points gained, but also use special modifiers, thanks to which we significantly influence the skills.
IN Psychonauts 2 It’s not that we only fight and use abilities, because, as befits a typical 3D platformer, Raz systematically overcomes subsequent twisted locations. The main character, however, is not an agile panther or another Lombax and from time to time I had the feeling that the prepared platform elements lacked the proper fluidity. It is easy to jump into the abyss or miss the designated place, because the protagonist does not always follow our instructions perfectly. The problem does not appear at every step, but having the opportunity to play all the most important titles in this genre in recent years, I quickly sensed that Double Fine Productions could have applied more to this aspect. At the same time, I must emphasize it: the title works even at 120 frames per second on the Xbox Series X | S, but I did not come across any errors during the game. Tim Schafer’s team used the time to launch a polished adventure onto the market.
Although I realize that the platform sequences could be refined in several places, I cannot complain about the level of difficulty and not holding the player by the hand – The reviewed Psychonauts 2 is not just another entry where we see a big arrow on the screen that says “go here” from start to finish. The studio in some way relies on a slightly old school experience, during which the player first of all discovers in which direction he should go or what to do to push the story forward. The prepared puzzles are often easy to solve, but there are also those that require moving the brain. Developers do not often throw a solution to the problem and I have the impression that here, too, a good command of English is essential.
Psychonauts 2 is a unique experience
The issues that make it the peer-reviewed Psychonauts 2 is a truly unique experience, there are levels to it without a doubt. The continuation maintains a specific artistic style, which may not appeal to everyone, but in the end, the whole thing fits into the game’s assumptions and allows us to go to many excellent locations. As you know, Raz is one of the agents of the aforementioned organization, which is definitely too eager to jump into the minds of other people, and each such journey is a real rollercoaster of emotions and various idiosyncrasies. From the prologue, we are fed with multiple images, which Christopher Nolan would not be ashamed of in the continuation of “Inception”, and the frequent change of perspective, surprising opponents or duels with huge and powerful bosses make the title deserve applause. Looking at the frame, you cannot speak of next-gen character in the slightest, which is greatly influenced by the time of creating the item, but all the shortcomings have been made up for with design and surprising spots – this is definitely one of the strongest points of the game.
In Psychonauts 2, the Psychonauts base is a very important location. At this point, we can meet many characters, and thanks to the conversations we get the necessary information about the main plot or we get side quests that allow us to go on the next actions. Double Fine Productions took care of many surprising moments, while dialogues and threads are so extensive that they can distract us from the main part of the plot – then the platformer becomes something like an adventure game and allows you to further explore this interesting world on many levels.
Psychonauts 2 is an excellent continuation of the game, which was underestimated by many
Developers from Double Fine Productions have confirmed their artistry, bringing to the market another item that will delight fans of their work. Tim Schafer provided a new adventure, a Psychonauts 2 is a title that in many ways perfectly expands the concept of its predecessor. The first position took years to be appreciated by the general public, while thanks to Microsoft’s concept, many players have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the story of Raza from its premiere. Some flaw in this exciting diamond is the lack of localization, but hopefully players’ actions will have the desired effect.
If you need an old-style 3D platformer that impresses with locations and events – Psychonauts is back in the salons!