Over 16 years have handed between Psychonauts video games, however not a lot time has elapsed for protagonist Razputin “Raz” Aquato. His scratchy, high-pitched voice nonetheless screams of youthful inexperience, and his actions virtually at all times present an eagerness to be taught.
That’s exactly what developer Double Superb Productions has additionally executed through the years. Time has allowed this arthouse studio to hone its platforming craft, sharpen its already hilarious wit, and create a sequel that exhibits off the large complexity of the human mind and the fun of unearthing its wonders. Psychonauts 2 invitations gamers to discover colourful dreamscapes that soften into harmful nightmares and shortly establishes the thought that nearly each flip will result in one thing surprising and peculiar.
With summer time camp behind him, Raz is now a gifted intern for the Psychonauts, a psychic spy group of superbeings which can be coping with a mole inside their ranks. Raz needs to be concerned in fixing this thriller, but his impulsiveness will get him into bother early on, and he shortly must undo his errors. The story roars out of the gate with foolish pleasure and by no means slows because of intelligent jokes and a splendidly realized solid of characters. Their banter is implausible and often provides deep insights into their motivations and personalities, particularly when Raz is diving via their minds. Some ideas are disturbing and discover critical psychological well being points, however Double Superb handles them with care, usually framing them in creative methods.
Lots of the dreamscapes Raz explores will doubtless elicit an audible “wow” because of their visualization and dynamic compositions. Colourful, loud, jagged, and virtually at all times holding a claymation-like aesthetic, these worlds dazzle with their creativity and double as glorious playgrounds for the platforming expertise at hand.
Though there’s no scarcity of animated story sequences to sit down again and watch, Psychonauts 2 is a platformer at coronary heart. Raz, who simply occurs to be the son of acrobatic dad and mom, follows of their footsteps with a bit extra grace and ability. His leaping prowess, and the controls bringing it to life, are improved, however he nonetheless isn’t transferring with the precision and fluidity of Mario. Somewhat uncertainty and guesswork comes with gauging soar distances and seize factors. That mentioned, no platforming sequence is ever as unfairly difficult as the primary recreation’s death-dealing Meat Circus degree. Psychonauts 2 persistently delivers stable platforming enjoyable and encourages gamers to veer off the crushed path to seek out secret collectibles and upgrades galore. Essentially the most pleasant collectibles to grab up are the Figments, two-dimensional items of artwork scattered all through the degrees that usually push the participant to throw warning to the wind.
Raz’s newfound acrobatic standing additionally transitions to fight, the place dodge rolling and creating house are paramount. That distance is crucial, as he doesn’t must punch each enemy he comes throughout, and may now use a wide selection of psychic powers to attain victory from afar. He can begin them on hearth, riddle them stuffed with holes with psi-blasts, or use different skills to deliver the censors and different enemies to their knees. Fight is vastly improved over the unique recreation however is used sparsely, primarily inside brief arena-like conflicts or in opposition to bosses.
The highlight isn’t solely on platforming, nonetheless. Even these sequences usually really feel truncated given simply how usually Double Superb transitions to completely different gameplay sequences or story moments. The circulate works, because it retains the participant off-kilter and not sure of what might occur subsequent. In a single second, I chopped up an cute bacon character to fry up and feed to a goat puppet, and in one other, I used to be balancing precariously on prime of a large bowling ball. A lot of the gameplay sequences are pleasant and mix properly with the platforming motion. The fixed shifting of gameplay sorts creates an issue in that the participant continuously should pause to assign particular skills to the motion buttons. Among the powers are fairly ingenious; one even bringing a wildly completely different model of Raz into play.
Psychonauts 2 is especially about Raz’s psychic improvement but in addition focuses intently on the lifetime of Ford Cruller, a personality who appeared within the first recreation and is born once more in a very fascinating means. For the sake of spoilers, I gained’t go into Ford’s involvement too deeply, however satisfying (and stunning) payoffs come from it, and the worlds he introduces to Raz are alarming in the absolute best methods for a gaming expertise.
I adored virtually each second of Psychonauts 2. It achieves one thing I don’t usually see in video games – a continuous sense of awe as every of its worlds unfold. It took 16 years to achieve launch, however Double Superb has delivered an unbelievable sequel. I hope we get a 3rd installment that doesn’t take practically as lengthy to create.