5 Things I Absolutely Love About Psychonauts 2… So Far
This past week I had a chance to check out a preview build of Psychonauts 2 on the Xbox Series X. Psychonauts 2 is technically still in development, so it has a few rough patches, but it’s a smooth experience and certainly looks final to me.
I should also say, it feels great too. There is no question the game oozes with personality. With a cast of crazy wacky characters and highly imaginative levels, I’m loving what I am seeing so far. And I’m only 4-hours in.
It’s also quite clear Psychonauts 2 is loaded with content because it feels like I have only scratched the surface. Full disclosure, I died a lot, but it never felt like Psychonauts 2 was unfair or cheap in any way. It’s a challenge but not to the point of rage quitting. It has a ton going for it and I am pretty confident it will score well when critics review the game next month. Without further delay, here are 5 things I absolutely love about Psychonauts 2… so far.
Glorious New Combat and Traversal Mechanics
Fans of the original are well aware of Razputin “Raz” Aquato’s special powers. Now, the manner in which you deploy all these powers can be a little cumbersome in the early going. Especially as you become familiar with the various controls and assigning the right power with the right button. My muscle memory took some time to get acclimated. I know, I’m old, so things like this take time. Regardless, the powers themselves are amazing. Raz has a powerful array of psychic powers. He can burn things, and levitate. There is also a grapple hook mechanic, called mental connection, that is incredibly satisfying and is used to solved in game puzzles. It is these powers that’ll have fans coming back for more.
Characters Have Tons of Personality
I’m not going to lie, Raz can get on your nerves at times. He means well, but I simply found him a bit grating at times. However, the rest of the cast of characters including all the enemies and the psychic super spies are hilarious. The dialogue is fantastic and will surely entertain young fans and older grumpy lumps like me. They all have a quirky personality and serve up some pretty entertaining moments. I’m really loving what I am seeing from the characters so far. I should also mention all the original voice actors returned too. This is amazing and gives the experience an authentic feel.
The Level Design is Incredible
Psychonauts 2’s world is visually stunning. It has a cinematic style and uniqueness unlike any game I have played before. The levels feel real and unpredictable. I really didn’t know what I was going to get from one brain level to the next. The ways in which you can explore the levels are seemingly endless. While the story is mostly linear, there is freedom in the way in which you can progress through the levels. They encourage exploration with figments and collectibles scattered throughout. There is so much going on! There is no question combat and traversal excels in these environments.
Deep Progression & Upgrade System
Psychonauts 2 has a progression ranking system but also all of your powers can be upgraded. There are also pins that can further customize what your powers can do. I’ve said it before, but there is just so much going on and there are many ways to customize your attacks. I only scratched the surface in this area but I was surprised with how deep the progression system is. Abilities can be gained relatively fast, but upgrading them takes some time. It all feels balanced and I never felt underpowered or overpowered at any point during the preview.
Inspired By A Nightmare Before Christmas
During our Q&A session with Tim Schafer (Studio Head at Double Fine), Lisette Titre-Montgomery (Art Director at Double Fine) and Lauren Scott (Senior Systems Designer at Double Fine) it was revealed that A Nightmare Before Christmas was a huge inspiration. And it shows. Psychonauts 2 has a Burton-esk vibe and it’s wonderful. The brain levels are unique and impressive. Every level feels like a different experience. It all makes for an immersive and enjoyable gameplay experience.
Psychonauts 2 launches on August 25 with Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows, Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation 4 and 5 (with backwards compatibility).
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