With Psychonauts 2, the developers of Double Fine continue the adventures of the young Razputin, this time under the auspices of Xbox Game Studios. The 3D action jumping game is still available for Playstation - fortunately for all Playstation fans, because Psychonauts 2 is one of those games that shouldn't be missed. We're getting ahead: The successor to the 2005D jump-'n'-run released in 3 tops the original title. That was very close, however, which should hardly be a surprise - after all, Psychonauts was already a real hit.


It was the year 2005 when Double Fine Productions laid the foundation for a gaming brand with Psychonauts, which we hope will have many more offshoots. Back then at the helm: Tim Schafer, who worked on cult games Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle or Monkey Island 1 and 2. At least that hasn't changed with Psychonauts 2. Schafer is still at the wheel. Which will probably be completely different: Pychonauts 2 will also be a commercial success - we predict that given the terrific quality. This was not the case with the predecessor at the time - despite the excellent gaming enjoyment, the title fell short of its expectations economically.

Weird characters, bizarre levels, lots of humor

Jump warm at first: A short introduction gives those unfamiliar with Psychonauts an understanding of what it is all about (trip to the spin-off "Psychonauts In The Rhombus Of Ruin" included), which characters you are dealing with and how the basics of the three-dimensional jumping game with a strong action-adventure element work. The “3D” is particularly relevant, because the game keeps changing perspectives. Not only is this unusual, it's pretty cool. On the powerful Xbox Series X, it looks great and runs smoothly. This is necessary because it is not uncommon for the right timing to be important when Raz has to combine his various psi skills in order to be able to advance through the levels. 

A charming introduction explains to beginners what psychonauts are all about. Source: Spielpunkt

A charming introduction explains to beginners what psychonauts are all about. Source: Spielpunkt

Psychonauts 2 is not particularly difficult, but in places not that easy either: The game has a noticeable learning curve that allows players to solve tricky passages again and again. The game always remains fair, despite multiple deaths, there is no frustration. The reason: It is always clear in which way you have to cope with the hopping and climbing sections. So you can improve yourself through practice - and sooner or later you can celebrate successes. It is similar with the puzzles, which are mostly funny, never unfair, often transparent, and always creatively designed. Here you burn away posters, there you shoot opponents, drop the climbing opportunities and in other places you have to overcome obstacles in a certain way in order to take away all the bonuses. Detours off the main routes are therefore worthwhile and offer a welcome change.

Weird characters like Doctor Loboto are one of the highlights - including their soundtrack. Source: Spielpunkt

Weird characters like Doctor Loboto are one of the highlights - including their soundtrack. Source: Spielpunkt

The course of the game changes from a linear introductory phase to an adventure-heavy action game, in whose world you can move a little more freely. The developers then take advantage of what the genre dictates: collecting opportunities, side quests, an in-game currency to improve skills. So there is a bit of character development in Psychonauts 2 - playfully and visually.

Small highlights, big game

Psychonauts 2 builds on several highlights, which together result in a terrific mix of jumping games: In addition to Raz, there are the other weird characters such as Agent Forsythe, Sasha or Doctor Loboto - great set to music and each crazy in their own way. This is the story that is more than a rudimentary background story to drive a platforming game - again and again you come across profound passages with thoroughly socially critical undertones. The human psyche is processed in many ways - in terms of content and appearance. That motivates, because you want to know how the story will go on, but above all as a player you want to know what crazy ideas the developers still have up their sleeves. Whether you like the basic style of the game is a matter of taste. In any case, everything is coherent, thematically well processed, but here and there with little detail. The humorous cutscenes compensate for this.

The levels don't offer such bombast graphics as, for example, in Ratchet & Clank, but they are still extremely nicely designed. Source: Spielpunkt

The levels don't offer such bombast graphics as, for example, in Ratchet & Clank, but they are still extremely nicely designed. Source: Spielpunkt

Technically, you could have gotten more out of a game that is not exactly Triple-A, but also not budget, but somewhere in between. It is not primarily the graphic presentation that knocks you off your feet, but the enormous creativity with which the developers went to work when designing the level. Camera pans, zooms, twisted perspectives - you use the entire range of mechanisms of modern 3D jumping games and always put one on top. The whole thing is accompanied by the grandiose soundtrack of Psychonauts 2, which is as varied as the game worlds themselves: Pop, rock, synth, even orchestral sounds - Double Fine Productions gets the maximum out of the music. The same goes for the speakers, who do a first-class job. 

Infobox

Number of players: single player
Age: USK from 12
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: medium
Genre: Jump'n'Run
Sub-genre: action-adventure jumping game

Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2021
Platforms (Test system): PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Language: German
Costs: from 59,99 euros 

 

Summary

Admittedly, the presentation takes getting used to, sometimes even a matter of taste. Not everyone will like everything about Psychonauts 2 - at least there is a good chance that you will appreciate the game as a whole. As good as Psychonauts was in 2005, the successor can do everything a bit better, nicer, funnier. What Double Fine Production has put together under the leadership of Microsoft Game Studios deserves respect. Psychonauts 2 is not completely convincing in terms of play, but then the other elements compensate for that. 

If sections of the level seem like standard food, the funny cutscenes suddenly tear it out - until you suddenly find yourself back in a section of the world that is weird to scream. Psychonauts 2 is full of high-pitched moments that prove to be motivators. The stimulus to continue playing is always noticeable, and you feel connected to the characters after a few hours of play. Although Psychonauts 2 doesn't take itself too seriously, the game keeps confronting its players with serious issues: mental illness, for example. Psychonauts 2 makes players rethink the health of their brain and spirit in a charming way.

It was well known that Tim Schafer and Double Fine are capable of making great games. With Psychonauts 2, however, they have achieved a preliminary masterpiece that blends story, gameplay and presentation into an experience that you simply have to make. 


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Last updated on 3.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API