Psychonauts 2 is a (mostly) 3D platformer game where playing as a boy called Raz we get to navigate the psyche of different characters. Psychonauts are a group of specialists that have powers over the mind who can influence and impact how a person thinks. Raz is an intern within the organisation so must work his way into missions instead of being a chosen one character.
The game explores ideas of mental health while progressing a story to defeat the leader of a group called the Delugionists. Each level focuses on a different issue with an early level being about the stress and fear caused by money problems to both students and professionals as they run a business day to day. As the plot goes on it becomes a really interesting tale of the return of a terrible evil with more than one twist that kept the story from being predictable.
The writing is definitely the stand out feature of this game with everything being a play on words or some deep thought provoking way of presenting ideas. Characters develop with levels dedicated to them, showcasing their personalities while adding to the overall story, nothing really felt like filler content it was done so well.
The story is structured with an explorable hub area that connects all the characters together, there’re side objectives and collectibles for players to find which encourages the exploration without anything feeling forced.
The gameplay comes across as over complicated until you get used to it. It features everything you might expect: increasable health, upgrades, double jumping, combat, conversation, abilities, and a few ways to effect the environment. But instead of being a few simple clicks to do everything we have to use a menu to swap out abilities. To start with the game feels a little slow but after playing for a while it becomes a fast, fun game where I was still having “Wow!” moments and being surprised in the later stages of the game.
Combat uses all the powers Raz can acquire as well as having a melee attack. Stunning or burning enemies proves to be an effective way to gain the upper hand. There’s a decent range of enemy types, some requiring specific abilities to defeat them while others just need bashing a bit.
I went a bit completionist on this game and found getting all the collectibles became a bit irritating. The remapping abilities constantly proved to be a minor inconvenience which could have been avoided because my controller had unused buttons. I also ran into a glitch at one point where gravity broke and I ended up in an off map box and had to reload.
Even with its minor flaws, Psychonauts 2 is a fantastic game. It’s very story driven and it becomes really interesting if you pay attention to its complex ideas. It hits the player with all sorts of themes in levels designed with such creativity that it is astonishing, it’s all just very cleverly done. It’s a great game with lots of amazing ideas which after initially having my doubts about it, I soon found myself thinking that Psychonauts 2 is one of the best platformer or story driven games that I’ve played.
I apologise if I’ve been a bit vague but everything feels like a spoiler, just go experience this one for yourselves. I highly recommend it.