Psychonauts 2

The adventures of Razputin after he’s officially joined the titular psychic spy agency. By David Reardon

“Psychonauts 2” is the long-awaited sequel to the cult favorite “Psychonauts” and follows the adventures of Razputin after he’s officially joined the titular psychic spy agency. The head of the agency has recently been rescued from a kidnapping, and it’s up to Razputin and his fellow agents to discover who was behind the kidnapping and is trying to revive a forgotten evil that nearly destroyed the psychonauts once before. 

The game is an action platform game with levels built around the mindscapes of various characters. This format allows for some truly creative and inventive levels that are not only visually intriguing and fun to explore, but also meaningfully represents real traumas that characters (and perhaps some players) have been through in a respectful and inoffensive manner. 

The majority of gameplay consists of navigating through the mental jungle gyms that take on various shapes, sizes and aesthetics, searching for collectibles and occasionally engaging in combat. The weakest part of the gameplay experience is the combat, which feels like a chore until you unlock some slightly helpful upgrades. Upgrades come in the form of new psychic powers that are fun to experiment with, levels of those powers that enhance their strength and badges that alter the abilities to the player’s preferred gameplay style. 

Throughout my play-through, I continually wondered who the game was for. The game looks and plays like something for a younger audience, but the mature dialogue, themes and nuances would be lost on this crowd. However, the writing and story can, at times, feel overly simplified, as if it really was intended to be experienced by young players. This dissonance comes to the forefront on several occasions, particularly during one level built around gambling. This one example, by the way, is one of the largest and most focal levels in the game.

Besides the tonal confusion caused by the search for an audience, this game is genuinely fun. I found myself looking forward to the exploration and character interactions, and by the end, the story was surprisingly pleasant to experience as it unfolded. Most players will likely pass on this title, but it is worth your time, even if you haven’t played the original. 

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