[PlayStation 4] Psychonaut 2 Review
Psychonaut 2 from Double Fine and Microsoft Games Studio is the highly-anticipated sequel we’ve all been waiting for… and it certainly delivers! Learn more in our Psychonaut 2 review!
As a fan of the many games from Double Fine, such as Brütal Legend, Costume Quest, and Broken Age, and, in particular, of the quirky and lovely Psychonauts, I’ve been looking forward to playing Psychonauts 2 on PlayStation 4. But before diving into this review, I did want to mention that I know Michael Tucker, one of the Producers for this highly-anticipated sequel, since he’s part of the crazy bunch over at 4colorrebellion. I actually interviewed Michael about Psychonauts 2, so be sure to check that out!
Before you can start the game, Psychonaut 2 presents to you a mental health advisory, that goes like this:
Psychonauts 2 contains artistic interpretations of serious mental conditions including addiction, PSTD, panic attacks, anxiety, and delusions. There are also images that may be upsetting to people with dental phobia. These conditions are usually presented in a light-hearted or even comical manner, but might sill be distressing to some players.
Ultimately, Psychonauts 2 is a game about empathy and healing. If you find yourself experiencing a negative reaction to this content, or if you need mental health resources, please visit TakeThis.org/mental-health-resources.
Psychonauts from the cooky mind of Tim Schafer was originally released for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox way back in 2005. It’s a psychedelic platformer that places you in the role of Razputin – Raz – a young boy with psychic abilities. Raz grew up in The Aquato Family Circus, a caravan of ragtag acrobats led by his parents. For the family, psychics – or fortune tellers – are bad, since they seem to have cursed all members of the Aquato family to die in water. Raz ends up at a summer camp for those with gifts similar to his, where he ends up becoming one of the Psychonauts – sort of.
The Psychonauts are an elite international espionage agency. Thanks to the help of superstar secret agents Sasha Nein and Milla Vodello, Raz was able to improve his abilities, learning new skills such as levitation and PSI blast, as well as learning telekinesis and pyro. It was thanks to these abilities that Raz was able to stop an evil plot from an evil man. All was well after this, but then we got Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin on PlayStation VR, a unique adventure in which you set out to rescue Truman Zannotto, the Grand Head of the Psychonauts!
You’ll learn about all of this during the intro recap video that Raz himself will narrate, so that you can be brought up to speed about everything that has happened before you boot up Psychonauts 2. Your first task for this sequel will be to follow Dr. Loboto, who the Psychonauts are trying to trick to reveal who his boss is. They do this by telling him he’s won a wonderful vacation package, and that all that he needs to do is get his boss to sign over the dotted line. While following Dr. Loboto, he’ll get a bit suspicious, so you’ll have to use your abilities to complete this tutorial segment.
You’ll move with the left analog stick, looking around with the right one as needed. You can jump and double jump with the X button, and can attack with the Square button. To dodge, press the Circle button. If you want to lock onto an enemy, just press in on the right analog stick! To be able to interact with objects or other characters, just press the Triangle button. There’s going to be a lot of psychic powers to use in this one, which will be set to the R2, R1, L2, and L1 buttons for PSI Powers 1 through 4.
When inside someone’s mind, you’ll be able to collect figments, which are littered all over the play in each mental work. Be sure to pick up as many as possible, since your rank will increase for every 100 you collect. If you’re low on mental health, you can use a PSI Pop by pressing down on the D-Pad, as long as you have one in your inventory. There is also an item that you can collect so that you revive when you run out of mental energy, which will be quite useful if you end up making one too many mistakes. You should also keep an eye out for any emotional baggage you can find during your journey. As all baggage, emotional baggage needs to be sorted. You can help by finding the corresponding lost tags for each one so that you can reunite them. For every five emotional baggage and tag pairs you reunite, you’ll gain a rank.
As you defeat enemies, you will obtain Psitanium, a psychoreactive material that is used by the Psychonauts as currency. That means you’ll be able to trade PSytanium for useful stuff, so collect as much as you can! Since Raz is only part of the Psychonauts intern program, there is lots to improve. As you earn intern credits and improve your rank, you’ll be able to also improve your PSI abilities by spending some of those credits. Improve your PSI Blast, and you’ll be able to charge it up and deal more damage. Boost your melee skills, and you’ll be able to dodge attack! You can also collect pins to tweak your PSI Powers, mixing and matching them based on your playing style. And the higher your rank, the more powerful the pins you can get.
There’s a ton of collectibles in Psychonauts 2. Along with the memory figments and the emotional baggage, you will also need to keep your eyes open for the PSI Challenge Cards! Find as any PSI Challenge Cards as possible, bring them to the OTTO-MATIC so that you can boost your rank. There will also be special PSI Markers that will boost you a whole rank right away! As expected, finding all collectibles is going to be part of the requirements for getting a new Platinum trophy for your collection! The good news is that only two of the trophies are missable, and that a big chunk of the collectibles can be obtained as you play the game, without having to go out of your way. There are going to be trophies for progressing through the game, but there are many trophies for completing side missions and quests, for increasing your rank up to 102, for acquiring all upgrades, for equipping your first pin, for purchasing all pins, and many more.
It’s been a long wait, but Psychonauts 2 has been worth it. It expands on everything that its prequel did and then some! The game looks and feels great on PlayStation 4, with the art style shining in every scene. The voice acting is superb, the story is as crazy as you’d expect, the gameplay is fun, and the journey is a chunky one that will keep you busy for many, many hours. Other than the loading times when entering a new stage, there’s really not much to complain about Psychonauts 2. The game is out now on PlayStation 4 with a $59.99 asking price, and you should add it to your collection today!
This Psychonauts 2 review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Double Fine.