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Psychonauts 2 (Series) Review

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Posted: 4 months ago, last updated today.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.

OverviewOverview

Psychonauts 2 is a running, jumping and puzzle solving game where you play Raz who has psychic abilities that let him delve into the minds of others. In the game, you control Raz as he enters their mental worlds and uses other Psi-Powers (telekinesis, pyrokinesis, and levitation) to survive.

Play is a combination of exploring, running and jumping to reach new areas and the use of your different psychic abilities to solve puzzles. Like the Mental Connection power that lets you interact with the world, engage with characters and traverse to new areas.

Psychonauts 2 picks up after the original Psychonauts, with Raz having just helped rescue head Psychonaut Truman Zanotto. You soon discover that the Psychonauts organization has been taken over by its second-in-command, and psychic research has been directed away from peacekeeping towards necromancy. You are soon called upon to use your powers to stop the change of tack before the secret plan is executed that will bring the murderous psychic villain, Maligula, back from the dead.

The original game has a checkered past. Considered a commercial failure but loved by critics for its characters and writing. It earned a cult following that has long been campaigning for this sequel. In 2015, developer Double Fine successfully crowdfunded $3,829,024 to develop the game.

Like the original, the sequel offers a combination of psychedelic environments, tight platforming, and involving characters to meet, fight and talk to. It's the Yellow Submarine of video games:
  • Psychonauts (2005) on Xbox, PC, PlayStation 2, Mac, PS4.
  • Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin (2017) is a first-person virtual reality adventure on the PlayStation 4 and PC for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. It is a point-and-click adventure that bridges the events between Psychonauts and Psychonauts 2.
  • Psychonauts 2 (2021) PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S PC, Mac,

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 25/08/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS2, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: @DoubleFine

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 14 hours and 17 hours to complete.
 
Players: This is a single player game.

CostsCosts

Psychonauts 2 usually costs £8.99 to £15.49.
 

Psychonauts

Xbox One £9.19
PS4 £8.99

Psychonauts In The Rhombus Of Ruin

PS4 £15.49
 
Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Psychonauts 2 is rated PEGI 7 because it features mild violence that lacks any apparent harm or injury to human and fantasy characters. Characters can be punched, hit with objects or attacked using various psychic abilities. Reactions to violence are unrealistic: impacts often result in flashes and stars appearing above characters, without any blood or injury detail. When enemies are defeated, they disappear, sometimes in clouds of smoke. In one comic scene, a watermelon slices runs around inside a blender, before being turned into a smoothie.

Some scenes may be scary to younger children, including one in which the main character is kidnapped by a giant enemy and dropped into a vortex. He panics for a while until he realises that his levitation powers will allow him to escape. In one sequence, the central character enters the mind of another. This takes the form of a hospital which has been distorted into a casino. Although characters are seen at gambling tables and machines, the player does not take part in any gambling and the sequence does not glamorise gambling or offer any specific instruction in gambling. There is some very mild comic innuendo and the occasional sight of characters holding cigarettes or cigars.

In addition to the official ratings it's worth noting there is a scene in a betting shop where you have to place bets with the right odds to win the currency you need. We contacted the VSC Rating Board for clarification as this usually has a PEGI 18 rating.

"Psychonauts 2 does not meet the criteria for either teaching or glamorising gambling. There is nothing of any real-world value taught about gambling in the game. Indeed, the player is not invited to participate in gambling in any conventional sense. Rather, the player is tasked with various platforming-style challenges that have the specific objective of undermining what are shown to be both rigged and highly fantastical gambling set-ups. Crucially, the skills being deployed by the player are conventional gaming skills, rather than gambling skills, and there is nothing taught about gambling beyond the fact that it is possible to place bets on uncertain outcomes, which is merely the definition of gambling."

"There is a strong emphasis throughout, in comments made by the main character and by others, including gambling staff and customers, that gambling can be a harmful activity, that odds can look better than they are, and that making unrealistic assumptions about success is foolish. This is the opposite of glamorisation."

ESRB TEEN for Alcohol Reference, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco. Players search an organization's headquarters for clues and project themselves into the minds of others to free victims from mental/emotional imprisonment. As players traverse platform environments, they use psychic abilities (e.g., pyrokinesis, telekinesis) to defeat boss creatures and manifestations of negative emotions (e.g., panic attack, regret). Battles are sometimes frenetic, accompanied by screen-shaking effects, explosions, and cries of pain. During one boss encounter, players use punches and flames during one-on-one combat. The game contains some suggestive innuendo in the dialogue (e.g., “Oh, they are definitely doing it”; “Trying to have a baby is exhausting”/“Well it does have its fun bits”; “We used to sneak in here and fool around on the beanbags”; “…he was so understanding about our affair.”). Some characters are depicted smoking cigars and cigarettes; some sequences reference alcohol (e.g., “Time for one more beer before we die”; “Triple Whiskey Smooth-Out, and make it quick”; “Try our home-brewed maple beer”). The word “a*s” is heard in the dialogue.

AccessibilityAccessibility

You can adjust the difficulty by opting to turn of Fall Damage, turn on being invincible or select Narrative combat to increase the amount of damage you do.

As well as remapping buttons you can map multiple buttons to a single button, which with careful selecting can reduce the number of buttons you require. You can opt to press jump three times to glide, rather than having to press a second button after the jump button to glide. You can opt for a fourth button press to automatically go into Levitation Ball.

You can opt to Lock On in combat with a press, hold or hybrid of the two. Accessing the Radial menu also has the same option of a press, hold or hybird.
 
Our Psychonauts 2 Accessibility Report details 23 accessibility features:


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