surreal sequel to mind-bending cult classic is a magical mystery tour de force

At this point, it is only fair to point out that you should really play Psychonauts 2 with as little previous knowledge of these levels as possible. Befitting a game fixated on exploring the power of the mind, Schafer and his creative team have created a magical mystery tour de force and finding out where their collective imagination will take you next is a delight that doesn’t should be clouded in advance.

In a genre where risk-taking often boils down to involving both a lava level and an arctic level, Psychonauts 2’s twisted interpretations of less well-travelled tropes such as TV game shows, animatronic amusement park rides, and acid rock festivals sting 70’s stick out like psychedelic thumbs. And the hits keep coming. Each environment is more exciting than the one before, and the anticipation of what’s next lingers until the credits roll.

It’s also an artistic feat that could only exist as a video game. Psychonauts 2 insanely deconstructs the medium at every turn, treating perspective, scale and interactivity as additional variables to be adjusted to add an arrhythmic emphasis to the story’s beats. Delightfully disorienting but rarely groundless, the fluctuations in form and function serve the needs of the narrative in a way reminiscent of the incomparable What Remains of Edith Finch.

Don’t be fooled by the game’s kid-friendly Saturday morning TV aesthetic, either; this is just as cartoonish as The Amazing World of Gumball, Regular Show, or Adventure Time. Psychonauts 2 is sharply written, confident, and not afraid to plunge into the dark when needed.

Amidst the many laughs are surprisingly nuanced explorations of mental illnesses like addiction, anxiety, and PTSD — albeit with a degree of frivolity in the form of anthropomorphized enemies like panic attacks, bad moods, and enablers. The criticism is that the first game took a whiff of such things to seem to have been taken on board lightly, with less emphasis on properly “fixing” characters’ problems and instead producing more overt results (although the maligned “emotional baggage” collectibles return).

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gaming/features/psychonauts-2-review-surreal-sequel-mind-bending-cult-classic/ surreal sequel to mind-bending cult classic is a magical mystery tour de force


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