Fortunately, the times when psychonauts were traded as an insider tip are over. Word has long got around that the game by Tim Schafer (Brütal Legend) is much more than a colorful jump ‘n’ run. With great characters, crazy levels and umpteen memorable scenes, Psychonauts is now considered a creative fireworks display with a cult character. Nevertheless, the fans had to wait almost 16 years for a real successor! But how do you continue the story after such a long time? Will the charm of the original be retained? Does the concept ignite a second time? We have Psychonauts 2 (buy now 69,99 € ) Played for hours in advance and know: This successor is on the right track!
As if it was yesterday
Psychonauts 2 starts just a few days after the first part and is directly linked to the VR hit Rhombus of Ruin. This is great for fans, because for them it feels like the 16-year waiting period has practically never existed. Those who do not even know the first Psychonauts, on the other hand, will hardly understand every swipe and every crazy detail. At least there is a nice video summary for career changers, which squeezes everything important in a few minutes – that’s worth a lot.
We slip back into the shoes of Raz, a psychologically gifted boy and circus artist who dreams of becoming a member of the Psychonauts. This legendary secret service agency is in a tight spot this time: A mole from within its own ranks is trying to raise a mass-murdering super villain named Maligula from the dead – of course, Raz and his friends want to prevent that at all costs. To do this, however, they need important information that is deeply hidden in the minds of their former enemy: The mentally damaged Doctor Loboto, who appeared in the first game as a brain-robbing horror dentist. The developers stage this tutorial level in the best Psychonauts manner: It starts in a harmless office environment, but within minutes gravity is upside down, entire parts of the level tilt to the side or morph into each other, are suddenly penetrated by pulsating gums, until you finally jump and Climbing sections on rotating braces and dental bridges as if it were the most natural thing in the world – wonderful!
Quelle: Double Fine
Psychonauts 2 is based on
Quelle: Xbox Game Studios
the Unreal Engine 4, but the developers still manage to capture the feel of the original perfectly. Regardless of whether you run, jump, climb or balance on a ball of psycho-energy, the controls are very reminiscent of the previous one. Raz now has a quick evasive role and has learned a wall jump, but the rest more or less stays the same. And that means: Even if everything now feels much smoother than in the predecessor, there are also a few unsteady jump inserts, the camera is not always ideally placed and occasionally you end up involuntarily in the abyss – that’s how we know (and love) psychonauts.
This also applies to the graphics, because you can expect the same flashy-colorful character design as 16 years ago. Technically, Psychonauts 2 is not a big hit, but it makes up for it with its playful comic look, beautiful lighting and pretty animations. There is also the usual strong background music from LucasArts veteran Peter McConnell, which creates a good atmosphere.
Fans of the previous games can also look forward to seeing old friends again: All the important characters such as Lilly, Coach Oleander, Sasha Nein and Milla Vodello are back on board and, like Raz, are set to music by their original English speakers. You will only have to do without the German voice output this time, in Psychonauts 2 only the texts and subtitles were translated.
After the tutorial level, Raz and his companions arrive at the headquarters of the Psychonauts. This is what fans have been waiting for! Here, in the so-called central brain, Raz has to start all over again as an intern, so many areas are initially closed to him. Nevertheless, we were able to explore a lot, meet other agents and trainers and dive deeper into the cart. Particularly nice: The area is populated by dozens of NPCs who contribute comments and fill the level with life – similar to the cozy Whispering Rock from the previous game.
Quelle: Double Fine
Raz’s training as a super spy begins in Agent Forsythe’s classroom, the deputy boss. She takes the students into her world of thoughts, a shimmering purple level construct in which we get to know the first real innovation of the game: the ability “Mental Connection”. This allows Raz to hold on to free-floating anchor points and shimmy through certain level areas. But the psi power can do even more: Every now and then we come across thought bubbles that can be connected via the anchor points, so that a person’s opinion can simply be turned inside out. And so it happens as it has to: Raz messes with Forsythe’s mind – with fatal consequences.
No sooner has Raz realized his mistake than he and his friends jet off on their first mission together: they are supposed to look around a casino for new clues. But Agent Forsythe promptly became addicted to gambling and the mission threatens to crash. Time to act! Raz enters the chaos of thought of his teacher again, which this time presents itself as a cleverly designed mixture of gambling hell and brightly colored hospital. We find out the reason for this from mind safes that are hidden in the levels and hide secret fears and memories of a person. As in the previous game, these scenes are only presented in black and white drawings, without music, without text – for Double Fine it is also important this time to present trauma and mental illnesses with a certain seriousness. That works great again!
Quelle: Double Fine
At the end of the level, Forsythe’s gambling addiction manifests itself in the form of a huge, brightly colored octopus. The boss fight takes place in three phases, Raz has to dodge attacks, throw bombs at vulnerable areas and thus expose the heart of the “lucky topus”. It doesn’t play demanding, but it is nicely staged – the lame bosses from the previous game look very old in comparison.
Greatly improved fights
One of the weak points of the first psychonaut was the fighting, which is why the developers have made major improvements here. Raz’s punches and mind shots have noticeably more power, and he can react much more quickly with his evasive jump. But his enemies also master new tricks. So the opponents are now noticeably faster, even the simple censors rush aggressively towards us. And there are new types of opponents who can no longer be defeated by simply hitting them.
Quelle: Double Fine
After a while, for example, “Bad Influence” interferes in the scuffle – a nimble brainwave that supports its colleagues with buffs and simply evades attacks. This is the best place to use Raz’s new time bubble power, which slows down enemies and objects, so you can land a few sensitive hits. Other opponents are particularly sensitive to fire. And against the new, strong judges, it is best to use the telekinesis ability, with which you simply tear the hammer out of their hands and hurl it at them.
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