Psychonauts 2 Xbox Series X Review

Despite missing for so long Raz's return to the gaming world in Psychonauts 2 is one worthy of major cheer.

By Grayshadow, Posted 23 Sep 2021

Psychonauts 2 has been a long time coming and was well worth the wait. An outstanding action platformer that captures the magic of the original while improving on many of its core features. Double Fine has done an outstanding job of remaining true to the original while modernizing certain aspects to better complement changing tastes. Psychonauts 2 is simply brilliant and one of the best games of 2021.
 

Psychonauts 2,NoobFeed,Double Fine Productions,
 

Taking place days after the original Psychonauts and directly after the events of Rhombus of Ruin Raz finds himself at the Psychonauts HQ called the Motherlobe. Despite his successes, Raz must start from the bottom and is placed into the internship program but slowly begins to uncover that not all is right at the Psychonauts HQ. Learning of a mole within the organization and that his family's roots are deeper than he could imagine.

In addition to the returning cast Psychonauts 2 features a massive staff of new characters. This includes fellow interns who are not thrilled by Raz's sudden joining and high-class Psychonauts who also serve as new teachers. The writing still has that Double Fine quality, with the writers knowing when to crack a joke and to be serious. Adding to the mix are multiple dialogue options that allow the player to determine if they want to hear everything the NPC has to say or progress quickly. This can also be a problem as many of the characters do quickly get pushed into the background for optional content once they've played their role in the main story. During the final battle many characters I haven't seen for a while just make an appearance.

Animations and voice-acting are incredible. While the voice acting in the original Psychonauts still holds up today the animation is dated which Double Fine has updated drastically in the sequel. Character models are more fleshed out and have better facial expressions. Textures can take a bit longer to load in but this is a small complaint. As someone who played Psychonauts recently, jumping into this game highlighted how much technology has advanced. This includes better controls.
 

Psychonauts 2,NoobFeed,Double Fine Productions,
 

The original game didn't have the best combat system and here Double Fine has refined them for the better. Melee combat is much more fluid and the lock-on system offers better targeting. This includes Raz's movement which has been improved from the original with better jumping, easier acrobatics, and grinding. Picking from your psychic abilities is easier than ever and you can swap them out for any of the 4 shoulder buttons at any time. If you're having trouble accessibility options are available to adhere to most mobility limitations.

Unlike the first game, Psychonauts 2 includes larger open areas to explore. Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp was large but Psychonauts 2 includes multiple large areas to explore. This includes the Psychonauts HQ in addition to a large forest. Everything has that custom detail to it as you venture from 1 area to the next. The desire for exploration complements the collectable system that allows Raz to upgrade his abilities and get new upgrades.

Collectables in games serve as a way to extend the life of a title but in the modern era, gamers want these things to do more, either offering more story or some sort of enhancement. Thankfully Psychonauts 2 encourages collecting the many collectables by offering Raz several ways to upgrade. This includes pins that can be purchased to boost skills, upgraded psychic abilities made possible through leveling, and Psychonaut ranks that unlock the ability to level up your skills. To keep this from getting tedious Double Fine made getting these collectables an adventure in themselves. Placing items in areas outside the main story and the constant desire to upgrade encourages players to go out and explore.
 

Psychonauts 2,NoobFeed,Double Fine Productions,
 

The minds of the people you'll encounter remain the highlight for Psychonauts 2 as they did in the original. Each stage is fashioned based on the person's personality. Highlighting the person's interests, insecurities, and difficulties. Best of all is that the adventure highlights how dangerous a Psychonaut can be to the person they're trying to help. Showcasing entire personalities being rewritten without the other person knowing for selfish reasons, even seasoned Psychonauts. Figments still project collectable thoughts of the person's minds but I wish these would gravitate towards the player if you get close enough instead of having to make direct contact.

Returning enemies such as censors are joined with new threats such as Enablers that protect other enemies and many more. The boss fights are definitely a treat and each mind ends with one of these marvelous battles. They're not the most challenging fights but they're dramatic that highlight the mind of the person you're in. Showcasing the person's desires, guilt, and many other feelings.

As before you can revisit older minds through the Collective Unconscious. This is strongly encouraged since you won't have access to all the skills to get every collectable. 

This doesn't mean Psychonauts 2 is free from issues. Dialogue can be cut out if another thing is spoken during critical in-game scenes. Raz will also start his idle animation way too soon during inactive moments, requiring me to run in circles to prevent this from happening when speaking to an NPC. I also wish there were more fast-travel stations, especially around the woods.
 

Psychonauts 2,NoobFeed,Double Fine Productions,
 

Psychonauts 2 is a classic platforming experience made for modern gamers. It captures the cult classic and delivers an exceptional adventure that goes beyond what the original accomplished. Delivering creative levels and imaginative boss fights along with phenomenal characters within a delightfully charming tale that has both humor and depth to it. Despite missing for so long Raz's return to the gaming world in Psychonauts 2 is one worthy of major cheer.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Psychonauts 2

95/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Xbox Game Studios
Developer(s): Double Fine Entertainment
Genres: Adventure
Themes: Platforming
Release Date: 2021-08-24

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