Psychotherapy 2, Review. An Inadvertent Journey Through The Mind
Tim Schafer closes his most intimate work with a unique way of exploring the human subconscious. We review the keys to your Raz Aquato inadvertent journey.
With the twentieth century taking its last blow, no one in their right mind could have imagined that Tim Schafer, the creator of the classics, liked it. The Secret of Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion 2: Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango, would end its fruitful relationship with LucasArts. It was in 2000 that the two parties decided to separate their paths, although Schafer already remembered what would be reflected five years later in his most personal work: Psychotherapy, the first project launched by Double Fine Productions, a self – founded studio that is two decades behind today.
Despite not being commercially successful with the title, it has managed to find a place in the hearts of those who have pledged the trust of its author: exploring the limits of the human mind with the aim of alleviating – as far as possible – the predation caused by mental disorders – a problem that affects millions of people worldwide. With a powerful background message and a most surreal facial, Psychonauts put the shoes on Razputin Aquato, the ten-year-old boy and member of a circus family who managed to surprise everyone during his visit at Whispering Rock, a summer camp for aspiring Psychotherapists. Today, more than fifteen years later, the time has come to discover what it is now; time to enjoy Psychotherapy 2.
From aspiring to intern
Psychonauts is an organization dedicated to exploration of the human mind; They navigate their thoughts and never intend to force them to change their way of thinking, or to cure irreversible illnesses. Instead, their main purpose is to organize their thoughts and confront the demons that inhabit them, find a way to achieve peace and facilitate them to survive their problems. And we, who play the excellent Raz, are about to gain an exciting, valuable and worthwhile position in the organization. As an intern, yes, although they assured us that they will give us a lot of diffusion. How eager to start working!
It needs to be made clear, although that is true you can enjoy the title even without touching the original delivery, the plot is much more interesting if we know about the past events. Fortunately, the history of Raz, his family and the Psychonauts during the first bars of the game is summarized through a short but effective summary, which gives us a clear vision of what happened between the end of one and the beginning of another. In addition, as we progress, we establish links that help close the circle; Psychonauts 2 has a much more complex script than you can imagine when it sees its colorful appearance, sinuous forms and the sheer amount of funny scenarios that accompany us during the journey.
Tim Schafer was clear about the purpose of this sequel: to offer an interesting plot that prepares the most powerful secret government organizations, without giving up the development of Raz and his family, and under a strange curse condemning their death. . The two elements combine perfectly and the result could not be more positive; we are confronted with a title that conceals, rather than its obvious merits at first glance a script that can keep us glued to the screen to the end. Of course, there’s no lack of surprise, or a tall villain’s invasion … though we do not want to tell you too much about it. Well, we can tell you that it serves the name Maligula. And it’s very scary!
Talking about Psychonauts 2 is talking about one of the most diverse video games we’ve seen so far this year. And what it is, apart from its fascinating history, is that its insurmountable sense of humor and artistic direction brilliant, a hidden adventure that does everything: platform, explore and search for secrets – there is no lack of backup – freedom of action to visit many previously completed puzzles and minigames, battles against huge end bosses … Sometimes set it reminds us to the golden age in which the genre lived during the 32-bit and 128-bit generations, the one we all remember by proper names like Spyro the Dragon, Banjo-Kazooie or Jak and Daxter: Legacy of the Antecedents, among other things. Of course, Double Fine is a title that has a much higher narrative load than any of them.
In the insights we offered you a few months ago, we told you about Dr. Loboto’s Labyrinth, one of the various mental worlds in the game. These environments are surreal projections of certain character ideas, and are presented as closed or linear levels necessary to advance the story. There are many secrets hidden in them, they give them freedom to explore and when they are finished we have the opportunity to visit them again. By entering Loboto’s subconscious we can gain an insight into the a waste of imagination making Psychonauts 2 a very exciting experience, since all scenarios have a very defined theme, and within it, a real factory of ideas. Do we get into the mind of an incredible dentist? Then the teeth are the platforms on which we jump, the gum veins the rails on which we slide and the saliva, liquid puddles that we finish with the slightest touch. It’s not as scary as the first time we go to the dentist, but it’s not advisable to trust us either.
The play structure of these worlds is very basic, because they are designed to go on and the right path is easy to find, although we often come across various puzzles that require us to use a wide range of skills: moving things with the mind, setting structures on fire, gliding or gymnastics over a kind of energy sphere … and other strangers who prefer not to expose them to you, but we can make sure there are plenty and they are very well used. Furthermore, within these places that create the fear of the subconscious in which they are, the enemies seem to have to face us, at which point the game presents a combat system that we will talk about a bit below.
Outside of these levels, the commitment to open environments they work in a similar way to sandbox; They are large in size, contain endless secrets and always invite us to explore them conscientiously, especially as we progress and acquire new abilities that allow us to reach places that were previously inaccessible. . Also, side missions that certain characters commission us to help keep our interest in everything in every field. These fields come from pearls to disconnect them from the intense rhythm of the mental worlds; they are very entertaining and always have something to offer.
To protect the huge amount of collection items waiting for us in each case, the game uses a successful progression system based on Raz skills development. The level of characters is reflected in the scholarship phase of the organization; the higher the value, the more improvements we can get for each skill. To do this, we need to collect hundreds of imaginations (those striking colored silhouettes we already saw in the original delivery), as well as other more valuable elements that allow us to go up quickly. Thanks to Notebook, which allows us to consult with information about the secondary missions or the progress of each area, we can consult at any time what our next step is.
Going back to combat systemIt has to be said that it is very basic, very basic, although for that reason it is not a bit functional. On the one hand, on a physical level we hardly have to worry about pushing the attack button or the dodge button, depending on the moment. On the other hand, not only are the vast majority of the mental skills we learn useful for exploration; They also provide us with huge offensive potential: with pyrotechnics we can burn our competitors, and telekinesis allows us to grab objects from the stage and throw them violently towards them. There are many combinations, though the simplicity of the enemies, as well as the limited variety of them, complete one of the most striking elements of the title. Psychonauts 2 does a lot of things right, and this is not one of them.
The game has two problems that prevent him from reaching the A: the excessive repetition of some mechanics and the abuse that some long – term fights can have. First of all, it’s so true that the variety of mechanics is so amazing, so often so it is a mistake to present one and claim it over and over again; It was not necessary to repeat the same scenario five times on the same level, since there are several sections where the rhythm drops and jeopardizes experiences that generally meet expectations.
It’s not perfect, but it’s very special
Secondly, scarce supply are elements in terms of enemies and opponents that create some waves and these are a procedure that ends a fight. As we commented a little above, the battles are simple and functional, but redundant basesConsidering in particular that the pay for taking down our competitors is often prominent because it does not exist. We believe that some situations could be resolved without resorting to a few minutes’ lock-and-fight fighting enemies that had already been defeated several times before. Fortunately, the originality that makes its way as soon as it’s time to face the final bosses alone works to keep the interest active.
Similarly, it must be said that a few shades are not enough to hide the myriad lights of Psychotherapy 2.. explore every corner of the stage and try to get 100% (something you can carry around 15 hours game), and because it’s a worthwhile stranger to find work with such an overbearing personality. Double Fine – directed by Tim Schafer – created nothing more and nothing less, the perfect sequel to a true culture game. If we had to imagine the continuation of Psychonauts in 2005, we would have signed something like this.
Psychonauts 2, simple and straightforward, is the sequel that any fan of the original has been dreaming of for over fifteen years. Not only did Double Fine retain the main hallmarks of the work; It has also boosted the heights of ambition and has hit the key with putting together a very diverse set. Platforms, opponents, puzzles, exploration … Practically everything works perfectly, although the low variety of enemies and excessive repetition of some mechanics keep it from being outstanding. An episode marked by the themes he deals with, the extraterrestrial way in which he does it and which any player can enjoy, even if they have never known the first installment. Raz is back, and will not leave anyone indifferent.