Another game out at E3 that has had an interesting journey has to have been Psychonauts 2. Originally going for crowdfunding, then funded by another source, and now Double Fine has been brought into the Microsoft Studios family. None of which is all that important as there was little worry this game was going to be made after the initial funding goal was reached. Why we are here, though, is that the hard marketing push is out there and Psychonauts 2 was out at E3 this year to give us all a better look at just what we can expect and how the game may have changed from what we knew before. Thankfully, nothing has changed in this time in terms of the platforms the game will launch on.
To kick things off for Psychonauts 2, all of the charm and "weirdness" the franchise is known for is back here. The story picks up after the original and In The Rhombus of Ruin and dives in to find out who may be a mole in the organization. In the demo I had a chance to see, we were invading the mind of Dr. Loboto to find out who his boss is through all kinds of various tricks. Unfortunately, we are in the mind of a demented dentist and things start to go sideways as Raz and his team try to follow along and see who the shadow villain of Psychonauts 2 is going to be. Most of which you can get from the trailer that was released for the game before E3.
Psychonauts 2 — First Gameplay
Psychonauts 2 will still be coming to *ALL* promised platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and of course — Xbox :)
If you were hoping to see the platforming back in here for Psychonauts 2, then you can sit back and know that it is truly coming back and back with a force. It is the core of the franchise to date and now we get to mix in the acrobatics that Raz should be known for. They tried to highlight it a bit in live play, but it truly felt like how things should normally flow in the current state of platforming games. Not in a bad way, but it did not feel like there was anything that was pushing things. It has been a while since the original Psychonauts, so this could be a vast improvement from the original, but it all truly felt like what we should expect for a modern game.
The next big thing that was highlighted in this demo were all of the different abilities and skills in Raz's arsenal. All of which shown off in a usual tutorial progression where each new section inserted more of the interesting enemies based on the psychic simulation. There was some pyrokinesis and telekinesis in there to be used on their specific enemies in the mission. None of which were required, from what I saw, to bring them all the way down but obviously made the fight a bit easier. "Doubts" fly in carrying heavy weights that can be ripped from their arms and thrown back, or some ooze type enemies slither in and require some fire to take them out. The usual tropes one would expect but with the great humor of the Psychonauts franchise.
One of the more amazing parts of this Psychonauts 2 demo had to be the level design and how they flowed in the game. Unlike other games that force some vertical style jumping or weird running in a different visuals dimension all fit and flowed smoothly from one to another. In the below trailer you can see that with the room stretching section or in one part where gravity is changed in the mindscape and instead of running around cubicles, Raz needs to use them as different platforms. This happened quite a bit in the demo and always seemed to fit in instead of being an extra hurdle just to mess with the Psychonauts fans. In the best mind-bending ways all of us should expect here.
Psychonauts 2 — E3 2019 Gameplay Demo
It may sound like I am a bit underwhelmed when it came to Psychonauts 2, but this demo did get my interests even higher in it all. Even if it does not feel, at this point, that Double Fine is pushing the platforming genre too much, that is not why we should look to this game. It looks to be a perfect blending of the humor the studio is known for and a solid looking gameplay experience. It only hurts that we still need to wait until next year to be able to play Psychonauts 2 on the PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.