The original Psychonauts was an underrated gem fourteen years ago and delivered one of the most imaginative 3D platformers of its time. It was a shining light when it came to humor and featured a unique world with characters who were a bit left of normal and a tad odd. The world-building done by Double Fine gave the game a zany quality that few had seen before and even less have had since, with mental issues taking the form of stage designs and giving you insight into the lives of the characters whose minds you explored. The sequel is set right after the first, taking place only three days later. Now, Raz is a part of Psychonauts and sees that his dream has now become a bit of a nightmare. Life as a Psychonaut isn’t quite what he expected and now he has to save the group he fought so hard to join.
Many wondered if there would ever be a sequel to the original, and thanks to the crowdfunding/investment platform Fig, that worry was put to rest. The game hit its funding goal and has been in the works ever since. At E3, the world got a chance to see Raz in motion and we can see that once again, stages are based on psyches. The dental-themed stage in particular shined, with individual teeth being used at platforms. The high level of detail was impressive too, with each tooth beautifully reflecting light. World design is at the forefront of what made the first so entertaining and that trend looks to be continuing with the sequel.
The feel of the original game is hard to quantify, but it’s clearly kept in the sequel. Having it take place right after the first is a smart move and keeps the narrative intact. What’s really impressive is how perfectly in-line the graphics look with what we got years ago and how much better the sequel looks than the first while still keeping the visual style in line with the original. It’s often said that a sequel can’t top the original, but Psychonauts 2 looks promising and may just very well do that. Despite Double Fine’s recent acquisition by Microsoft, the game will still be released on the PlayStation 4 and PC alongside the Xbox One.