Psychonauts 2 is the long waited sequel to Psychonauts developed by Double Fine Productions. As part of Culture of Gaming’s E3 2019 coverage, we sat down for a 30 minute gameplay demo of Psychonauts 2, and can share some preliminary details for fans of the series, or any newcomers maybe interested in checking out the world of Psychonauts.

Clear Upgrade

The first feeling I had when seeing Psychonauts 2 was how familiar it felt to the first game. The iconic graphical style and character design felt true and uncompromised. The other big stand out was how mechanically similar the gameplay felt. Yet, more of the same isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Don’t mistake Psychonauts 2 being too similar to the first game as a bad thing. The clear change was in the refinement of everything. The platforming, combat mechanics, and humor are once again familiar feeling, but appear more refined. And that’s really where Psychonauts 2 shines. Psychonauts 2 feels like a clear upgrade and refinement to the first game, and of course the game is all the better for it. Fans of the first game will feel right at home in Psychonauts 2.

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Picking Up Where We Left Off

Story wise, Psychonauts 2 seems like an almost direct continuation of Psychonauts, with the main character Raz now working for the Psychonauts, and Lili’s dad, Truman Zanotto (who also happens to be the head of the Psychonauts) remains missing, as he was kidnapped near the end of the first game. Psychonauts 2 seemingly kicks off with the Psychonauts organization pursuing any leads they can to get Zanotto back.

The level Culture of Gaming got demonstrated follows Raz as he and the other Psychonauts try to oust a suspected mole who has infiltrated the organization. An aptly named “Morale Corral” is held for the company, where awards like “Employee of the Year” are given out. The character Sasha presents the award to the suspected mole, and with the award, comes an all expenses paid tropical vacation. But there’s a catch.

Sasha includes a form that the suspected mole must get signed by their manager for vacation time. This noticeably irritates the suspect. Raz tries to stealthily tail the suspect back to his lab, to figure out who he works for. Things go awry as the suspect notices Raz, and the real meat of the level begins. Players are transported from the normal world into the psyche of the suspect. A very odd, but incredibly well done theme of dentistry. Collectibles range from outlines of teeth to outlines of surgical elements.

Several enemies are introduced, as well as a humorous pair of cigar smoking flying teeth, as players are introduced to the range of combat Psychonauts 2 offers. The player is given a melee and ranged attack, as well as various psychic abilities like telekinesis and a pyromancy ability. Players will need to work their way through the level, ocasionally needing to stop and either fight enemies or solve mild logic possible with the various psyche abilities.

A slew of primary characters are introduced throughout this level as well. It’d be safe to assume these characters will help Raz throughout the journey of this game, as throughout the level they introduce Raz to the various abilities of Psychonauts 2.

Closing Thoughts

I quite liked Psychonauts 2. It seems to capitalize on what made the first game successful, and takes said winning formula and cranks it up to eleven. Players of the first title will feel right at home. Furthermore, the developers seem incredibly passionate about the project.

For more E3 2019 Coverage, keep it here at Culture of Gaming where we’ll bring you more written as well as video content from the show floor.

Special thank you for Performance Lab for sponsoring our trip, as well as a thank you to Double Fine Productions for showing us Psychonauts 2.

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