Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Psychonauts - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

A Psychic Odyssey Through the Minds of Misfits, Monsters, and Madmen.

This classic action/adventure platformer from acclaimed developers Double Fine Productions follows the story of a young psychic named Razputin. In his quest to join the Psychonauts--an elite group of international psychic secret agents--he breaks into their secret training facility: Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. But this is no average psychic summer camp! A mysterious villain has kidnapped Raz’s fellow campers and stolen their brains. Now he must use his psychic powers of Telekinesis, Levitation, and most of all his ability to project himself into the minds of others--to find the loose noodles and keep them from falling into the wrong hands. Fight mental demons! Uncover hidden memories! Sort emotional baggage! Explore the fantastic realm of the inner mind! Join the Psychonauts!

Previous Playtime

0 hours

What Was I Thinking When I Bought This

When you follow video game reporting for a long enough time, certain names keep popping up. They get cited as particularly fun or innovative or influential, and the sheer repetition gives them a kind of mystique, particularly if they didn't do too well commercially. It makes them seem like a secret known only to the savvy. A hidden treasure, unearthed by a kind of cultural inheritance among your fellow devotees.

One of those names was "Psychonauts." So I waited until it went on sale and I bought it.

Expectations and Prior Experience

I don't know what to expect. Can it possibly live up to the hype? Probably not, but then I played other Double Fine games and really enjoyed them. Brutal Legend was a wondrous concoction of hilarious humor, deftly executed with yet-to-be-surpassed world design and an unforgettable cast of characters. And Broken Age was a delightful storybook world brought to life with such stellar voice work and art design that it made the whole "humorous yet bittersweet coming of age sci-fi/fantasy story" look effortless.

However, if I put aside my emotional reactions to the games' stories, I have to admit that they both had some slight issues as games. In particular, their back halves just kind of fell apart and even at their best, the gameplay itself felt a little thin (and at their worst, it felt like a chore you had to sit through in order to get to more story).

I guess my expectation is that Psychonauts will burrow itself directly into the "adorable whimsy" part of my brain and I will subsequently overlook a lot of substandard platforming in the name of enjoying its wonderful writing.

1 comment:

  1. That's about accurate. Though I thought (most of) the platforming was just dandy.