Game of the Week #8 – Top 5 Favorite Games – Psychonauts

From the years of about 2003 – 2012, my family owned an Xbox, first gen. My dad had a friend at his work who could mod our Xbox so we could burn games to the hard drive. At my brother’s request, that’s exactly what he did. So, during the entire duration of owning the Xbox that I can remember, we never bought games for it. We would go to Blockbuster on a fairly regular basis and rent games, and if we liked them, we would just burn it, return it, and play the game for as long as we wanted. Illegal, yes, but fun and convenient, definitely yes. Many of my first and most fond gaming memories came from that Xbox.

One of those memories was playing Psychonauts. Psychonauts is one of the most imaginative, fun, and funny games I’ve ever played, a game that hits on most fronts with flying colors. Aside from a few notable flaws, I can say without hesitation that this game will likely never be dethroned by another (unless they come out with a sequel, Notch), and this is why you should play it.

psychonauts header

 

Actually, no. Buy it. The Steam Indie Spring Sale is going on, and it’s $5, normally $10. What are you going to do, miss out on a burger from Wendy’s?

…What, you want to know why this game is so awesome? Has my flawless judgment ever failed you? Fine, whatever, I’ll put forth effort just for you.

For a moment, I’d just like you to contemplate the following statement, and why it’s cool/strange/fantasy-fufilling/or whatnot.

Psychonauts is a game about a ten-year-old carney runaway to a summer camp for psychics who wishes to fulfill a lifelong dream about becoming a Psychonaut, a member of an elite international spy-squad who infiltrates people’s minds.

Convinced you need to buy it? Still no? *sigh*

During the course of your fantastical adventure, you do exactly that, travel into people’s minds to fix their problems and stop an evil plot that involves brain-stealing dentists and generals with wild delusions of world domination.

Double Fine’s writers are some of the best game writers on the planet, and Tim Schafer is one of the most imaginative guys you will ever hear of. Not only is the game’s premise fascinating, the characters and dialogue are too. Everyone in the game has a unique personality, backstory, quirks, and design. Each are also all given a heaping pile of hilarious dialogue to flesh them out.  I can promise you you’ll be laughing during at least 30% of the game, which is a pretty high percentage if you ask me, especially considering it’s not a comedy. The only thing I’m not that fond of is the ending that has the lamest plot twist ever, which basically is, “the person who you thought was bad is good and the good guy is bad”. Weak. If you look at the rest of the game however, it’s delightful. Most of the interesting parts of the story are encapsulated in people’s minds, and aren’t really related to the story arch. For instance,  in one man’s mind you help him overcome his self-defeating demeanor by winning a strategy game against his distant relative, Napoleon (who also is colored blue and may or may not be an actual relative). In another, you have to help a woman get over her trauma of her childhood and her crippling fear of judgment by defeating a Phantom of the Opera-esqe villain and rendering an overly-critical critic powerless.

Writing aside, the game’s mechanics are pretty decent, although not nearly as polished as the story. The game can be classified under ‘action adventure’ or ‘action platformer’, whichever you prefer. Throughout the game you gather various psychic powers, such as pyrokinesis, telekinesis, levitation, and clairvoyance. Most of the game’s puzzles revolve around creative use of one or more of these powers.  The platforming part of the game is not terrible, but not particularly great. It’s no Super Mario Galaxy, but it does the job and mostly isn’t a nuisance. Overall, the mechanics aren’t bad in any sense, but a lot of the time they are out shined by the writing.

That being said, it’s still fun even with it’s flaws, and that’s all that matters, right?

I’ll repeat what I said above. BUY THIS GAME. Just do it, I can guarantee you wont regret it. In a market full of sub-par Call of Battlefield 7’s, it’s worth your time just for the fact that it’s something different alone.

Have fun!

Score:

15265280 fans/ 67286111 shipping crates

 

DO IT, DAMMIT. I WASN’T JOKING.

 

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  1. #1 by Sam Hale on March 29, 2013 - 2:17 pm

    I first played Psychonauts a few years ago on the 360. I have to say it’s one of the more well-designed and unique games I have ever played. A lot of hard work went into it and it shows. It’s a terrible thing that this game failed to sell because it is so well made and very fun. Hopefully we’ll get a sequel one of these days.

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