Review by ahoude
Judging a video game by its cover did not prove to be the best evaluation of Psychonauts. At first glance, I assumed the game to be immature and ridiculously easy. As a first-time gamer, I misjudged the game. However, after I began playing, Psychonauts turned out to be a bit in terms of gameplay and had a highly-developed plot with deep themes. The cheesy humor and overall interesting gameplay managed to keep me engaged for the most part.
The game spans over one day when Raz must go from being a boy to a man. It is a typical hero story where a boy matures by completing tasks to help others and then eventually tackle an internal conflict to become the ideal character. By entering the mind of different unstable characters, the plot conveys the theme that mental troubles are best solved by entering the mind of the unstable and battling self-created mental hurdles. In the game, Raz aids each of the characters by penetrating the deepest areas of the mind, finding the root of the problem, and destroying the cause of instability. The incorporation of these meaningful themes definitely differentiates Psychonauts from other cartoon-like games.
In terms of actual gameplay the platforming gets especially repetitive. For example, in Sasha's Shooting Gallery the cube required more endurance than I had anticipated. Because of his developed control and focus, he appears to have a scientific, organized mind at first. Later while playing we realize that Sasha also has his faults which he blocks out of his mind. Having to complete the same task on four sides of Shasha's cubical mind was slightly boring until the mini-boss fight. However, at the same time this was an accurate symbolic representation of Sasha's mind since he is a very structured and monotone character. Just as in Sasha's mind, the environment and gameplay in all the rest of the sections was interesting to see situations from different perspectives. Different skills are developed and powers are gained in each section. The flexibility to choose amongst a variety of powers definitely kept my engaged during the game.
The format of the game is at times like watching a movie inserted with various scenes where you can play out the action. I would rate Psychonauts as 7 out of 10 because of the level of immersion that I experienced due to both gameplay and plot. It is a good game if you are a beginner at video games and want a game to develop your platforming skills while watching a good narrative.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/04/10
Game Release: Psychonauts (US, 04/26/05)
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