Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Psychonauts Review

I thought I'd make my first real post about something that is near and dear to my heart the brilliant Tim Schafer game Psychonauts.
In the off chance that I might forget and miss something I'll let Yahtzee go first, because he's detailed, and somewhat more entertaining that I am.

I'm resisting the urge to just leave it at that, but then I suppose that wouldn't really make it my review. So here it goes.

I really hate to say it out loud, but the first thing that attracts me to a game is, 'does it look good?' I suppose that makes me the worst type of consumer, but if I'm going to be staring at something for hours on end it shouldn't have me wanting to rip out my eyeballs. This is the reason it took me so long to start playing Psychonauts, the art, while great is weird. The main character is orange for goodness sake. But honestly, you start playing and you don't notice it again until a new character shows up. And the rest of the art is pleasant, and usually pretty inventive.

A good game also has to have a sense of humor, which Psychonauts has in spades, as soon as I began playing I knew it was going to be a treat. The main character, Raz, is voiced by Richard Horvitz who is best known for voicing Invader Zim, it kept me on my toes through the whole game because I was fully expecting Raz to cackle evily at any moment.

The most minor characters still have personality, and if you can get over them staring at you like they're in a trance they usually have something interesting to tell you. Not necessarily useful but interesting. My favorite secondary character is Mikhail who speaks with a heavy Russian accent, sticks up for the little guy, and has some of the best lines in the game.

Mikhail: Have you seen bear lurking in woods, with skin where hair should be?

Raz: Uh, nope.

Mikhail: In Russia, bears much smaller. Also, more hair.

As you go along with the game you are given powers which include levitation, pyrokenises, invisibility, and telekinesis among many others. Most of which are a blast to use. Telekinesis is a bit tricky though. Your training for it is mainly Raz standing still and throwing things at other non-moving things. In game however you are expected to use this skill while running from baddies, and trying to throw the object at something else which is often times moving as well. Oh and also you have a time limit because the thing you might be trying to throw could blow up in your face at any minute.

You can also only have use of three of your powers at once, if you need to switch you can pause and go to the menu and switch out on of the slots, it's easy. Unfortunately which slot your power is in depends on what buttons you push, and for someone like me, whose game play depends on memorizing the buttons and pushing them as quickly as possible it can get annoying when you continually push the button for shield, and get psi-blast instead.

But all in all when I wasn't yelling at the TV in vain attempts to make my TK work correctly it was exceptionally enjoyable to play. It's on the lower pricing spectrum these days so there's no excuse not to buy.

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