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Funny story, crazy characters and witty level designs make it a must-play
///------TOTAL: 9 [rounded]------///
Psychonauts really amazed me. It is a really crazy and cool game to play. I'm not going to spoil much of the story but we have to control a kid that goes to a summer camp for psychics and discovers a plot to take control of people's brains... the funny part is that it will not happen by brainwashing, no, no, no.
The gameplay involves the usual 3D platforming and we can resort to several psychic powers to ease our journey through the minds of several unstable people; unstable people with hilarious personalities and dialogues [yes, personalities for one person, I'm talking about crazy people here]. Besides jumping, moving and shooting there's the usual item and money fetching and we can level up our character by using psycards and mental cowebbs in weird machines.
What makes this game shine above others, besides the sense of humour, is its level design. Each level is a crazy world on its own and they range from a Godzilla-sentai level to a meat-filled circus and, my favourite, a Waterloo-battle game board. In this level, we go from the traditional board perspective requiring to move pieces [with our psychic powers] to actually being inside the board world as if it were a regular a level and we keep going between these two "dimensions" of gameplay.
There are some issues with the default controls, especially if you are using the keyboard-and-mouse combination but, fortunately, we can customize almost everything and even the camera pitch, which is extremely important for me since I prefer the inverted vertical control.
Graphically, the games looks vibrant and the engine handles things well. It is a pleasure to look at the characters and levels because they have been cleverly designed with a lot of "personality".
Psychonauts is a platformer like many others but its heart does not lie in its platforming roots but in its "psychoticness".
Give it a try!
This isn't a review per-se, just some comments with attached points. Please, take the aforementioned into consideration.
Graphics 9: they look really good, even for an already aged game, the engine is quite capable of withstanding everything on-screen with a nice fluidity.
Art 6.5: although nice, it isn't mind blowing. Despite different several stages, in opposition to DMC 3, it doesn't feel varied nor rich.
Sound 6: the little music that it has is nice but little. Sounds seem crystal clear, you can definitely tell that CapCom used new compression algorithms to enhance their quality.
Controls 9: only one complaint here: the backwards-forwards stick movement doesn't always work but the rest is flawless. I remember having several and serious issues with DMC 3 imput method: I just couldn't figure out when to press or pull anything.
Story 4: valiant prince rescues princess in distress; it's a Disney film with blood, gore, demons and cocky J-Pop "dubious" males. The most interesting part regards the origins and purposes of the cult as well as their equalization of angels to demons, unfortunately, it is short-lived and underestimated.
Gameplay 5.5: it felt short and repetitive. In all DMCs, distances must be walked (in castles, mostly) but in this game, you go from the city, to the jungle, to an icy castle, to the final castle and all they way back in couple of screens. There's no sense of map progression whatsoever and it certainly affects gameplay. For the first time, I preferred using the new character instead of Dante, Nero is a lot more fun because switching between fighting modes isn't necessary, fortunately, the game doesn't last long enough to make it an issue since Dante is more versatile and complex. Luckily, red orbs are not necessary to purchase new skills and moves and this entails a huge step forwards in gameplay, now spirit points are the currency required to upgrade however, red orbs still exist to provide you with means to acquire weapons and items.
///------TOTAL: 7 [6.66 rounded to the nearest]------///
Opinion: The game is fine but as I have already stated, it's short-lived, repetitive, unoriginal and clichéd but its controls are practically flawless, it has a good pace and it doesn't get boring [due to its short life-span]. Almost everyone will be able to enjoy it so it isn't bad after all.
If you are not interested in multiplayer, you won't get much from it. This review takes the single-player factor into consideration.
Graphics 7: fine but with a GForce 6200, 1.5 GB of RAM and 2.1 MHz I can't run it with full shadows at 1280x1024.
Sound 8: nice average SW SFX and BGM.
Controls 3: targeting requires a lot a practice. There's a Lock-On function that doesn't lock-on on anything unless you're using guided projectiles. Since the amount of enemies is massive, a general lock-on feature would have been highly appreciated. Fighter pitch is mouse controlled: I usually find this set-up broken since I tend to exert better maneuvrability with a keyboard-mouse hybrid as it can be found in the FreeSpace series. While playing with a Jedi character, there's no targeting reticle leaving aiming your attacks and sabre throws at the exact things and places you don't want to aim.
Gameplay 5: on land, with no lock-on, I got squashed; on space, with no lock-on [except for missiles], I got squashed. As I aforementioned, no reticle while on Jedi mode turns aiming and, above all, succeeding into a matter of chance.
Overview: the overall feel of the battles and maps is a bit ominous, which is great; wars are supposed to feel like that, at least for me however playing off-line turns anyone's game into a one-man army battle. Enemies overwhelm you and the AI of your digital comrades is dissappointig since you can't command them and I think developers should have given us [off-line players] that possibility.
TOTAL: 6 [5.75 rounded to the nearest]
Opinion: I'm not an on-line person [old-school player] and I think games should be, above all, meant to be played stand-alone because If you don't have anyone to play with [my case] or internet connection, you'll be cast aside, in other words, discriminated. I'm aware of the fact that some games are meant to be played on-line but if that is so then they should be made on-line exclusively and not with a precarious, undeveloped and pitiful single-player mode that in the end is more of an insult than a feature.
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