Back in 2005 I reviewed Psychonauts, giving it the top score (when we still did that), saying “The story itself should leave most fans of classic LucasArts adventures satisfied, and the actual game play [sic] just adds to the experience. In short, Psychonauts is probably the most fun game I've played in years.” A more than positive review.
Fast forward to 2016 and we’re not only waiting for the sequel; the original was just released for the PlayStation 4 (PS4). And herein lies the rub…
The original can be viewed many which ways, and for the PS4, we get that platform’s original. That is the PS2 version, one that didn’t get much attention, largely, I assume, because it kinda sucked. I mean, I’m saying that without actually having played it (until now), but the reviews were not particularly positive for that platform.
So here we are, with a PS4, playing a PS2 version of Psychonauts, and facing the irony of what arguably is the most advanced console on the market hosting the worst- looking, sounding, and functioning version of the game. Truly. The original Xbox version bests this.
I could go into the details, but why bother? The issues are simple: Unresponsive controls; low resolution textures; sprites appear randomly; sound disappears (get those subtitles enabled); the wide screen is not unlike TV shows where the edges are stretched into surreal blurriness. A complete mess.
I cannot stop playing it. It’s Psychonauts! Some might consider it a Ratchet & Clank rip-off, and fair enough (more damning that is with their current special edition), but there is just so much going on with this game.
The story is bizarre beyond comparison, and the dialogue is right up there with Schafer’s best. Grim, Monkey Island—Psychonauts is not an adventure game, but god if it doesn’t feel like one. And even with frustratingly unresponsive controls the gameplay(no space!) brings back the memories of the original game… This is a fun experience through and through.
I mean, go and play it on your favorite platform and have a better time than I am having right now. I have no regrets. It doesn’t matter how horrible of a technical experience you’re having. Psychonauts is still one of my favorite games, and I’ll gladly play it again and again and until I have something better to do.