Psychonauts Impressions

There was a lot of general drooling over this game, especially among the game designer worship crowd. Most original design in years, they said. A constantly creative tour de force, they said. So I picked up the game at nearly full price to offset how I had given in to the man to buy Madden. After a couple of hours of play, here is my microreview: I’d rather be playing Madden.

Let the tar and feathering begin.

Here are some of Psychonauts’ major and minor sins.

Minor sin: Long opening cut scenes. At least they were funny.

Major sin: Save anywhere! Just kidding! No matter where you save, you get the last checkpoint. Ha ha sucker!

Minor sin: Camera is only marginally stupid. At least you can move it around when you need to, except when you can’t.

Major sin: The controls feel like they are about a half second behind me, and the little avatar dude is just too slippery. He loves to fall off cliffs and jump at ropes and ledges that he should stick to but doesn’t. On the up side, the penalty for death is pretty light. Overall, it’s like all the jumping puzzles from God of War without any of the fun carnage and with controls that are much worse than say, Jak and Daxter circa 2002.

Minor sin: Repetitive music and dialog when you have to replay sections over and over again because of the crappy controls.

Major sin: A tutorial level that I played for more than an hour and a half and didn’t finish. I must just suck. I sat on one platform and fell off for twenty minutes before I noticed that a tiny little fissure in the wall behind me meant that I could punch it. Wow, what a moron I am to miss that staggering visual clue.

Anyway, I guess I’ve tagged myself as a heathen who just doesn’t recognize good game design, but I just can’t deal with a platformer with controls that are this sloppy when I could be playing Ratchet and Clank and blowing shit up.

This one goes back in to Gamestop, which makes me sad, because I was digging the whole Nickelodeon Ren and Stimpy sort of visual look. I wish they had put a good control engine around it.