2021 was a strange year from a gaming perspective. In a sense, it seems to have given everyone a little space, highlighting games that under other circumstances would be considered unfairly minor. That’s why it’s difficult to indicate which game of the year (GOTY) could be, but it’s very easy to make a list of the games that better represented and how the genres, subjects and themes the industry has marginalized in recent years have returned to the headlines.
In hindsight, what impressed us most about Psychonauts 2 is its conceptual purity, this return to forms that the modern video game seems to have abandoned, at least in its most opulent expression. the adventure of Raz is a nostalgic poem, a journey through the wastelands of the environment that a certain industry now looks upon with apprehension, if not disgust. It is a finished work in the highest sense of the term, an author’s fresco that exudes creativity from start to finish, not so much and not just in what counts, but in the way it becomes pure representation. It’s a dream worlds game that doesn’t aim to psychoanalyze its creators, but to project its essence to the player, called to interpret them. Dreams turn into circuses in which Raz performs his stunts. We are in the theatricalization of delirium,
Game of the year?
Looking closely, Psychonauts 2 is more like a Manic Miner than a Super Mario Bros., and maybe that’s why we like it so much: because it’s the highest evolution of a different view of conceiving the platform game genre., a view that many wish to ignore, putting all their exponents under one umbrella. Double Fine has a way of designing gameplay that no longer finds room in triple-A.
He excels in imperfection, in his detachment without pretending to keep everything under control. Its secret is the uncertainty in a juggling act, which can continually produce the thrill of recovering from a mistake that seemed to have compromised the show. Where other studios aspire to impeccability, creating ever more aseptic gaming experiences, Tim Schafer and colleagues recognize the value of the shapeless and chaotic, continually leaving you the space you need to make the dazzling idea flourish.
We don’t know how many Game of the Year awards Psychonauts 2 will win, but we don’t really care, because, anyway, it’s still one of the most representative products of this 2021, and that nobody will be able to take out of it. It’s unique in more than one way, beautiful as a game and as a video game vision, and comes from a good studio that over the years has never given up on its essence. It was born from the popular impulse, both by the continuous requests made to Double Fine, and by the money donated by players to the studio with the fundraising campaign launched on the FIG, prior to the acquisition of Microsoft. In a sense, it’s a work born of pure passion of those who created it and who received it, a condition that inevitably comes through when playing and contributing to involvement.
Raz will be recognized?
We reiterate: we don’t know if Psychonauts 2 will be anyone’s game of the year, because in reality many have not played it (unfortunately the strength of the numbers is decisive in these cases). You can see the sites that are judges and GOTY and read their respective nominated reviews, and sometimes they haven’t played Psychonauts 2, as well as many haven’t played Forza Horizon 5. It’s amazing, but that’s how this award works.
We know, however, that would commit a crime if I underestimated him, maybe just because graphically it doesn’t make your eyes pop (although it doesn’t miss some wonderful moments) or because we’re not talking about an intellectual property of tens of millions of copies per edition. Regardless of the prizes and rewards, give it a try because really worth it, especially if you want to see other games of the genre.
I’ve been particularly passionate about Double Fine since Grim Fandango, and it was great to see that they have the competence to keep telling fun and creative stories. While maybe the gameplay of the game may not win you over, I remember that all green level presented at E3 didn’t hold me in anything, but when I played it, I “god crazy” right in that part with the amazing soundtrack massaging my brain. It was memorable.
Again, if you can get to know this work from a renowned studio like Double Fine, playing it is much better than just watching it. Rest assured that it will be an exciting experience if you are into games of the genre and the developer in question.
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