Developer Double Fine Productions is finally releasing Psychonauts 2 across Xbox, PlayStation, and PC platforms this week. Coming a decade and a half after the original, the continuing adventures of Razputin “Raz” Aquato are seeing praise across the board from reviewers and players who already have their hands on the game. It’s been a long wait fraught with delays, publisher changes, and Microsoft’s acquisition of the developer. However, it seems the wait for Psychonauts 2 was worth it, especially for those who brought the first game to cult status back in the day.

Starting work at the beginning of the first Xbox’s lifespan in 2001, the original Psychonauts was set to be a Microsoft-published title for its new console. Development continued up until the final days of the console, where Microsoft shifted all its efforts to the Xbox 360 launch and canceled a publishing deal for Double Fine’s last-gen platformer. The game was eventually released, but it was overshadowed by new hardware and sold poorly. After a successful Psychonauts 2 crowdfunding campaign, years of fan support, and a profitable Steam rerelease in 2011, Psychonauts 2 is hitting the finish line at last.

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It seems Psychonauts 2 has captured the same charm and wit that made so many fall in love with the original over the years, as the reviews coming in have been filled with praise. Time will tell if the original was simply ahead of its time or if this sequel will also need a long while to find sales success, but Psychonauts 2’s Xbox Game Pass release should make for a much bigger launch. For non-subscribers who need to decide whether Raz’s adventure is worth the trip, here’s a breakdown of what critics are saying about Psychonauts 2:

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Joseph Fonseca – 4.5/5 – Screen Rant

“Psychonauts 2 is a wonderful platformer adventure game that handles important issues surrounding mental health with wit, charm, and stunning visuals.”

Matthew Castle – 89/100 – PC Gamer

“Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the places Psychonauts 2 bows to convention are where Double Fine is a little more unsure of itself. This has always been a team more comfortable taking creative risks—its studio logo is a baby fired from a cannon, after all—and it’s that aspect I choose to celebrate.”

George Foster – 4.5/5 – TheGamer

“It’s rare that a long-awaited sequel does most things right, but this is one of those times and I’m confident in saying that Psychonauts 2 is Double Fine’s best game to date and an early contender for game of the year.”

Dalton Cooper – 4.5/5 – Game Rant

“Anyone that was a fan of the original game will likely love Psychonauts 2, as it improves on everything that made the first game great. But newcomers should also make it a point to check the game out, as it’s a phenomenal 3D platformer and a Game of the Year contender.”

Tom Marks – 8/10 – IGN

“It may bring a bit of that mid-2000s action-platformer clunkiness along with it, but Psychonauts 2 is still just about everything I could have hoped for from a sequel to one of my favorite games.”

With a strong review score average across a wide variety of outlets, it seems Psychonauts 2 is living up to the critical praise showered onto its predecessor. From its platforming gameplay to the way it channels the old-school sensibilities of Saturday morning cartoons, there are plenty of reasons to pick up this much-improved 3D platformer (including the ability to play Psychonauts 2 after the story ends). The main criticisms reviewers point out involve Double Fine’s adherence to traditional platforming fundamentals, which can apparently lead to some gameplay annoyances. However, considering how creative the world surrounding that gameplay is, many players may overlook these minor flaws given the game’s long development cycle.

With the help of Microsoft’s publishing arm and years of hard work, Double Fine’s Psychonauts 2 is finally playable by the masses on August 25. It will be very intriguing to see where Tim Schafer’s studio goes from here, as its next game will be the first one fully developed under Microsoft’s umbrella. It may continue to create larger-scale experiences like its earliest games or fall back to bite-sized fun that could work well on Xbox Game Pass. The answer may depend on how Xbox players, in particular, respond to Raz’s new outing this week.

Psychonauts 2 will be available for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and PC on August 25, 2021.

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