I am so very impressed with this game

User Rating: 8.5 | Psychonauts PC
I went into Psychonauts with little to no expectations and was pleasantly surprised. I'm still kind of in awe, because I usually do not enjoy games of this genre.

Psychonauts is technically a platformer, but it is essentially so much more. The characters are charming, Rasputin is -very- convincing, the world is atmospheric, and the humor is awesome. Throughout, the game was never lame and never stale. In addition, the pacing was rather good (in the game, you never really find yourself grinding). For example, there are certain 'figments' that you collect to level up. Playing at a natural pace, I never found myself 'stuck' at any point in time.

Ultimately the game came to around 11 hours. The graphics were rather clean and visually-appealing, even for 2009 standards. The controls are fine, the quests are intuitive enough, and the story is -fantastic-. I think probably the strongest points to this game are its incredibly unique premise and gameplay. First off, we have Rasputin, a psychonaut-trainee who is determined to make something of himself. Next, we have a range of diverse NPCs with individual personalities, some of which you grow closer to. Voice acting all around is also superb.

The powers are also satisfying. Ever wanted to set something on fire with your mind? Or levitate or use psychokinesis? Psychonauts does a great job of shaking things up and keeping you entertained. I was quite impressed with some of the finesse in the bosses and level design. In short, this game just had a lot of polish to it.

That said, this game is not perfect. Though it has -many- original/fun aspects, it has a couple of no-nos. It was a shame too, because the game had so much polish overall. Thus, a lot of flaw-walls that I ran into were surprising to me. For example, some levels were made in a way that made them more tedious than necessary. Though these times were relatively infrequent, they still existed, and thus, I had to grind through them. Some questionable choices like having to mash the double-jump button to avoid a glitchy-death for example. Or an 'obstacle-course'-like area that you had to repeat over and over and over again because sometimes you would use a move and it wouldn't register.

Also, some 'objectives' came off as being rather random, and left you hanging. Since you eventually have an NPC that tells you your current objectives, I found it strange that sometimes he'd be unnecessarily vague. That said, the puzzles were overall, incredibly well done. Much-much better than puzzles in a game like say, Tomb Raider Underworld.

All in all, despite the flaws I've found, Psychonauts was fantastic because of its unique premise and characters. The fact that I -cared- so much at all, is proof of how well it was made. Actually in my opinion, rooting for the characters and/or plot is the mark of good design. Still, there are those little pitfalls in the game. Nothing major, but prominent enough to leave a lasting impression on me. Really, I found them strange to be in a game of such high polish otherwise. Still, these problems are not at all critical enough to ruin the overall experience.

All in all: a great/recommended game. It has some flaws to it, but it's still pretty damn good. Also, it gets major kudos points for uniqueness.