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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Initially story seems to be one of an organization fighting against evil to save the world, but helping others, coming to terms with mental issues and trauma, and being true to yourself regardless of what others think are messages that repeatedly come through. While other kids tend to tease and almost bully Raz at times, they do come around to help him out during key moments.
Positive Role Models
Raz says that he wants to be a Psychonaut more than anything in the world, but more than that: He really wants to help people. He's always friendly and looking for a way to lend a hand to others, even when they've been mean to him. Even when he's been wronged, he's still willing to do the right thing instead of give into anger or despair.
Diverse set of characters presented, from young kids to older adults. All are capable in their abilities and talents. Characters hail from fictional countries, and while there's a range of skin tones (including some unnatural colors like blue and purple), there's also a positive representation of genders, sexualities, body shapes.
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Ease of Play
Substantial tutorials throughout the game, and even hints and suggestions of how to eliminate some of your opponents as they're introduced so that you're ready to face the waves of enemies. A ton of collectibles are scattered around, way more than you'll ever be able to collect in a single playthrough, which can be somewhat distracting when completing stages.
Violence & Scariness
Players fight against a variety of enemies that personify issues and emotions like doubts, fears, judgements, etc. Players punch these enemies and use mental powers to set them on fire, slow time around them, toss objects into them. No blood or gore, although some foes cry out in pain, and enemies disappear when defeated. Discussion of war, death, resurrecting the dead, which could be scary for younger players. Some phobias or discussions of the phobias could affect some players.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mildly suggestive innuendo can be heard in the dialogue.
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The word "ass" can be heard in dialogue. Some crude humor involving mucus, vomit, passing gas, and foul smells.
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Products & Purchases
Part of the Psychonauts franchise.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some characters are shown smoking or holding cigarettes on a regular basis. Other scenes refer to alcohol and drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Psychonauts 2 is a downloadable action/adventure game for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows PCs. This chapter in the Psychonauts franchise takes place directly after the events of the first game and the VR title. Players take on the role of Raz, a young Psychonaut, as he returns to his organization's base after a mission, only to discover that there are new threats facing him and the world. On missions, Raz will face off against personifications of negative emotions and psychological issues by using punches as well as psychic abilities to eliminate them in battle. While you can set them on fire, and some enemies cry out in pain, no blood or gore are shown, and opponents disappear when defeated. There's mildly suggestive innuendo in dialogue, as well as some potty humor. The word "ass" can be heard in dialogue, and there are scenes that refer to alcohol, while other characters can be seen smoking or holding cigarettes. On the positive side, the game shows a wide and diverse range of characters of all ages, genders, and body shapes, all of whom are skilled and capable in their own ways.
Is It Any Good?
This action/adventure title deftly balances exploring mental issues and concerns with humor and clever play to make a remarkable experience that's hard to forget. While Psychonauts 2 builds on the plots of the previous games in the series, you don't need to have played those two titles to enjoy this tale. In fact, a recap video sums up the events of those games while laying the groundwork for this adventure, which tosses you almost immediately into the action. Without spoiling any story points, this is an engaging tale of revenge, deception, redemption, acceptance, and healing, with Raz's life and everything he's known getting turned upside down on a regular basis. Given the unfair circumstances Raz faces (along with some merciless teasing from family and fellow young Psychonauts), he should become bitter or unhappy, taking things out on something. But he's an incredibly good kid who only wants to help people, and you can't help but cheer for him throughout the entire story. Gameplay is incredibly engaging, and plenty of tips are given to Raz by his fellow Psychonauts on using his powers, exploring environments, and defeating enemies when they first appear. This lets you focus on the story as well as fending off attacks from all sides and collecting tons of collectibles, such as ore that can be spent for upgrades, finding and tagging mental baggage, or grabbing figments of imagination. In fact, there's a ton of collectibles, side missions, and quests -- so many that you probably won't be able to complete everything on the first playthrough.
What's also impressive about Psychonauts 2 is how it manages to handle and treat mental issues in a sensitive way while still keeping the game's off-the-wall humor. Much of the game is tongue in cheek with its jokes and comments, but the personification of emotions -- like regrets that try to drop weights on you to hold you down, or censors that try to block thoughts (or Psychonauts) that don't belong in a mind -- is very clever. It allows players to fight against negative ideas, defeating them while accomplishing goals, while also exploring more serious issues like addiction, anxieties, and delusions. If you're struggling with these conditions, some scenes could possibly be distressing, but on the plus side, this could prompt discussion for some kids and older gamers, possibly leading to them wanting help for these issues. At least Psychonauts 2 suggests a mental health resource for any players who may feel affected, and hopefully parents and gamers alike will take advantage of this if any problems arise. Overall, Psychonauts 2 is an excellent and very thoughtful tale -- but hopefully it doesn't take another 16 years for another game in the franchise.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.