This game felt like work. (spoilers)
Hello everyone. I might be a little late, but after spending 30 hours with this game, I feel like writing down my thoughts.
After I was reading so much praise about this game, I was kind of disappointed when I finished it. I like the game and think it is very funny, has great writing and some of the most creative and mind bending level designs I have seen in years.
But the overall experience is just average. Which is fine, but I expected more after reading "one of the best platformers" so many times. Everyone keeps saying this game was "underrated", but I tend to say, that it is rather overrated considering all the praise it got.
When I finished the game - after the horrendous meat circus - I felt relief and thought: "man, finally its over." This game felt like work for me and stressed me out many times. I dont blame my gaming skills but I do blame the game design for all the annoying parts I went through.
The game started very slow and I never knew where I had to go. Obstacle course: Where is it? I didnt even know where the camp store was. I had to use FAQ to find the camp store. Then I saw all those weird things I had to collect and it took me some time to find out what all that stuff was. That is where the work part began. Somehow the collectathon was not that much fun. It felt like work. I am compulsive and need rewarding experience when playing collectathons. I HATED collecting the figments in the Waterloo level.
I had to use game FAQ (and Bacon) a lot. because of random ♥♥♥♥. Not because of the puzzles, but because I didnt know what to do or where to go. When I had to collect 800 Arrowheads I almost lost my ambition. I googled again and got the Drowings Rod. Again I didnt know how to use it properly. Googled it again. That destroys the game flow and some little tutorial or help would have been nice. (or maybe I am out of practice playing this kind of game)
Some of the platforming sections have driven me nuts. Especially the waterloo level was totally annoying gameplay-wise. That is so bad because I loved the idea and the design. it took me 45 minutes to find that Musket, because I didnt know that I could get on the rope from the inside of the building. The level design just didnt help me finding the right way. And that is what happened many times: I cheated (sometimes without knowing) by levitating (somehow) to the areas I needed to go.
What happened? After a slow start the game was really good, especially the lungfish level and the milkman level were fantastic. I enjoyed those parts a lot.
But the last levels were nothing but annoying to me and felt like hard work to finish. Even the beautiful Velvetopia Level annoyed me with its narrow streets, where I got headache from trying to find out where to go/jump.
When I arrived at the meat circus I had emotionally already finished the game. I just wanted to get through. Finish it. Like doing homework. And that was a bad start position for beating the last level. It was so annoying I cant describe it. I cheated again. I noticed that when I fall down to the web it sometimes transports me up to the next section. (a helpful glitch, thanks). I guess I cheated again when I had to fly through those fire-rings. The flying fences were beyond playable. It was sheer luck that I managed them. Patience and luck. But no skill at all... that is what I call bad gameplay.
The second time I was fighting the butcher, I was almost tearing: "When does this torture finally end?" When there was even a THIRD Boss I was almost laughing maniacally...
If they didnt remove the life-loss from the meat circus level (like it was in the retail version), I guess I would not have beaten it.
I grew up with Tim Schafers/Ron Gilberts Adventure Games and all the fantastic Rare-Platformers which had a similar concept. And usually I like collectathons. But all the things I decribed above (and probably even more) prevented the game from being fantastic.
I would like to see Psychonauts 2, because Double Fine did good work with patching the Mac Port and they seem to listen to the people. If they combined everything which is very good in this game with actual good gameplay, then things would be perfect.
I hope no one feels insulted and as I said: 50 % of the game was amazing and I guess my disappointment was so big because expected so much more. Psychonauts is still a good game, but I would not recommend it to anyone who is just a casual gamer. Maybe I am ranting so much because I started playing the game with the intention to love it. That did not happen...