Games Inbox: Is Psychonauts 2 the game of the year?

The Tuesday Inbox celebrates 12 years of the Batman: Arkham games, as one reader is upset all his friends have suddenly bought a PS5.

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A good game
I’ve seen some talk about whether to play Psychonauts 1 before 2 and I would say personally that it’s best not too. If you care about the story Psychonauts 2 explains things pretty well and half of the stuff happened in the VR game anyway. The far more important question is why haven’t you played Psychonauts 2 yet, because as far as I’m concerned it’s the game of the year!

Now that’s maybe not the achievement it might have been in a different yeark but I haven’t played anything that enjoyable for a very long time. I guess it’s quite an old school kind of experience really, but I love the hubs that allowed freedom but aren’t some 500 miles square open world and still have tons of secrets and places to explore.

The combat is fun, with lots of options, but it’s not overwhelming and it’s not especially difficult either. The game’s funny but it’s not obnoxious like something like Borderlands. It’s just… good. Everything about the game is good and I really can’t find any fault with it. It’s got variety, it’s got action, it’s got laughs. It’s been a breath of fresh air for me, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Switching sides
I thought I’d write in to ask if any reader has experienced what I’ve recently gone though. I’ve been good (online) friends with a few lads for about 10 years now on the Xbox and would regularly pop on the Xbox for a few games of Call Of Duty and a bit of banter with them. However, about two weeks ago they all bought new PlayStation 5 consoles and have gone over to PlayStation. The problem is I really don’t want to swap. I much prefer the Xbox system, exclusives, and controller. And I recently borrowed a PlayStation 4 console and played all their exclusives (that I wanted to).

I wondered if this had happened to any readers and what, if anything, they did.

On a positive side, it does mean that I’ve been able to get more immersed in story games and play some rallying which I wouldn’t normally play when in a party. But I do miss the banter.

Keep up the good work GC.
Manic miner 100 (gamertag)

Big and ugly
RE: Mitchell. When my PlayStation 5 arrived on launch day I was in shock at how big and ugly it actually is.

In my opinion it’s really a pretty hideous design work. At least if they would allow faceplates to be sold, I could try minimise how ugly this horrible white behemoth in corner of my room is.

I know the Xbox Series X is just boring and boxy, but it’s compact and inoffensive at least.

The two biggest issues I have with it outside the space age monstrosity design are:

1) The stand – it’s useless in horizonal position and seems like a whoops moment, wherein after designing the console, they needed to come up with something as a way to stand it up, but had to take the budget out of the tea kitty, as they blew budget on the SSD.

2) the disc drive requiring you to put discs in what appears to be backwards in reality. It’s so counterintuitive.

I used to love having my consoles centre front in media unit, now it’s too big to fit and gets hidden away on side on the floor.

I try to just not look at it too much, as it really is that ugly.

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Forgotten outrage
Sorry for late response but I could not remember the title of the game in question (sorry… still can’t!). However, the one review score I had an issue with was in Edge, enough of an issue to put me off buying the magazine.

Whatever the game was they scored it way higher than anyone else (by around 30% I’m sure) and it coincided with a big exclusive in that edition of the game in question. I’m sure the higher score was just a coincidence.

If I remember correctly, you’d scored this three to four marks lower (out of 10)… it really stood out.

The long journey
I see a lot of nonsense GTA 6 stories at the moment, with one guy going literally crazy at the thought that it’s still years away. I wonder if fans are starting to the seven stages of grief as the settle in for the long weight? If so it sounds like they’re only at a step one: shock and denial. Or maybe it’s step three: anger and bargaining.

After that it’s depression, then the upward turn, reconstruction, and finally acceptance and hope. Sounds like a process that will take around three or four years so let’s all get ready for the long ride. Although knowing gamers they’ll just get stuck at anger and bargaining for the majority of the time.

Also, why is it that voice actors are such terrible sources for information? Do publishers seriously not tell them what they’re working on? I do they just hear the name GTA and zone out after that? Weird how often it happens. I remember a bunch of Fallout actors completely getting things wrong in the years before Fallout 4.

Penny pinchers
So, let me get this straight… Sony redesigned the PlayStation 5 with a smaller heat sink, presumably to save money (but I would imagine only a tiny amount) and in return they’re going to get six months of ‘Sony the cheapskate’ headlines and original model consoles suddenly going for even more on the grey market. Madness. These companies just can’t help being as greedy as possible, it’s like it’s a mania with them.

Nintendo are worst for things like this I find, with their penny pinching over hardware updates, and it’s kind of funny how minor the changes are for OLED model compared to what everyone thought the Switch Pro was going to be.

As everyone likes to say, Microsoft aren’t shy about flashing their considerably sized wallet but I’m sure we’ll see some changes to Game Pass in a couple of years that won’t be quite so generous as they are now. No company can resist turning the screws once they think they’re in an unstoppable position.

Private thoughts
I really was not impressed by how those Naughty Dog guys were talking about the crunch and unionisation. If this was them being diplomatic, so they could look like good guys for an interview, it’s pretty easy to imagine what their actual opinions are when they’re speaking freely.

Naughty Dog are already in love with their own hype when it comes to how the games turn out, and the lack of gameplay innovation, but I think it’s obvious it follows for the way they make games as well and they have no intention to change… until there’s an Activision Blizzard style scandal and their working conditions are put in the spotlight.

12 years of Arkham
I noticed it was the 12th anniversary of Batman: Arkham Asylum last week, just as rumours have started coming out about the new Batman movie. The Arkham games actually came out a few years after the Nolan trilogy started, and I’m not sure they had any references to it, preferring (wisely in my opinion) to stick to the comics and Animated Series for inspiration.

It’s now been six years since Arkham Knight and we’re still no closer to getting a new Batman game, as Gotham Knights only has you playing the sidekicks and I’ve severe doubts as to when that’ll come out anyway.

If the movie series (a trilogy, I think) is a big success will that spur Warner to make a new set of games? Maybe but they shouldn’t really need encouragement for what should be such an easy sell. I don’t know what they’re going to do when Suicide Squad flops though, as that’s kept Rocksteady busy all this time and the hype couldn’t be quieter with that one. Now that the new movie has already been and gone I imagine there’s some emergency alarms going at the moment.

I don’t know what to even suggest either, other than it was a bad idea and should’ve been so far down the to do list, for making DC games, that it shouldn’t have come up for years. And yet here we are with it doomed to be used as an excuse as to why they shouldn’t try anything else new again.

Inbox also-rans
GC, have you any idea when think you will be receiving the new Playdate handheld from Panic to review for us please, guys?

GC: Not really, no. It doesn’t have an official launch date yet either.

Just a quick message to say that you only have a short time left to claim Ultima Underworld 1 and 2, Syndicate Plus, and Syndicate Wars on GOG until 3rd September, if you haven’t already downloaded them.
Andrew J.
Currently playing: Call Of The Sea (Xbox One X)

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ishi, who asks how much do you actually play video games at the moment?

Ignoring time spent reading about them, or watching other people play, how much time do you spend playing games yourself, on the average week? Do you have a set routine or period of the day you set aside for games or does it depend on whether something new has come out?

How regularly do you play and does it vary according to the time of year or other outside factor? How much has the amount of time you play varied over the years, as you’ve got older?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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