Psychonauts collect-a-thon?

Another game I picked up recently was Psychonauts. It’s a game by Tim Schafer, the maker of Day of the Tentacle and (my personal favourite) Grim Fandango, and has received critical acclaim (but poor sales).

Like a lot of games, it’s taken a long time for it to get released in Australia. However it arrived recently and I decided to check it out. I haven’t played it much (at all), but I can honestly say that I have no idea what all the fuss was about!

It has very clean environments and animation, and indeed the standout feature appears to be the art direction. Aside from that it seems to be a standard platform game with simplistic “puzzle” elements and a helluvalot of collecting. Yes, I said a helluvalot of collecting!

The game starts with a dream sequence to calibrate the controls and explains that you have to get “psi challenge markers”, made of “psi cards” that can find, and “psi cores” that you need to buy. The next training level tells you about a whole swag of things to collect including “figments”, “cobwebs”, “vaults”, “bags”, and “tags”. Seriously, I thought about pausing the game and getting a pencil and paper just to write all this down!

Like I said earlier, I haven’t played it much yet and my opinion may change. However, I’ve tentatively put Psychonauts into the “maybe give it another go later on when I have more time” basket… so I don’t know when (or if) I will get back to it.

General feeling: Dissappointed

Update: I should probably state that platform games with an overt emphasis on collecting things tend to irritate me. Unlike many other people, I could not stand Banjo-Kazooie.

Shadow of the the Colossus

I recently bought and finished Shadow of the Colossus.

It was an incredibly engrossing experience and easily the best game that I have played in a long time. The art direction is top notch and the gameplay is fluid and innovative.

The entire game is focussed on seemingly impossible battles with a series of giant creatures of ambiguous composition (they look ancient, spiritual, animal, and artificial all at the same time).

The battles are confrontingly visceral and really communicate the mindset of the main character. Because of this, I actually found the game a little hard to play at first. However, I perservered and it was very rewarding.

My only real criticism of the game is the difficulty and pacing. Most of the colossi were incredibly easy, but the final few were quite difficult. I spent around 3.5 hours on the first dozen or so, 2 hours on the second last one, and then 2.5 hours on the last one. That’s not very balanced!

A possible spoiler (but not really) after the jump.

Conclusion: Highly, highly recommended

Continue reading “Shadow of the the Colossus”