Oh, To Be An American

By Alec Meer on November 21st, 2007 at 11:31 am.

Which is something I seem to saying quite a lot lately. Seeing that Psychonauts has just appeared for free (until Dec 31) on Gametap, but only to US folks, makes my urge to emigrate keener than ever. Anyone in New York or San Francisco want to hire a scruffy, bitter games hack? Bah. Anyway, go play one of the best electric videogames of the last few years for absolutely nothing, you spoilt bunch of bastards.

If any of our European readers are yet to sample the unique wonders of ex-Lucasarts genuishead Tim Schafer’s most recent game, then you should turn your eyes Steamwards right now. Yes, it costs money. In this case though, money can buy you happiness. Possibly even a rarefied form of love, too. Oh, and if you do want to install Gametap in the futile hope that a magical, wonderful error will occur and let you play Psychonauts, you will at least find that you can play the first three Hitman games, Tomb Raider: Legend and Cannon Fodder for no-groats (but ad-supported no-groats).

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24 Comments »

  1. Piratepete says:

    I played a demo of this but never really got into it. Its one of those games I keep thinking I should play but never have the time.

    sorry for the pedantry but its psychonauts, you have psychpnauts in the tags line.

  2. Andrew Doull says:

    A great game spoiled by an unnecessarily long sequence at the start when you can’t do any damn thing…

    That and I could never master the jumps on the Milkman level.

  3. Alec Meer says:

    (thanks PiratePete).

  4. Junior says:

    I’m going go guess that the reason we don’t get a free copy is that all the ads are american?

    So is there a non zero chance of a european release?

    I too didn’t think much of the demo, but really really SHOULD play this game.

  5. Willem says:

    “A great game spoiled by an unnecessarily long sequence at the start when you can’t do any damn thing…

    That and I could never master the jumps on the Milkman level.”

    An unnecessarily long sequence? What are you talking about?

    And the jumps on the Milkman level were easy. You never did get to MEAT CIRCUS! (Which actually isn’t that hard, but whatever)

    A great game, it is. America doesn’t deserve it.

  6. Babs says:

    Indeed, one of the best games I’ve played in a long time. I think it actaully helps if you don’t normally play platform games as you don’t have anything to compare the (only slightly) mediocre platforming aspects to.

    A gamepad is definitely recommended for the PC though.

  7. Kast says:

    Aside from being hilarious and surprisingly clever, I found Psychonauts’ greatest strength was in it’s unflinchingly mature portrayal of the character’s hangups, fears and torments. I felt physically sick when I found that room in Milla’s mind. That a game had struck me an emotional gut blow like that was only part of it’s power.

    Even the most insignificant characters that have no bearing on the plot whatsoever are compelling and easily missed. In the middle of the camp, an unbearably chirpy sister and brother pair, Crystal and Clem, are singing cheers (as in what cheerleaders do). Ask for too many cheers, and Crystal will break down into shaking sobs and berate herself. “‘Puffin’? What I was I thinking? I’m so stupid!” Again Psychonauts succeeds in twisting my guts in sympathy and guilt.

    Don’t please be under the impression that it’s all so bleak, for Psychonauts sprinkles such moments among an otherwise desk-thumpingly funny story and world in general. Certainly the most quote-able game ever.

  8. THX-1138 says:

    The neighborhood level is definately one of the best levels I’ve ever played, with all those hilarious secret agents. You can ignore the dodgy platforming, as the really annoying bits are relatively sparse.

    Its full of really clever little things (clairvoyance bieng my favourite) which add up to make a great game.

  9. Chis says:

    Still not interested: the visual design is hideous.

  10. roryok says:

    hmmm… I don’t think i’d be willing to give up my civil liberties and live under the bush regime for the sake of a free copy of psychonauts….

    then again i guess if tim shafer can live there and produce this calibre of title it can’t be all bad…

  11. Arathain says:

    Wow… I thought overall the game had one of the most interesting visual styles out there. The character and level designs are among the best I’ve ever seen.

  12. BrokenSymmetry says:

    No mention of the fact that from december 4, Psychonauts will also be downloadable worldwide on Xbox Live, for 1200 points?

  13. Sam says:

    I have to say that I never got past the first few bits of the game (I forget precisely how far I got, but not to the Famous Milkman Level that everyone seems to go on about) – the platforming bits increasingly annoyed me to the point that I didn’t really want to play any more. That said, I seem to be one of the few people who weren’t struck strongly by the humour in the game – I never got more than a chuckle from anything I encountered by the time I stopped.

  14. Kieron Gillen says:

    Broken: PC site.

    KG

  15. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Wow… I thought overall the game had one of the most interesting visual styles out there. The character and level designs are among the best I’ve ever seen.

    Indeed, I was also going to comment that I thought they picked a great and consistent art-style (and that’s before you get to the variations on the theme like ‘black velvetopia’).

    In the main I’d agree with Sam that the humour isn’t particularly striking, bar the obvious examples, but whenever it’s lacking the game always has a unique charm about it (see also Grim Fandango) which draws you in.

    Likewise I’ve never finished the game (Meat Circus, which is actually that hard Willem :p), but I’m determined to crack it at some point.

  16. Richard says:

    Still not interested: the visual design is hideous.

    Lean over here so I can slap you.

  17. Solario says:

    Chris, you are hereby banned from ever holding an aesthetic opinion ever again. And I say that with love. Because you are clearly not sound of mind.

    It has possibly one of the great art directions in any game.

  18. James Lyon says:

    It doesn’t work? Bah! I was in the middle of loading up GameTap right now, but for some reason it’s taking hours to get to the front page. Ah well. Saved me some time.

    (Yes, not having played Psychonauts is my secret shame.)

  19. James Lyon says:

    Oh, and I see Second Sight is on there for free. As compensation goes, that’s not too bad.

  20. Chis says:

    It has possibly one of the great art directions in any game.

    No, let’s be honest: it’s a confused mass of overly-strong colours, odd angles, and Generic American Wackiness. On an aesthetic level Bioshock beats the stuffing out of it. (The gameplay is a another matter entirely though… give me System Shock 2 instead, thanks)

  21. inle says:

    Psychonauts: Mid-Century/Modern (1950′s-1960′s)

    Bioshock: Art Deco (1920′s-1930′s)

    Both with 21st century flourishes.

  22. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    No, let’s be honest: it’s a confused mass of overly-strong colours, odd angles, and Generic American Wackiness. On an aesthetic level Bioshock beats the stuffing out of it.

    I always felt the art direction for Bioshock was a little off, it’s just a bit too chunky for my tastes. I still quite like it, mind. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree with regards to Psychonauts though.