You’d be forgiven for forgetting, but Raz is still just a kid who ran away from home to join Whispering Rock psychic summer camp in the hopes of becoming a true psychonaut. In the beginning Psychonauts 2, Raz went from camper to real Psychonaut…well, at least as an intern. Still, according to the game’s canon, only days have passed since the end of his first adventure, and the themes of the original camp are still present.
Raz’s psychic powers are presented, just like in the original, as old-school camp merit badges. Many badges from the first game return Psychonauts 2, functioning largely the same as before, along with several new and exciting powers to play with and upgrade. Psychic abilities have many uses, but not all are created equal. Some might even start out feeling bland, but they might end up being one of the best. Here’s everything you need to know about the best badges in the Psychonauts 2.
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Levitation was a staple in the original psychonauts, and goes back inside Psychonauts 2 as an even more important tool for mobility. It will be your main ability for quickly traversing areas, controlling descents, high jumps, and even attacking when upgraded. Basically, you’ll use this badge all the time in a platformer like this. The four upgrades are:
Basic Power: This is the basic version of this badge and improves your movement speed and jump height evenly, and also gives you the useful ability to use the ball as a kind of umbrella so you can fall more slowly.
Wrecking Ball: Levitation’s first proper upgrade turns it into a viable offensive skill. While using the rolling ball, if you are fast enough, charging at the enemy will cause damage. This is great for taking down enemies without slowing or interrupting.
Pouncy Ball: This is the main reason to invest in levitation. With this upgrade, you can charge your levitation ball and let it jump much higher than normal. If you are looking for collectibles, this will be incredibly valuable.
Levastation: Finally, the last upgrade is not flashy, but still useful. It will just make your wrecking ball damage do a lot more damage, making it a more than viable combat option.
A mental connection
This badge might not sound like a badge you’d want to invest in, but it’s essential for research in many places in the Psychonauts 2. What this badge does is give Raz the grappling hook ability. Without this badge, and especially the later upgrades it gets, you won’t be able to collect everything in most levels. There’s also an interesting combat use, so for an action platformer with so many collectibles, it’ll pay off in no time. Let’s get a better picture of this badge and its upgrades:
Base Power: The badge’s base ability is just the initial grab ability. Certain mental connection points on the map will now be targetable and allow you to jump to them.
Sucker Punch: This is where the fun fighting opportunities come in. You can now use your mental link to grab enemies and instantly attack them as they are pulled towards you. This is great for picking off certain enemies from groups or just starting a fight with a quick shot.
Think Fast: This upgrade is just a reduced cooldown for your grapple, which is always nice. Being able to retreat an enemy and get a free hard hit is always appreciated.
Dark Thoughts: This is where this skill really pays off. Long before you can get this upgrade, you’ll no doubt notice the dark colored grapples that you can’t access. These are dark thoughts and require, you guessed it, a dark thoughts upgrade to reach. Dark Thoughts are completely optional, but they usually hide things like collectibles and luggage. If you’re going for a full game launch, this skill is a must have.
Another returning power, pyrokinesis is just an all-around fun power that you’ll come back to time and time again, in and out of combat. If you’re a little rusty on Latin, this badge simply lets you set things on fire using just your mind. Sure, this can be used for combat, but it’s also used in a ton of puzzles and platforming sections. Here’s how the upgrades break down:
Basic Power: Just unlocking pyrokinesis allows you to perform the basics of spontaneously combusting your target, enemy or not. If it’s an enemy, the fire will, as you’d expect, deal permanent damage over time for as long as the flame lasts.
Bonfire: Upgrading to a second rank makes that initial burst of flame that appears when conjuring much larger, allowing you to hit multiple enemies at once.
Slow Cooker: Rank three just keeps improving this skill by extending the duration of the flame on enemies, thus increasing the total potential damage.
Tres Bon Fire: And finally, the max upgrade just increases the size of your summoned flame to almost absurd levels. What started out as a tiny fire bulb before you will be a huge dome by the time you get this upgrade.
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The marksmanship badge is actually pretty boring when put into context. It only lets you fire basic psychic blasts, but in practice it’s useful in almost any situation. It’s basically a ranged version of your PSI-Punch that you can always rely on. It’s a great option to stay at a distance while picking off enemies and while you’re low on health. For a skill you can and should rely on often, why not give it a little more power? Here’s what you can get:
Base Strength: As always, you need to start with just raw ability. Once you get the badge, you can start firing beams of psychic energy until you run out and need to wait for it to recharge.
Overcharge: Speaking of overcharging, the first upgrade allows you to overcharge your shots. If you do, not only will they deal more damage, but they’ll also cause a much bigger explosion when they hit. If the enemies are bunched up, this is a perfect way to increase the damage.
Mind Mag: The only really passive upgrade here is basically just an expanded tank. You can fire multiple blasts before having to reload, which is simple but always welcome.
Chain Brain: This is where things get great. When you hit an enemy with your explosion, this skill causes the explosion to also spawn a swarm of smaller explosions that can hit multiple enemies. These will do less damage than the initial hit, but hey, you get the extra damage for free.
In the end, we just wanted to shout out the clairvoyants for the return. It’s not really necessary for anything, but it’s incredibly fun and shows how much attention DoubleFine has paid to detail Psychonauts 2. If you haven’t gotten it yet or have forgotten what it did from the first game, it just lets you see through the eyes of any character you use it on. Seeing the world and other characters, including Raz, from other characters’ perspectives is endless fun. For example, the interns see Raz as a sweaty, nervous wimp, and Sam Boole, a well-known squirrel lover, simply sees Raz as a goggle-wearing squirrel.
There’s a unique version of Raz for every character in the game, making this a skill we’re constantly developing to get a good look at all those interesting characters.