You would be forgiven for forgetting, but Raz is still just a kid who ran away from home to join the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp in hopes of becoming a true Psychonaut. At the start of Psychonauts 2, Raz has moved on from just being a camper into a full-on Psychonaut … well, at least as an intern anyway. Still, in the canon of the game, only days have passed since his first adventure wrapped up, and the themes of the original camp are still present.
Raz’s psychic powers are represented, just like in the original, as old-school camp merit badges. Many badges from the first game make a return in Psychonauts 2, functioning mostly the same as they did previously, along with several new and exciting powers to play with and upgrade. Psychic abilities have many uses, but not all are created equal. Some may even start out feeling bland but could end up becoming some of the best. Here is everything you need to know about the best badges in Psychonauts 2.
Levitation was a staple in the original Psychonauts, and it makes its return in Psychonauts 2 as an even more essential tool for mobility. It will be your go-to ability for quickly traversing areas, controlling your descent, making high jumps, and even for offense when upgraded. Basically, this badge is one you’ll be using all the time in a platformer like this one. The four upgrades are:
Base Power: This is the base version of this badge and is a straight-up buff to your movement speed and jump height, as well as giving you the useful ability to use the ball as a kind of umbrella so you can fall more slowly.
Wrecking Ball: The first proper upgrade to levitation turns it into a viable offensive skill. While using the ball to roll around, if you’re at high enough speeds, ramming an enemy will cause damage. This is great for knocking away enemies without having to slow down or get interrupted by them.
Pouncy Ball: This is the main reason to invest in levitation. With this upgrade, you can charge your levitation ball and release it to jump way higher than normal. If you’re hunting collectibles, this will be incredibly valuable.
Levastation: Finally, the last upgrade isn’t flashy, but it’s still useful all the same. It will just make your wrecking ball damage do way more damage, making it a more than viable combat option.
This badge may not sound like one you’d want to invest in, but it’s critical for exploration in many places in Psychonauts 2. What this badge does is essentially give Raz a 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 as well, so for an action platformer with so many collectibles, it will pay for itself in no time. Let’s get a better picture of this badge and its upgrades:
Base Power: The base badge ability is just the initial grapple ability. Specific mental connection points on the map will now be targetable and let you zip up to them.
Sucker Punch: This is where the fun combat opportunities come. Now you can use your mental connection to grab foes and immediately attack them as they’re yanked toward you. This is great for separating specific enemies from groups or just initiating combat with a quick strike.
Think Fast: This upgrade is just a reduced cooldown for your grapple, which is always nice. Being able to yank enemies and get a free powerful hit in is always appreciated.
Dark Thoughts: Here’s where this skill really pays off. Long before you’ll be able to get this upgrade, you will no doubt notice the dark-colored grapple points that you can’t access. These are dark thoughts and require, you guessed it, the dark thoughts upgrade to reach. Dark thoughts are completely optional but will usually be hiding things like collectibles and baggage. If you’re going for a complete run of the game, this skill is a must-have.
Another returning power, pyrokinesis is just an all-around fun power you’ll be coming back to time and time again, in and out of combat. If you’re a little rusty on your Latin, this badge simply lets you set things on fire using only your mind. Naturally, this can be used for combat, but it’s also used in a ton of puzzle and platforming sections as well. Here’s how the upgrades break down:
Base Power: Just unlocking pyrokinesis allows you to do the basics of making your target, hostile or not, spontaneously combust. If it is an enemy, the fire will, as you would expect, deal sustained damage over time for as long as the flames last.
Bonfire: Upgrading to the second rank makes that initial burst of flame that appears when conjuring much larger, allowing you to hit multiple enemies at once.
Slow Cooker: The third rank just continues to make this skill better by increasing the duration of time the flames will last on enemies, thus increasing the overall potential damage.
Tres Bon Fire: And finally, the max upgrade just boosts the size of your conjured flame to nearly absurd levels. What started out as a tiny bulb of fire before you will be a huge dome by the time you get this upgrade.
The Marksmanship badge is actually quite boring when put in context. It just allows you to shoot basic psychic blasts, but in practice, it’s useful in just about any situation. It is basically the ranged version of your PSI-Punch, in that you can always rely on it. It is a great option to stay at a distance while dispatching foes while at lower health, too. For a skill you can, and should, rely on often, why not give it some extra juice? Here’s what you can get:
Base Power: As always, you need to start with just the raw ability. Once you get the badge, you can start firing off beams of psychic energy until you run out and need to wait for it to recharge.
Overcharge: Speaking of charging, the first upgrade allows you to charge up your shots. If you do, not only will they deal more damage, but they’ll also trigger a much larger explosion when they hit. If enemies are bunched up, this is a perfect way to maximize damage.
Mind Mag: The only really passive upgrade here is essentially just an extended magazine. You can shoot more blasts before needing to recharge, which is simple but always appreciated.
Chain Brain: This is where things get awesome. When you hit an enemy with your blast, this skill makes it so the explosion also spawns a swarm of smaller blasts that can hit more enemies. These will do less damage than the initial shot, but hey, you’re getting extra damage for free.
Last up, we just wanted to shout out clairvoyance for coming back. It isn’t necessary for anything, really, but it’s incredibly entertaining and shows just how much thought and attention to detail DoubleFine put into Psychonauts 2. If you haven’t gotten it yet or forgot 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 character’s perspectives is endlessly entertaining. For example, the interns see Raz as a sweating, nervous wimp, and Sam Boole, noted squirrel lover, simply sees Raz as a squirrel wearing goggles.
There’s a unique version of Raz for every character in the game, making this a skill we whipped out all the time for some cool insight into all these interesting characters.