Should you ask me for essentially the most stunning love story in video video games this yr, or even perhaps the previous few years, my reply would be the one between Bob Zanotto and Helmut Fullbear in Psychonauts 2. Psychonauts 2 spoilers forward.
The married couple was ripped aside in the course of the fateful battle with Maligula, and Helmut was presumed useless. Whereas the 2 are finally reunited, we study a lot about their relationship from peeking inside Bob’s thoughts once they’re aside, and the result’s a devastating portrait of loss. Each mindscape in Psychonauts 2 provides us insights as to how the characters have handled their disgrace and guilt over an incident years prior, however greater than every other, Bob’s Bottles is a personality research that informs his relationships with different key Psychonauts.
The stage revolves round a person adrift in an ocean of self-doubt and loneliness, and each the title and imagery counsel struggles with alcoholism introduced on by his trauma. The incarnations of his character as expressed by means of “Bob Bulbs” are consistently, drunkenly slurring and making off-putting feedback. Moths act as each aggressors and protectors, cocooning Bob from outsiders. The Bob we meet inside his personal thoughts is a curmudgeon, however not as a result of he does not like individuals. He is satisfied that folks do not or would not like him, and that these whom he as soon as referred to as mates had been faking it.
By exploring his thoughts and listening to his soft-spoken doubts, we get the sense that the actual Bob is quiet and withdrawn, and at all times had hassle connecting with individuals. We see that distinction with Helmut’s candy, outgoing optimism and zest for all times, as expressed in his personal stage and the way Bob talks about him. It was Helmut who appealed to Maligula as a buddy and colleague, and it was Helmut who sacrificed himself to guard his meek husband. We see how the 2 balanced each other, how Helmut introduced out the most effective in Bob, and the way disoriented Bob turned with out Helmut. The apex of Bob’s Bottles is a huge marriage ceremony cake, a testomony to the loss Bob by no means recovered from within the 20 years prior. When his imaginative and prescient of Helmut says he by no means liked him, Bob lastly realizes these doubts aren’t actual solely as a result of he is aware of deep in his coronary heart that Helmut would by no means say that.
Bob and Helmut finally get a contented (albeit unusual) reunion: Helmut’s recovered mind is positioned into a brand new physique, Nick from the mailroom, permitting the 2 to see each other ultimately. Bob has aged, and Helmut is unrecognizable as Nick, however the outward look makes no distinction to both of them.
It is a unbelievable second, but it surely solely carries a lot emotional resonance as a result of we have seen inside Bob’s thoughts and understood the large absence in his life left by Helmut. Every of the Psychonauts withdrew into their very own neuroses and coping mechanisms after the struggle with Maligula, however Bob and Helmut are distinctive in that their loss is tied to 1 one other. Once they lastly come collectively, there’s an prompt sense of ease and familiarity and intimacy, and Bob feels entire once more. At that second, Psychonauts 2 blends its wealthy themes of psychological well being, neighborhood, and relationships, for an unmatched sense of catharsis.
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