Technological World for August 25: Psychonauts 2 is a wondrous delight, Destiny 2's The Witch Queen expansion, an Xbox controller for Canada, Epson's EF12 laser projector has great portability

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, Epson’s EF12 projector isn’t as bright as I’d like, but it’s portable and easy to use, Xbox Canada has a buffalo plaid controller for you, and Destiny 2’s coming expansion is massive. But first, Psychonauts 2 is witty and amazing.

Psychonauts 2 is certifiably fantastic and worth the 16-year wait

I got a copy of Psychonauts 2 from Xbox Canada last week. I’ve been playing it non-stop ever since.

Platforming, puzzling, and fighting are all part of the game, now available for PS4, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. But game director Tim Schafer got his start making the Secret of Monkey Island adventure games and his penchant for the dialogue and assemble pieces of a puzzle to open up new areas of the world is at the core of it all.

This works because the world is so rich and the writing so excellent. Psychonauts 2 is clever and referential without being exclusionary; it’s witty and humorous without being offensive.

The story picks up where the last games (2005’s Psychonauts and Rhombus of Ruin, made for VR rigs and released in 2017 and 2018) left off. Razputin is a boy who runs away from the circus to go to school (well, a summer camp for psychics). That concept alone reveals a lot about the sly wit that underpins the series.

In Psychonauts 2, Raz is now an intern at the Psychonaut secret agent headquarters, and he’s got a mystery to unravel and a mole to uncover. This is heavy stuff for a ten-year-old, but the competent and compassionate Raz is up to the task.

The Psychonauts have various psychic abilities, including the ability to enter the minds of other people, where their mental state is laid bare and euphemisms become literal, like the emotional baggage that you come across that you can resolve if you find the correct baggage tag.

And it’s these unique minds that provide license for the artists and musicians who worked on the game to range through various tones and techniques while keeping true to the core whimsical style.

There are a plethora of intricate and detailed plots in play and Raz has to untangle them all, including the core mystery as well as the individual stories of the other characters, each of whom have secrets they’ve been hiding.

I will say that even though Psychonauts 2 begins with a detailed “previously on” prologue, this is not the easiest world to be dropped into, and if you’ve got the time, I recommend playing the first game. It’s only $10 from the Xbox store ($11 on Steam) and it’s included with your Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

I’ve been quite vocal about my fondness for the first game and I backed Double Fine’s crowdfunding campaign to help get this sequel made.

So it’s very satisfying to say that the wait was worth it and the praise for Double Fine’s work is deserved.

Psychonauts 2 is a wondrous delight.

Bungie’s latest Destiny 2 expansion is almost an entirely new game

This week, Bungie took to the internet airwaves to share details of what’s to come in Destiny 2, the online multiplayer first-person shooter that first appeared in 2017 but has continued to provide fresh, unique gaming experiences ever since.

In fact, even though the name of the game is still Destiny 2, Bungie has done so much work to keep the game relevant and interesting that the new expansion, The Witch Queen, feels like a full-on sequel. It is scheduled for release on February 22, 2022.

The new story is centred on the Hive enemies and Savathûn, the witch queen in question, who has discovered how to use the power of the light, a domain once unique to the Guardians that players embody in the game.

As part of the Witch Queen update we’ll also get a new weapon, the glaive, which is a weapon that you can use for melee and ranged combat, and can also be used to block enemy attacks.

We’ll also be able to craft our own weapons, including the glaive, and we’ll have unlimited primary ammunition.

The tale of the Witch Queen actually begins this week with Season of the Lost, a prologue of sorts, and the new season brings with it a significant update: complete cross-play, so no matter what system or platform you’re playing on – Destiny 2 is available on PS4, PS5, Stadia, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S – you can play with people on any other system or platform.

Bungie also confirmed the Destiny 2 expansions that will follow The Witch Queen. Next, likely in 2023, is Lightfall, and The Final Shape (2024?) is described by Bungie as the final chapter in the Light and Darkness saga.

Destiny 2 is a free-to-play game, but the Witch Queen expansion is a new core game that requires a purchase. The basic game is $50, the Deluxe edition is $100, the Deluxe edition with a Bungie 30th anniversary bundle of bonuses is $125

Xbox Canada is giving away a Buffalo Plaid Xbox Wireless Controller

As part of its summer celebrations, Xbox Canada is giving away an Xbox Wireless Controller that has been designed with a Buffalo Plaid colour scheme.

You’ve got until the end of day (Eastern time) on Thursday to follow Xbox Canada on Twitter and retweet the following:

Ten winners get the limited edition controller and ten codes that can be redeemed from a list of games ranging from the latest Ubisoft open world games (Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion) to EA’s sports sims (Madden NFL 21, NHL 21, FIFA 21), to indie greats like The Long Dark, Super Time Force Ultra, and Below.

Epson’s EF12 laser projector is portable enough for outdoor entertaining

With the fourth wave truly upon us, our family and friends are looking to keep our gatherings and activities outside.

And when we’re being active or just hanging out, that’s pretty easy.

But when one of the kids wanted to watch a movie for his birthday, his mom wasn’t sure that was possible. She asked me for help.

In turn, I asked Epson Canada for help. Company reps sent me the new EF12 laser mini projector ($1,300) to test drive.

The projector is a cube, smaller than a 12-pack and about the same weight. Because it’s small and portable, the EF12 is very easy to move around and set up quick, which makes it perfect for outdoor movie nights.

Using Android TV as an operating system, the EF12 has built-in Wi-fi and Bluetooth, so you can get streaming going in seconds. It’s also got two HDMI ports so you can plug in a source; I used an iPad.

You can also export sound to external speakers, but we just used the internal speakers, which provide an incredible, full surround experience thanks to a collaboration with Yamaha.

The EF12 delivers a high-definition picture, but there’s no zoom, so your distance from the screen determines the size of the picture you can get. We set up about six feet away from a 12 foot by 10 foot tarp and that was about perfect.

My only complaint is that it’s not as bright as other projectors can be, so we weren’t able to start the Goonies at dusk, we needed to wait until the sun was fully down.

But once it was dark enough outside, the kids were completely locked in and loved the experience of watching a movie and eating popcorn al fresco.

And it only took me five minutes to take everything down afterwards.


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