Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Grim Fandango. We left him in 1998 when LucasArts created a 1920’s style, day of the dead, point and click adventure. GF captured us all with its addictive gameplay and visuals. While the original title was released for Windows, the newest version comes to us on PC, Mac, and PlayStation devices, reaching a more vast audience in this fully remastered edition.
The game follows our main character Manny through four chapters that each represent a year of time. Along the way he meets hilarious characters, at interesting locations that present him with odd and laughable scenarios. The player moves about the screen collecting items that can be combined in certain situations to defeat puzzles. Manny will turn his head toward an object or person of interest to let the player know that they can interact with it. Conversations with characters are a big part of the game and they run in a tree like sequence. The items in this game are another interesting and laughable aspect, as Manny will allow you to review these sacred items by pulling each one individually from his coat jacket. The game is such, that the player cannot die or get into a no-win situation. A constant progression is always taking place, as long as you can figure out the mind bending puzzles.
Along with any remastered game comes updated visuals and Grim Fandango is no different. The low polygon characters didn’t need a lot of updating, they are wonderful and classic the way they are, and LucasArts kept them that way for the most part. Lighting and effects have given the game some new life and you can easily see this as the player, by switching between original and remastered graphical styles on the fly in-game. While the characters have been updated, the pre-rendered backgrounds have had next to nothing done to them, but they didn’t need it. The stunning backdrops were so well done years ago that they still hold up to today’s standards.
One problem is that they didn’t give a widescreen, or 16:9 aspect ratio option. You either have to play in full screen mode, or a stretched out option that looks absolutely awful. This seems like a small detail that should have been worked out considering they didn’t have to change much when it comes to visuals.
The special features menu adds some spice. For fans of the game, you can play through with creator commentary added. It creates a fun feel for the people who played or wanted to play the original and never got a chance. Along with changing the graphical art back and forth from original to remastered, there is also a concept art gallery full of character designs. It’s a fun add in, that fans of the title will find amusing.
Gameplay has generally kept up well and was simple enough to begin with that it didn’t need updating. The only flaw is that in 1998 games didn’t let you know what they expected next. Current games bombard you with hint systems and one way streets sometimes up until the end, and while that isn’t appreciated either, a direction to go is always nice. There were several instances where I found myself walking around aimlessly because I didn’t have a clear view of what my objective was, or where I needed to find it. A dropped hint here or there would’ve made all the difference. Even a goal inventory would’ve helped, I literally wrote down everything so I wouldn’t forget it like days of old. Am I the only one that created maps for Legend of Zelda? I think not!
This game holds up to the test of time and is no doubt fun. Unfortunately it deserved a few more tweaks, namely a widescreen aspect ratio, and some insight on what to do next in rare cases. They certainly didn’t ruin the remaster though. I fully enjoyed experiencing this game, the controls were easy, the characters were fun, the puzzles were super annoying (in a good way.) and I didn’t want it to end. Regardless of the things it was missing, you won’t find a game like Grim Fandango.
Grim Fandango Remastered Gets
4 Out of Five
+Visuals and sound
+Special Features Menu
+Puzzles that make you think
-No 16:9 Ratio Available
-Unclear direction at times