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Grim Fandango Remastered Review

Grim Fandango Remastered Review

I haven't been truly stuck during a game for a long time. Sure, I've experienced very difficult parts accompanied by frustration but I've always had some semblance of what to do. Grim Fandango, Double Fine’s sprawling adventure game has completely changed that.

The game's premise is a great one, you follow Manny Calavera, a travel agent in the afterlife who is attempting to get rid of his sinful debts by selling travel packages to paradise. This is all so he can get there himself and finally leave The Land of The Dead, where souls reside until they finally reach their destination. Souls who were good in life are offered better travel packages, for instance the best package is the Number 9, a train that gets you to paradise in four minutes.

grim fandango 0126 2

Grim Fandango's story is easily its biggest strength. The tale is split into four years, each taking you to a new and interesting location. Throughout these years you get to see Manny and his faithful demon companion Glottis, grow in character, taking on new jobs that enhance the story and serve the gameplay. There is an eclectic cast of side characters who are all wonderfully voiced, I haven't been this enamoured by a story in a long while and the quirkiness and creative setting is astoundingly charming. The story is accompanied by a truly fantastic soundtrack that has been re-recorded by a live ensemble. Jazz numbers are played throughout the adventure and each one is a joy to listen to. The soundtrack serves the locations of the game and emphasises the film-heavy structure that the game adheres to.

The gameplay of Grim Fandango is one that will test a lot of players who aren't familiar with the game. You progress by solving puzzles which require you to collect certain items to figure out a complicated, multi-faceted scenario. The puzzles do make sense but in a very wacky way and a few times I stumbled onto the answer by presenting an object to a character by accident. There is no hint system either so expect a lot of backtracking as you try to figure out what links in with what. The difficulty of Grim Fandango is probably due to the games heritage, being made by Tim Schafer and Double Fine means it will be an engrossing, quirky and ultimately deviously puzzling game to newcomers, but the satisfaction of figuring out complicated scenarios is worth the frustration.

grim fandango remastered screen 04 us 22jan15

Whilst playing Grim Fandango I learnt two things about the game, the first was that I really adored it and the second is that I wished they were truer to the word “remaster”. I say this because whilst the game has been titled as a remaster, as far as I can tell very little is different about it. For instance, you are given the option to switch between the original and the remastered visuals easily, and all that usually changes is the character models. Now the pre-rendered textures and environments still fare pretty well, but I wish more effort was put into sprucing up the game as a whole, as it would have benefited certain puzzles, making it easier to see what was going on. The game is also rife with glitches and bugs, Manny would often disappear, as would items and one bug stopped me accessing a certain part of the game, almost making my save file useless. The game doesn't autosave so be sure to have two save files in case anything does go wrong. The remaster does include the option to play with the original tank controls, something I wouldn't recommend although there is a trophy for finishing the game by only using this method. Speaking of trophies, Grim Fandango features an almost entirely hidden roster, but they can inspire you to try and locate different events and conversations during the game, both of which are hilarious and genuinely fun to watch. The remaster also includes a commentary option from members of the Double Fine team which is quite interesting to listen and is something which diehard fans of the game should appreciate. There is also the option to play the game in widescreen but it generally looks pretty terrible and stretched across the screen. This means you have to play the game with either a black border or a textured border.

Grim Fandango is a great game let down by its age, it generally looks good but persistent bugs hinder the experience. For fans of adventure and puzzle games I would highly recommend it, as it has one of the most engrossing and enjoyable stories of recent memory, and even the simplest of puzzles offer great satisfaction upon completion. The world and story of Manny Calavera are the main reasons to play Grim Fandango, persisting through the bugs can sometimes be a frustrating experience but it will be worthwhile. Grim Fandango is truly a classic of its time and will remain a highlight of the adventure/puzzle genre for years to come. This new remastered version may do little to enhance the experience but it does offer gamers a chance to play a remarkable game, and that is surely worthwhile enough.

7.00/10 7

Grim Fandango (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Grim Fandango is a great game let down by its age, it generally looks good but persistent bugs hinder the experience. For fans of adventure and puzzle games I would highly recommend it, as it has one of the most engrossing and enjoyable stories of recent memory, and even the simplest of puzzles offer great satisfaction upon completion. The world and story of Manny Calavera are the main reasons to play Grim Fandango, persisting through the bugs can sometimes be a frustrating experience but it will be worthwhile. Grim Fandango is truly a classic of its time and will remain a highlight of the adventure/puzzle genre for years to come. This new remastered version may do little to enhance the experience but it does offer gamers a chance to play a remarkable game, and that is surely worthwhile enough.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Reece Armstrong

Reece Armstrong

Senior Staff Writer

Just a musician and geek all rolled into one who spends his days watching sandcastles melt into the sea

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