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Grim Fandango Remastered Review

Grim Fandango Remastered

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Release: 27/01/2015
Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Genre: Adventure
PEGI: T
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9.0 - Gameplay
          
 
6.0 - Video
          
 
8.0 - Audio
          
 

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Grim Fandango is one of the classic adventure games, perfectly balancing fantastic writing with beautiful locations and stylized designs. That’s why it deserved more than this lazy remaster.

Everything you loved is there, along with all the glitches you hated.

The Land of the Dead

Grim Fandango puts you into the “skin” of quick-witted skeleton Manny Calavera, a salesperson whose job it is to help lost souls reach the next world as comfortably as possible.

When he finds himself at the centre of a conspiracy, he must protect himself and find out just what is happening in the land of the dead.

Like all adventure games, you find items and solve abstract puzzles to move through a conversation-driven narrative.

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As Good as it Ever Was

The game itself is still as fantastic as you’ll remember. The conversations are sharply written and funny, and the locations are original, even today.

The puzzles themselves are incredibly difficult, and newcomers to the genre will probably get more satisfaction out of playing it with a guide rather than approaching it alone. It’s not that you need to be Stephen Hawking to pin it down, but the solutions can be rather abstract and aren’t always signposted especially well (if at all).

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In the olden days, this was a frustration, not a gamebreaker. Adventure games were supposed to be obscure in their clues – that was the whole point. Today, it’s less attractive a feature, and one that will unfortunately hurt the experience of people who have grown up hearing how awesome this title is.

Still, it’s immensely satisfying to see how puzzles run into one another, and how situations develop. It’s an incredibly crafted game, there’s no doubt about it.

With a cast of wacky characters to interact with, even when you’re at your most frustrated, you’ll want to power through it to see what happens next.

But With Potential For More

Grim Fandango Remastered is a lazy re-release of a title that deserved more. While it successfully upgrades the visuals and controls for a modern audience, it doesn’t do enough.

The graphics have been smoothed out and now sit in HD resolutions. It looks good for the most part, although it’s still very blocky. You could argue that this is part of the style, and it’d be a fair point, but it still manages to make it feel dated.

There’s also issues with the animation, which is definitely as it was back at the time of original release. This could have done with a slight upgrade, and this is never more obvious than when you’re stood against a pre-rendered backdrop.

The audio is also a little bit of a let down. The audio hasn’t been cleaned up, so occasionally you’ll come across a character that really grates on the ears. Through a decent sound system, it’s hard to be impressed. The music, on the other hand, is perfect.

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Grim Fandango was a glitchy game, even after a couple of PC patches. Fans have fixed hundreds of problems over the years, but few of these seem to have made it across to the PS4 remake. There are visual glitches, crashes out of the game and these things happen often.

You can hardly say these problems ruin the experience – especially if you save often – but it does little to improve it either.

Grim Fandango Remastered Review – Conclusion

Grim Fandango Remastered is well worth playing, especially for fans of the original release. It has all the charm you remember, with smoother visuals and nicer controls.

There is a slightly bitter taste, knowing this is probably the best re-release we’re going to get. At the end of the day though, that’s why the price is relatively good, and something is better than nothing.

Can my child play Grim Fandango?

Aside from some occasional bad language and, of course, frequent themes of death, Grim Fandango is suitable for young children. The puzzles will be way too hard for them, so it’s a good title to play as a family.

You can buy Grim Fandago Remastered here.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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