Double Fine Productions bring LucasArts’ classic Grim Fandango back into the ether, only this time in the form of a remastered version entitled Grim Fandango Remastered.
Sixteen plus years since its release, the deceased Manny now returns bringing his sharp humour and even shaper sythe to both PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. Manny Calavera is the star of the show and the travel agent at the Department of Death. Unlike your average Expedia experience, Manny sells luxury packages to the dead and takes you through a four year journey in the Ninth Underworld.
If you know absolutely nothing about what to expect in Grim Fandango Remastered then get set for a bizarre and beautiful ride. It’s completely wacky, off the wall and a testing puzzle adventure. For a game that is 17 years old, the game look surprisingly good. A tap on the L3 toggle replicates the game in its original form. There’s not much difference apart from shadowing and the odd sprucing up here and there to be honest. Either way, Grim Fandango Remastered certainly hits the mark visually.
Grim Fandango is slow. It’s one of those games that plonks you in a situation and immediately you’ll be scratching your head, whilst shuffling about and poking the environment around you. The story rolls out by skipping to and from different locations, entering rooms and re-entering rooms – you’ll repeat this process many times. You’ll also meet a host of characters all completely different and all with bucket loads of charm, not to mention the outstanding voice acting. Grim Fandango itself delivers an intriguing plot by asking questions from a four dialogue text screen. They offer clues and objects which open up the path you need to take to further your progress. While some instructions are pretty direct and understandable, others are logic-defying and at times infuriating. This is where your love for Manny may wander. You’re on your own here as Grim offers little hints or clues. I’ve been stuck on games before, but never like this. This is frustration on a whole different scale. It’s not that these situations are tricky to perform, it’s the lack of information you’re given that provides the test. Getting lost (in both senses) is easy – there’s the odd doorway that you never saw before due to the games design or the throwing of bones into a tar filled lake that make this a unique experience. There are times when it’s trial and error mixed with a healthy portion of good luck than using your head to work out what on earth you’re meant to do. Whether it be luck or using a YouTube guide like I had to, either way take the win.
Remember there’s no auto save feature so get in the habit of saving manually. Also if you’re wanting to bag the Platinum there are a heap load of missible trophies out there. You even need to play the game using the tank controls…and why? Because Tim Schafer says so, that’s why.
Despite the difficulty I had in progressing, Manny and the awesome commentary certainly will keep your attention throughout. The backgrounds in particular are eye catching, and it’s little gems like these that really let you know you have a special journey and adventure ahead of you here. Is it however one of the most acclaimed adventure games of all time? That’s up to you to decide.
A slow burner from the depths of hell, Grim Fandango Remastered gives PlayStation a humourous and testing trip that I’m sure will remain a gleaming jewel.
Lizard Rating: 7/10