“Play it again Glottis”

Available on PlayStation 4 (tested), Linux, Mac, PC, PS Vita, Android and iPhone

It’s been over 16 years since Manny’s debut on PC, delivering one of the most acclaimed adventure games ever. Today, with polished character models, upgraded controls and great extra content, Grim Fandango shows that it remains king as far as adventure/point-n-click games go.

Grim Fandango Remastered

Let’s start with the nowadays popular remastering process. As far as graphical improvement goes, lighting effects and some polygon polishing has been applied to the character models, making them look even prettier than before… or kind of.

Since the pre rendered backgrounds have remained untouched, the upgraded models seem a little out of place every now and then, thus making me go full classic on the graphics, which results in a more cohesive experience. It’s a shame that the backgrounds haven’t been
upgraded (especially for the events that have some kind of animation), since it would have made them even look prettier and a perfect match for the new character models.

One thing that really disappointed me though was the lack of a proper 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, forcing  me to choose between playing the game in 4:3 with black bars at the sides or use the stretched 16:9 option available. A proper 16:9 scaling option would have been welcomed.

Moving onto the story; Manny’s 4-year long quest to gain heaven is one of the things that made this game age so well. Film noir references, beautiful jazz soundtrack, characters well-written and recurring touches of humor make for an outstanding combo that will haunt the player until he/she finishes the game.

In regards of gameplay, there have been some improvements that adjust to today standards. For starters, you do not swipe a cursor around, hunting for interactive objects. Instead, you steer Manny directly using either the original’s tank controls or an updated scheme in which Manny moves in the direction you push, while his head turns
to look at whichever object/person you can interact with. It’s a creative way of twist things on an abused genre-wide design feature, yet so uncommon that it feels utterly fresh.

Luckily, there have been features that remained intact, such as the game’s inventory, which remains a brilliant solution to an issue most of the adventure-games had back on those days: Manny reaches into his suit jacket and cycles through each item one at a time. There is no item combining within the inventory screen, and Manny’s jacket never becomes overstuffed.

With all these improvements, the player can maintain the focus on the puzzles themselves, almost all of which make perfect sense within this world. Having said that, you will have to explore a LOT in order to progress and you will be required to think a little out of the box for some of the most challenging puzzles – end of Year 2, I’m looking at you!

You can finish the game without recurring to any guide or solution online, but adding a Hint system to the game that gives you a bigger help each time used, would have been a nice touch. Those of you who have played the Monkey Island Special Editions know exactly what I’m talking about.

One last thing to note is the addition of developer commentary. It’s a really nice touch, and it’s as easy as enabling a commentary in a movie dvd or blu-ray. Be sure to enable it in the Special Features menu before you begin; you will have a blast listening to Tim Schafer & Cos’ memories.

All in all, the game remains one of the best adventure titles ever, despite some minor presentation issues. Whether you are playing the game for the first or the tenth time, Grim Fandango Remastered has something new in store for everyone, making it a very nice addition to your gaming collection.

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Being raised with a Commodore 1541 and a PC 286, little Pablo Vecchio has been into games since childhood. Called “the weird guy” during elementary, he spent most of his time with his Family Game and his Sega Genesis. Fast forward 20 years, and he has become a full PlayStation gamer, mostly loving RPGs and fighting games. The guy loves the original Final Fantasy Tactics (PSOne), which he still plays on his cellphone, and hates James Pond, mostly because of the lack of creativity while ripping off James Bond (bad guy is called Doctor Maybe, I shit you not) He’s also a frustrated musician and male model (as you can see in the picture), and does computer stuff for a living.