System: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Android, iOS | Released: January 2015
Developer: LucasArts | Reviewed On: PC
Grim Fandango is an adventure game of considerable prestige among point & click enthusiasts and has, in the past, received high praise for its art style and direction. Originally released in 1998 by LucasArts, the game was remastered and re-released in 2015 as the adventure / point & click genre began to curve its way back up the popularity scale.
I have to admit, this game is held close to my heart, amongst others, as nostalgia sits at the forefront of its appeal - this is one of the games that propelled me into the gaming world way back when.
The game boasts a genuinely likeable 'day-of-the-dead' / Aztec afterlife theme in a universe which was never widely thought of back then - limbo, where souls go before their final destination, the Land of Eternal Rest. How long you spend in limbo is dependent on your deeds in the Land of The Living.
A quick update of the avatar quality and detail seems to be the focus with this remaster, with additional aspects of modern lighting and attempts made not to alter too much, if any, of the gameplay format or background, and definitely no change to the incredible 'Noir' style. The controls, however, seemed to be better.
If it ain't broke don't fix it, right?
What's important here is the story, dialogue and theme. To me, it was way ahead of its time in 1998 in terms of how imaginative it was and having never experienced anything 'Noir', it was an eye-opener...albeit a comical one.
Playing this remaster made me realise how incredibly complex the puzzles were. I'm sure back then that I used a walkthrough to assist, as I did this time, but we're not talking about realism here. The puzzles are wacky and sometimes the furthest from logical. You need to be wacky to figure some out, and I may just have been wacky back then, a little less now - so...I struggled.
Following a recently-departed virtuous soul (Mercedes Colomar) across the Land of The Dead - in which she did not belong -you play as Manny Calavera and uncover the corrupt dealings of the Department of Death (The DOD), where Manny works as a Grim Reaper. With the help of task-demon Glottis, a huge orange beast who carries the comedy throughout and who is created to carry out the more mundane tasks in this world, you work to save Mercedes from the clutches of your colleague and his dealings in the criminal underworld. Along the way, you're recruited into a resistance of sorts which layers the plot somewhat and thickens your role in the story. It remains a well-thought-out tale with likability weeping out of every seam.
The journey is varied through many vibrantly dark environments and is extremely enjoyable in this sense. I only found myself bored when halted at a puzzle for a long period of time (eventually saved by walkthroughs...don't judge a story-driven gamer). This is true of any game I play, though.
The story and plot were never in question; It is a timeless classic and is to be played, enjoyed, revered and is a cornerstone for imaginative satisfaction. The remaster brings back Grim Fandango's edge and allows it to sit neatly on the shelf of Point & Click's return to the modern gaming industry. It's newly orchestrated soundtrack and audio effects help to make this feat possible.
It's hard for me to alter my opinion on this game as it was an all-time-favourite from my childhood years. However, it should be noted that, although the remaster is exactly that (a touch-up of the original), it is done in a way that is subtle yet effective. My rating is for the remastered aspects alone.