Grim Fandango Remastered on PC – The DVDfever Review


Grim Fandango Remastered is, as you’d expect, the remastered version of the game which was last available to buy approximately 15 years ago, and it was a swan song to adventures of old and the last game created by Tim Schafer under Lucasarts, a man who is also known for Day of the Tentacle, Psychonauts, Monkey Island, Full Throttle and Brutal Legend to name a few of his games). It has also been said that adventure gaming was on a drastic decline and Grim Fandango was the last nail in the coffin of the genre.

Last year it was announced at a Sony PS4 conference that the game was finally getting re-released on PS4 & Vita, there was no word of a PC version though which caused quite a stir in the PC community with it originally being specifically for that platform. Thankfully, a few weeks later, it was announced for PC users to much fanfare.

The game, itself, is essentially no different to the 1998 original in the way it plays and the puzzles, everything is there with a few enhancements for modern gamers.

The Making of Grim Fandango Remastered – Double Fine Productions

Grim Fandango Remastered tells the story of a travel agent for the dead. You, the player, takes the role of Manny Calavera over a 4 year journey of corruption and intrigue Noir style. When the game starts out, you see that Manny is constantly getting the short end of the straw. He is working for the Department Of the Dead to pay of his debts to society (something you never actually find out). It is his job to sell travel packages to newly dead clients. Trouble is, with him getting a bum deal he could be stuck there forever and decides to steal one of the better clients from his rival Domino.

This then sets the story in motion and has him pursuing the client across various locations trying to make sure she is ok and get her to where she needs to be. On top of that he joins a resistance movement, becomes an entrepreneur, a ship’s Captain and so many other roles making each of the 4 years different in looks and scene setting. To top it all off, he discovers that corruption is rife stopping genuine honest people that lead a good life from getting on an express train that takes them to their afterlife really quickly.

The setting itself, like I briefly mentioned, has a strong Film Noir feel to it – smoky bars with suave characters and music that sets the tone. It also takes on the theme of the Mexican folk lore and death, the soul must travel the land of the dead for 4 years to repent their sins in life and rediscover themselves allowing them to pass the final gate into the afterlife.

Grim Fandango Remastered – Gameplay Walkthrough Part 1 [1080p HD PS4 – courtesy of MKIceAndFire

So with the remaster what can you expect?

The game has an all new point-and-click interface which makes me believe, if successful, that it will become available for IOS and Android as that can literally be converted to touch controls. There is also the original tank controls (rotate left/right and forward to move) and there is also the camera-specific movement which, at times, can cause a little confusion if you stop to look at something and the next movement you make requires a different direction on the controller!

I do remember the original having the latter two control schemes so point-and-click is the new one here and fits the genre perfectly, if that is your thing. Control-wise for the latter two you can use either the cursor keys or a gamepad. Personally, I played it start to finish with the pad; my only gripe here though is that the buttons are marked as if using a Playstation Controller. They need to patch this so you can state what you are using so that buttons are marked out correctly.

Visually, there has been a lot of work done to remove artefacts from the cutscenes. This is the first thing that struck me from the off – Double Fine managed to get hold of the original source material so they were able to work on that tidying it up. Most cutscenes, albeit a little on the low resolution side, look so much better. I did notice a few of the shorter scenes did occasionally show artefacts but nothing major. Backgrounds are virtually the same as the original release – pre-rendered artwork that you interact with. The main difference here is the character models – they have tidied up all the textures, giving them a crisper/sharper look.

On top of that, most screens have new lighting that was not possible back in the day. Manny’s office, for example, at the start now casts shadows from the blinds across characters and the scene itself is a little more subdued. You can, at the press of a button, switch to the classic models and lighting if you wish to experience the game the way it was when first released. You also have the option of 16:9 Widescreen which just stretches the image due to original assets and story boards being 4:3, or you can play it with plain black bars down each side or what can be best described as a Noir-style banner instead of the black bars. Personally I would stick with the 4:3 aspect ratio for the best experience.

Most of the sound has also been redone. Original voice work has been tidied up and the musical score has been redone with a live orchestra – the game has never sounded better, in all fairness, and they have definitely made the right decision in doing so. There is also a director’s commentary that you can enable where the developers will chip in on virtually every screen talking about their memories of the initial creation and the remaster. I would suggest enabling the commentary on a second play through and enjoy the game as is on a first play.

Grim Fandango Remastered – Launch Trailer

Overall Grim Fandango Remastered is still a fantastic game; it has heart and has been lovingly restored by its original creators. You can literally just use a guide for some of the trickier/obscure puzzles and play through it over a few days to completion. The story is what keeps you playing through it; there are some truly beautiful moments in this game. As an example, near the start of Year 4 you will meet Chepito again, last seen working under water. When you meet him at the train station, that is the last stop before the afterlife. His small story sees him circling round in a small pool of water to balance things out in his life. After speaking to him, he starts singing This Little Light again and heads off into the tunnel – it is very touching. If you try to follow him Manny states he could just leave now but he has to fix things that the corrupt officials had been doing and refuses to leave.

PC System Requirements, for some strange reason, seem a little on the high side. This has been brought up in numerous threads round the net. It also has a requirement of OpenGL 3.3 or higher which is pretty strange given the work that has been done. Just make sure your PC or Laptop meets the OpenGL requirement before buying or you may not be able to run it.

Grim Fandango Remastered is a game that everyone should experience in their lifetime, what are you waiting for, go and buy it now.

Grim Fandango Remastered – PS4 Trailer

Important info:

  • Publisher: Tim Schafer/Double Fine
  • Players: single player
  • HDTV options: 720p/1080p
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 sound: Yes
  • Spoken language: English
  • Subtitles: English



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