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Grim Fandango Remastered (Video Game Review)

Double Fine Productions and video game developer Tim Schafer have teamed up for the release of Grim Fandango Remastered. The new release improves on the Schafer classic that originally released for PC back in 1998. Grim Fandango Remastered could not have released at a better time, as dialogue heavy, adventure games have become very popular with recent Telltale Games releases and several successful re-releases from the same genre. Grim Fandango Remastered still has some of the same problems as the original, but most any gamer that enjoyed the original or have a good time while playing Telltale Games titles can download the new release and thoroughly its roughly 12-hour campaign.

Grim Fandango Remastered follows an undead detective named Manny Calavera, who helps escort souls to the afterlife to pay off a debt owed to omnipotent powers that be. The game covers four years of content with different settings to correspond with each period in the timeline. The game is full of interesting characters, and the same humor that is present in other Shafer games is present in the remastered classic. Fans will enjoy reliving the narrative of one of the gaming industry's cult classics, while new players will appreciate the aged game's timeless tale for the first time.

Gameplay in Grim Fandango Remastered focuses on players exploring new areas in the game and adding new items to their ever growing inventory. Puzzles arise from choosing how and where to use inventory items to progress through the game. Unlike newer adventure games, Grim Fandango Remastered puzzles don't allow for easy progression through the game, and the unorthodox usage of items to solve some puzzles can easily frustrate players and distract from what is an otherwise enjoyable experience.

Grim Fandango Remastered packs a lot of content in its small package. The full original campaign will last most players through at least a dozen hours of gameplay. One of the biggest new features for the remastered version is the addition of creator commentary. Schafer and other members of the original game's development team comment on anything from the characters and storyline to the unique settings presented in the game. The commentary can be toggled on and off with the touch of a button. The additional content is really interesting and a great way to learn more about one of the most beloved games of all-time.

Grim Fandango Remastered incorporates new controls to more easily progress through the game whether playing on console or computer. The game still offers keyboard and mouse controls on PC, Mac and Linux, but gamepad controls for the game work efficiently as well. The controls make it easy to investigate items or manage an inventory to help solve a puzzle, but the game's protagonist does move slowly through the in-game environments, which can make solving some complex puzzles even more frustrating.

The biggest change for Grim Fandango Remastered has to be the remade graphics. The original game was ahead of its time with some background and other areas that have aged well and needs little touching up. Character models are still blocky and can look a bit rough around the edges, but the smoothed over presentation helps a lot. The new lighting is also fantastic and helps the game look more modern. The improved graphics can be adjusted in the game's options, though the remastered graphics definitely look far superior to the original. The game is played in the 4:3 aspect ratio that isn't optimal for widescreen televisions, but the stretched 16:9 is a blurry and abysmal looking setting that most gamers will want to avoid at all costs.

One other big change for Grim Fandango Remastered is the game's new soundtrack. Double Fine Productions did not just polish the game's graphics, because the original songs from the game have been recorded again with a live orchestra. This allows the game to have one of the best soundtracks we have heard in recent years with a variety of themes to suit each chapter of the game from the noir inspired jazz songs of the game's second chapter to the creepy themes one would expect from a game set in limbo.

Grim Fandango Remastered is a great game even if a bit too difficult when compared with other new releases in the adventure genre. The game has a great presentation that creates a unique atmosphere while making the game feel modern despite being nearly 20 years old. The remastered game packs new content including new controls, improved graphics and developer commentary that makes the release well worth checking out for longtime fans of the game or those that simply enjoy a good story and complex puzzles in their games. Grim Fandango Remastered is alive once again on PlayStation Network and Steam.

Grim Fandango Remastered is now available for the MSRP of $14.99 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC, Mac & Linux. For more information on the game, check out the official Grim Fandango Remastered website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Improved Graphics & Lighting
  • Fully Orchestrated Soundtrack
  • Steam Trading Card Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer & Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC (reviewed), Mac & Linux
Release Date: January 27, 2015

Score: 7 out of 10
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