Grim Fandango Remastered | Review

Funny Bones.

Grim Fandango Remastered on PC

Grim Fandango Remastered is the latest in a long line of repackaged re-releases. This time it comes in the form of one of the most beloved classic adventure games that sits pretty high on many a gamers’ “top 10” list. It is often considered a big risk to play on nostalgia since a trusty pair of rose-colored glasses usually don’t come as part of the deal. But, something must be said about a game that comes out once more and shows all over again how it earned its classic status in the first place.

Grim Fandango Remastered places you in the well-polished shoes of Manuel “Manny” Calavera, travel agent to the recently deceased in charge of getting lost souls to their destination in the proper fashion. Oh, it should also be mentioned that Manny himself happens to be as dead as each and every one of his clients. You are stuck in a dead end job in order to pay off a sin from your life (which you don’t remember), and the only way to do so is by getting as many premium sales as humanly… err skeletonally possible. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately you’ve hit a slump over the past few years and must now take extraordinary measures in order to save your job and perhaps your soul.

grim fandango remastered

You are Manuel “Manny” Calavera, travel agent to the recently deceased.

Not happy with his lot in death, Manny Calavera decides to sort of get even with his colleagues and proceeds to steal a client from right under a fellow agent’s nose. This leads you to one Mercedes “Meche” Colomar, a meeting that will turn your afterlife completely upside-down. What follows is a tale of regret, anger, adventure, and love that has managed to stand the test of time and show other games how it’s done.

The fact that it touches on issues that are still relevant today proves how far ahead of its time Grim Fandango really was. Oppressed workers, hipsters, and a greedy company inhabit the land of the dead. But, there are also rumors of an underground revolution focused on helping those who are unable to help themselves. Playing through Grim Fandango Remastered will no doubt provide you with something that most recent games fail to deliver: a deep-rooted story.

The entire wonderful tale takes place over the course of several Days of the Dead throughout several underworld locations designed with a bit of Mexican flair. In fact, every important aspect of Grim Fandango Remastered from the music, the locations, and right down to character design is given such attention to artistic detail that the entire game could have come right out of any Day of the Dead folktale. The soothing mariachi background music, and the wonderfully designed sugar skulls of every character help to set the tone of the entire experience.

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Sugar Skulls, Pinatas, balloon animals, it’s all in here.

With this release being a remaster, it is well within reason for you to expect all the bells and whistles when it comes to the visuals. This, unfortunately, is the one instance where Grim Fandango Remastered falls short. The game is stunning due to amazing art direction and cinematic camera angles, and while it does appear to have that extra layer of polish it is nowhere near as shiny as one would expect of a full remaster. Many parts of the game appear to be a bit dull which is really a shame due to how amazingly everything else has stood up more than 15 years after the game’s initial release.

Fortunately enough, this game is much more than its HD visuals, the slight snafu in the graphics department does absolutely nothing to diminish what makes Grim Fandango Remastered special. Adventure games are about… well, the adventure, and Grim Fandango provides one of the best adventures to date. Experiencing the transformation of Manny Calavera from a self-serving travel agent, to a man dedicated to saving others is nothing short of amazing. This is largely due to both the superb writing and excellent puzzle gameplay.

There are very few games that have that ability to deliver laughs throughout the entire journey. Grim Fandango Remastered stands proudly among those chosen few with the wit that inhabits every single line of script and some of the most interesting characters to ever grace a video game. Whether it’s Eva averting any of your romantic advances, or Glottis showing his eagerness to customize anything with an engine you’ll be hard-pressed not to crack a smile.

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Glottis, your trusty driver and companion, provides many laughs through your years in the underworld.

In between laughs you’re treated to some classic adventure gameplay in the form of some serious head-scratch inducing puzzles to solve. The character you control in Grim Fandango Remastered may start out as nothing more than a simple salesman but you will quickly have to get in touch with your inner detective if you are to have any hopes of progressing. There are times when you may feel lost but Grim Fandango Remastered never fails to provide you with everything you need. Not many feelings compare to those “Aha!” moments you get once you figure out how to use all the miscellaneous items you’ve collected.

None of the scenarios feel lazily put together either. There are times in adventure games where you fall into a routine of collect everything you can click on, and just move on. The developers of Grim Fandango gave everything both a purpose and its own little story. Collecting a balloon animal, or discovering an amazing use for that lone fire extinguisher each come with their own defining moments that make props feel more like story threads and not just items.

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You may be surprised by how many interesting items you can store in that coat pocket of yours.

Every single piece of Grim Fandango Remastered fits with each other in order to form this perfect gaming puzzle. Amazing art direction, top-notch writing, superb adventure gameplay, and a wonderful sense of atmosphere often lost in modern games. Not many titles have the fortune of re-establishing their classic status, and when given the opportunity they tend to show their age in a very unflattering light.

Yet, even with its lack of that graphical “wow” factor, Grim Fandango Remastered is able to become a classic yet again, this time for a whole new generation of gamers. Whether you’re a returning fan, or someone new to the adventure genre, Grim Fandango is a must-play experience. With it being available on so many platforms you really have no excuse not to give this gem a try.

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