Community Review: Grim Fandango

I've been spending a lot of time playing the Grim Fandango remaster on the PS Vita. Key word: remaster. Has anyone else been playing? What did you think?

It's been a real mixed bag for me. Grim Fandango is one of those games everyone talks about and remembers fondly. The kind of game where, if everyone who claims they played it actually played it, it would have been a smash-hit 20 million seller instead of the niche, cult classic it actually is.

Playing back Grim Fandango is a strange experience. Its original release came at the tail end of my obsession with Graphic Adventures, so it's a game I didn't play obsessively like, for example, the Monkey Island series or Fate of Atlantis. I can't remember a single puzzle, so it's almost as though I'm playing it for the first time.

Therefore I'm making all the same discoveries I remember making when I first played it. Things like...

-- I really don't like the control system. I didn't like it when I first played and it feels even worse now. Point and click worked. I remember thinking that Grim was trying to fix something that wasn't broken, and it still feels that way today. -- The head tracking for objects thing isn't great. You're never completely sure that you didn't miss something. Results in a lot of frustration, particularly when you're stuck. -- The puzzles aren't great. The Petrified Forest section flat out sucks.

But I'm still playing Grim Fandango and I think the reason is simple: there's nothing else quite like it. It's such a unique video game. There was nothing like Grim Fandango when it was first released, and there's been nothing quite like it since.

Also, the writing is still phenomenal. That cannot be argued.


Comments

    I bought an actually legit copy of the original from some random stall on the streets of New York City at the end of 1999, and it was the first game I played on New Years Day 2000. Haven't played the remaster yet, but I hear it's still 4:3 ratio.

    I give the game 5 out 5 "New York, New York"s!

    I find it hard to see or know what the objective is next, so I was just running around clicking on everything then gave up. It's a shame, I'd like to finish it but not knowing what I have to do next does get a bit annoying.

      It's part of the pleasure in these kinds of games. There are hints around to point you in the right direction, but you have to discern them yourself, rather than the game popping up prompts pointing in the right direction.

      It's an opinion I saw in the IGN review as well. They explicitly mentioned not knowing what to do once the intro ended, which I thought was sad. The game starts with you looking directly at the message about the poisoning. All you have to do is press "enter" to find out about your first goal. Then there's only one person you can talk to, who tells you more about what's going on.

      I like that the game design leads you in the right direction but expects you to think for yourself.

      Except the forest. That whole section sucks, from the beavers to the signpost, it's all awful.

    It's lovely. I remember a lot of the prompts from playing it as a kid, but I can definitely see the difficultly spike to newcomers or people who aren't familiar with this old-school little-help point and click adventure games.

    The music and voice acting is beautiful, the dialogue is snappy, the textures and lighting have been redone wonderfully. Really happy with it.

    Now. FULL THROTTLE REMASTERED please please please please x 10000000.

    I'm a bit underwhelmed with the remaster. I wish they'd done a bit more to polish it up, possibly re-rendering the backgrounds or movies like they were originally talking about. It's good if you don't already own the game, but otherwise you may as well just grab ResidualVM and the Point-and-Click fan hack and enjoy it.

    I finished it 3 times as a young'n, so I'll pass... However, it IS one of the best adventure games ever made, so maybe I should pick it up...

    Also playing it on Vita. I love it - I picked it up some years back for PC but it was incredibly problematic to get running on modern systems so never got too far...

    I'll give you the tank controls are a hassle (although I'm using them, gotta get that trophy...) although as they can be changed, it's not too bad. Have no problem with the head tracking, and I have to say, it's a clever way of indicating what's useful - far more immersive than an object glowing, for example.

    The puzzles are definitely doing it for me though. Like Day of the Tentacle & other Schafer adventure games, there's a logic to them so you can actually think your way through the, rather than just applying every item in your inventory. I've been able to solve a bunch of puzzles by going to bed & just thinking them over.

    And yes, the art design, writing and music is unmatched. It's sad that LucasArts plummeted downhill from there.

    I was one of the few in my school that actually played Grim Fandango, Not many were interested in them as they were a dying breed even then. What attracted me to them was actually due to the Quest of Glory series, having never played monkey island then.

    The one thing that is a major misstep in my opinion is not having the hint button like what was in the Monkey Island remakes. I am still enjoying the game playing with a FAQ on my phone but I wish so much a hint system was implemented.

    Last edited 09/02/15 2:51 pm

    Cant wait to play it - still have my original copy in here somewhere.
    Next guys - Bladerunner - THAT was an AWESOME game - redo that to!!:
    Plus:
    Full throttle, The Dig, Indiana Jones, and heck Space Quest/Kings Quest/Police Quest - and perhaps even a *like* it was for Leisure Suit Larry 1-4!!
    SOOOO many memories!

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