Full Throttle Remastered: The Kotaku Review

Full Throttle Remastered feels like a supernova. It's bombastic, head-turning, and holds your attention during the brief time it flashes. The classic adventure game holds up today, but, unlike other Double Fine games, it doesn't benefit from a remaster. The original was already as good as it needed to be. It's an entertaining tale of road-rash and intrigue that's fun while it lasts.

Full Throttle Remastered is a heavy metal tale of conspiracy and grit starring a biker named Ben. Framed for murder and on the trail of the mastermind behind it all, Ben traverses the open road to meet colourful characters and solve a host of puzzles.

Developer Double Fine Productions has turned their remaster process into a precision affair at this point. 2009's The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, a remaster from LucasArts before the studio shut down, provided the blueprint with retouched graphics, a cleaned-up musical score, and in-depth developer commentary. Double Fine took that methodology and ran with it for other LucasArts titles.

The same revisions and features form the core of Full Throttle, but not quite as notably. The changes to Monkey Island offered a drastically different experience, while the overhauls in 2015's Grim Fandango Remastered showed that game's impressive artistry in detail. Full Throttle Remastered's feel unnecessary.

The original pixel art is still some of the best around.

This is not necessarily a fault of the remastering approach, which includes fully redrawn art assets. Rather, it speaks to the inherent beauty of the original game. Full Throttle is a mood piece inspired by films like Heavy Metal and Easy Rider, full of ripping metal music and high quality pixel art. The remaster's ability to toggle to an updated, painterly art style with retouched music is appreciated but ultimately extraneous.

The updated version is brighter and more cartoony than the pixelated original, losing some of its grit and edge. You can play the remastered version in 'classic' mode and avoid the updated version altogether, and it's hard to find a reason not to.

Full Throttle doesn't benefit from updated bells and whistles; it's a utilitarian game befitting its no-nonsense protagonist. LucasArts adventure games often boasted intricate and outlandish puzzles. Day of the Tentacle included a time travelling puzzle where players convinced the Founding Fathers to redesign the American flag so another character could disguise themselves as a monster.

Grim Fandango featured an intricate sequence to determine the winner of a giant cat race. Full Throttle mostly involves practical decisions. You'll use a pipe to break a lock off a chest or use raw meat to distract a vicious junkyard dog.

This focus on direct solutions gives the game a decidedly rough tone and gives Ben a distinct personality among his adventure game peers. On a thematic level, the puzzle design accomplishes a great deal while avoiding the excess trial and error of other titles. However, it comes with a cost: Full Throttle moves at a breakneck pace. While this makes sense for a game about blazing down the highway, it means that characters and set pieces are somewhat unremarkable.

You move from one to the next quickly, and you're far more likely to remember the frustrating parts when the game's over, such as an extended bike combat segment. The rest of the game feels like a blur, and it ends as quickly as it started. Most players will finish in around five or six hours and never look back.

The end result is one of the weaker remasters in Double Fine's catalogue. It doesn't reach the operatic heights of Grim Fandango, and it lacks the memorable puzzles of Monkey Island. Full Throttle is a rough and tumble game full of affection for the open road. It's a fun time full of fire, stunts, and fury. The remaster is a solid preservation of a classic title with some unnecessary additions.

Ben's story of highway justice holds up well and provides a suitable adventure game experience. It's not the cream of the crop and players might forget it in time. But in the moment? There's nothing better than the open road.


Comments

    Wow. I completely disagree. I've played all of the remasters and this is the best one by far. The fact that they've completely kept the tone and atmosphere of the original with the updated gfx, and that you can toggle between the two instantly is absolutely fantastic.

    This is is contrast to Grim Fandango which didn't feel remastered at all and Monkey Island in which they changed the gfx style so completely that all of the nostalgia and charm was lost.

    This is a remaster that only adds to the game and takes nothing away. It's a true work of art and I'm so glad that I bought it and I can experience Ben's journey once again.

    Last edited 19/04/17 5:25 pm

    I always looked back at FT with fondness and going though it last night in one sitting didn't change things too much, the writing and story is still rock solid and the atmosphere is great, but there are quite a few elements that do not hold up well, the pacing and brevity of some of the more detailed animated moments slip by awkwardly (this was especially noticeable during the showdown) and a few of the puzzles are almost Sierra-like in nature.

    As for the remaster, while it does make some improvements, as the article says, it comes at the cost of the game's grittiness, the only area there was some undeniable improvement was the Mine Road segment. But what really threw me off was some sloppy work on the art, some layering goofs (Emmet's foot in the bar is over a bench that's in front of him and during the finale the error text on the computer screen goes off it's monitor) and for some scenes it looks like they just auto vector traced the pixel art (as somebody who's worked with flash, this was the most noticeable).

    Besides those issues, I still enjoyed my revisit, I'll be heading back in to get those few trophies I missed (where's the LOOM seagull??) and I would easily recommend it to somebody who's heard of it and never had a chance to play it.

      LOOMing Seagull:
      When Rip is hanging from a machine gun above the gorge, enter the cockpit of the semi and activate the screen. Select these options : Main Menu > Defense Menu > Machine Guns> Controls. Finally, select "Fire" to unlock the trophy.

        ah, cheers. I have a save from that point from when I was trying to get the Burger Well Done trophy

    I remember the highway section where you had to battle other bikers and get their weapons to eventually have a ... board/bat/chain (I cant remember) and take out the boss to get a bike upgrade.

    The rest of the game feels like a blur, and it ends as quickly as it started. Most players will finish in around five or six hours and never look back.

    True, though for me I'll most likely finish it in 5 or 6 hours, then gladly replay it again every 6 to 12 months.

    If you know the puzzles like the back of your hand like I do, you'll finish it in a mere couple of hours. I think that is a record for me. Though I struggled to remember where to find a certain item at one point. Everything just came to me naturally and I finished it VERY QUICKLY. But it was worth it. I enjoyed the 'extended' end credits too.

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