GRIM FANDANGO REMASTERED
Playing classic adventure Grim Fandango again is like seeing a skeleton get up and start walking around – which is exactly what afterlife travel agent Manny Calavera does in this Day of the Dead-inspired tale. It joyously exhumes the corpses of both fallen genre titan LucasArts and Grim Fandango itself, whose out-of-print and unsupported status had rendered it nearly impossible to find – let alone play – over the past decade and a half.
Adventure games tend to age better than other genres because their gameplay is so story-focused, and so it’s no surprise that Grim Fandango remains a fine experience in 2015. However, one missed opportunity for improvement is that, like many games of the ‘90s, there is no tutorial available. You’re simply thrown headfirst into the adventure, and any “How do I do that?” questions that would’ve been answered by the thick instruction manual you were expected to read before you played (heck, it was part of the fun!) are left a mystery here. As a $15 download, Grim Remastered obviously doesn’t include a booklet. And while you can check the button layout in the Options screen – Fandango feels completely natural on DualShock 4, by the way, and there’s a new feels-like-it-was-always-there point-and-click interface option on PC – you’re given no other context for what you’re actually supposed to do. If you’re familiar with Telltale’s modern adventures, you’ll have a basic idea, but Grim is a much deeper, more complex quest than the Walking Deads and Wolves Among Us you’re used to nowadays.
As I progressed, Grim reminded me that adventure games of yore expected a lot more from players than most games do today. That’s hardly a bad thing, but it can be a bit jarring if you’re coming to this classic for the first time. Over this beautiful and dramatic 12-hour adventure, you’ll have to talk to a lot of memorable characters, collect a lot of items, and use them in creative and often bizarre ways, so you’ll need either an excellent memory or a notepad and pen to keep track of your current goals (especially if you take a day or two off in the middle of your playthrough). It’s a lot to keep track of, and Grim Fandango won’t help you out in any way.
The Volume Ltd 2018