So my choice for Biggest Letdown of 2015 in the recent Ready-Up awards may have ruffled a certain podcast host’s feathers. The game in question was Grim Fandango Remastered and I feel I need to explain myself.
I was never a PC guy, so naturally there’s a massive gap in my games knowledge, particularly from the 90’s era of PC gaming. So when I heard that a remastered version of Grim Fandango was on its way to PS4 I was excited. I really wanted to try what many people called a masterpiece in the point and click genre. And after spending many hours with it I came to the conclusion that there’s a reason these sorts of adventure games became extinct.
First I’ll start with the good. The dialogue and characters are something special, it’s wonderfully written and beautifully stylised. It’s a great, unique setting that I wish I enjoyed more.
Grim Fandango often being cited as the end of the glory days of the classic LucasArts adventure games, this despite getting universal acclaim from critics. Coming out in 1998 the probable cause of this is because people at the time were more interested in shooting people in the face than solve increasingly obtuse puzzles.
The puzzles in the game requiring you to get into a certain mind set I just couldn’t manage. And it’s the same issue I had with Monkey Island. While you could think that old school point and click games just aren’t for me, then I can counter that and say I loved Broken Sword 1 & 2, actually finishing them in the process. Puzzles were challenging, but they at least seemed to have some sort of real world logic to solving them. Grim Fandango in comparison is like looking into the mind of a madman.
In the first couple of hours I looked at a guide more times than I care to remember. And usually with certain games doing so causes a lightbulb to appear atop my head and I think to myself, “a-ha! Of course”, but with this game it was more of a, “huh. What?”
Now I never bothered to complete Grim Fandango. A few hours with it was more than enough, so there is a chance it becomes amazing further on, but my time is too precious to waste on something I don’t particularly enjoy. It probably wouldn’t take that long if I just sat with a guide constantly open, but that’s not what I want when I play games. I want to feel a sense of accomplishment you won’t get from just reading words.
So there you have it, it’s not a terrible game by any stretch, but I just don’t understand where this love and affection came from. Is it a Goldeneye situation where you have to be there at the time to truly appreciate it? Though when it comes to my biggest letdown of 2015, I find it difficult to look past what was hailed as the pinnacle of its genre.