Grim Fandango: Remastered PS4 (First Impressions)

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If you’re in the EU region and own a PS4, the January Sale is on and it is enormous. My wallet trembles before all these deals. Since it’s not even January yet, I thought I’d start off easy and bought Grim Fandango: Remastered for roughly $1. Can’t go wrong there, right?

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I’ve been wanting to try this game out for a while after seeing it all over the place during most major sales, and my initial impression of the game is that it’s definitely a gem.

Developed by Lucasarts and primarily Tim Schafer (think Tales Of Monkey Island, Psychonauts, Brutal Legend etc) is a game originally released in 1998 that’s very charming and witty as well as nail-bitingly hard in certain aspects. That being said, it only makes the sense of accomplishment that much sweeter once you figure out a solution to one of the games many puzzles. The gameplay is quite similar to that of a point and click adventure, finding random items scattered all over the world and trying to figure out how to use them to progress in the story. Certain puzzles are definitely cryptic, and you really have to approach it with an old-school adventure game sense if you wish to make progress. There are definitely hints, but more often than not they aren’t spoon-fed to you so you really have to pay attention to the dialog.

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You play as Manny, a character who wasn’t exactly a good samaritan while living so now he’s stuck in limbo with a dead-end job which has him scouting for potential clients that have also passed away and offer them various care packages to lead them onto the afterlife in varying degrees of comfort depending on their budget and how they were as a person when they were alive.

The game has numerous options to tinker with, and you can change between the old-school look and the remastered visuals on-the-fly. It’s quite interesting to see the contrast in certain areas. There’s also an optional developer’s commentary, which I find to be a great addition and something I wish more devs would add to their games.  The base game used tank controls which are also optional (There’s a trophy for beating the game using these) but something worth keeping in mind is that the game doesn’t save automatically, so it’s generally a good idea to save every once in a while so you don’t forget.

The game is in 4:3 and hasn’t been converted to 16:9 (widescreen) for the remaster. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me by any means, but something you might want to know. The game has many varying settings, such as 4:3 with borders or a pseudo 16:9 which is where the screen has been pretty much stretched horizontally to give the illusion of wide-screen. Personally, I stuck with the borders but it all comes down to personal preference.

Overall, I think this was a well-made adaptation of a classic game and I think it deserves all the acclaim it gets. If you have a PS4 and haven’t played Grim Fandango at this point, consider buying it now while the January Sale is on. Or if you’re a PC user, check out the Winter Sale on Steam.

 

 

 

 

PSVR Impressions: The Playroom VR

Along with Farpoint I looked into the free experiences on PSN that utilized PSVR and noticed a game titled “The Playroom VR” and gave it a shot. I had a lot more fun than I expected, especially given the fact that The Playroom is designed more as a family-oriented game or something to bust out when you have friends over to win them over to VR.

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The game itself has numerous minigames, some of which can be played on your own and others which are more geared at people playing alongside others. An example of this would be Wanted, where you’re a gunslinger visiting an old fashioned saloon and trying to figure out which one of the characters is the culprit. The way the multiplayer is integrated is quite creative, as your friends can give you information regarding the identity of the culprit from outside of the headset and relay it to you. It reminds me of the mechanics from “Shut Up And Nobody Explodes” in a sense.

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There’s also Monster Escape, which has you play as a Godzilla variant wrecking havoc upon a city. I found this one quite compelling as it tracks your head movements, so you can actually head-butt buildings. That being said, I would advise freeing up a lot of space around you before attempting this mini-game in particular seeing as you could easily cause yourself an injury otherwise.

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Easily my favorite of the bunch was Robot Rescue, which plays as a traditional 3D platformer in many ways, but implements VR mechanics in a very non-gimmicky fashion that truly increases the replay value and makes you wish this was an actual full-length game. The Dualshock controller plays quite a huge role in this entry, as it is literally used as a form of progression in-game. A hook can be shot out of the controller and attached to provide a tightrope for the character to walk on. An interesting addition is the fact that the game technically isn’t being played in third person, even though you have an overhead perspective of the robot character you’re controlling because if enemies collide with the camera it ends up damaging you as well. So essentially, you’re controlling another character while in the first person view of the character guiding the robot character. Is that confusing enough for ya?

Throughout Robot Rescue you collect small coins, but some are unobtainable unless you’re playing with friends so if you’re a completionist of sorts you might want to invite a few friends along for the ride. As mentioned previously, the game ends way too soon and has a surprising amount of potential as a stand-alone title. I’d say for the price of free, this mini-game alone makes this title definitely worth downloading if you own a PSVR.