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TheUbiquitous

REVIEW: Fantastic game, unimpressive remaster

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One professional reviewer noted years ago that there are two schools of remakes. One is something like what Square did for Final Fantasy IV, fitting new content in beautifully and redoing everything about it. The other school is what Square did for Chrono Trigger around the same time, which was basically nothing but a straight port. Grim Fandango Remastered, as the title suggests, much more like the latter.

Yes, it is wonderful to have redone textures for the character models that run off the game engine. However, it is not wonderful that the FMVs could not be remastered, and they are still low-res or, worse, full of artifacts. Yes, it is great that the soundtrack was re-recorded. However, the voices have some audible distortion, likely because the original tapes had been lost or discarded. Yes, the lighting effects add a nice amount of ambiance. However, the backgrounds were untouched and so the only good way to play the game is with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Animation glitches have a soft workaround, but that involves reducing or removing the extra effects added in the first place. Minor benefits outweigh minor quibbles for sure, but when it comes to the improvements, don't expect anything to write home about.

Throw in a few bugs other reviews have noted and you still have something better than the hassle of installing Grim Fandango on an older system you found at a garage sale. A bit of a hassle, and hardly yet free of bugs, but still worth it. Controls late Year One in the Bone Wagon are wonky, for example, but maybe they always were --- and that's sort of what I'm getting at.

Grim Fandango is a fantastic game, and it is good that it finally has its re-release, but the remaster is less of a remaster and more of a port.

----

As a side note, is there no way to cancel animations? Elevator, Year Two, is rearing his ugly head again. Also, is it possible to remove the inventory graphics added to the coat screen, or in the corner when driving the Bone Wagon, and all other superimposed graphics? I'm trying to play according to the original vision of a no-graphics superimposed.

(Someone tell Tim: I always liked the tank controls better, even if they were a little awkward. Count me as one fan, and with you and your mother that makes three of us who thought it was a wonderful idea.)

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One professional reviewer noted years ago that there are two schools of remakes.

But you are starting your comment making same mistake like so many others who were disappointed with the remaster. Comparing a remaster to a remake.

Grim Fandango is a fantastic game, and it is good that it finally has its re-release, but the remaster is less of a remaster and more of a port.

I am not sure I understand this "more of a port". There is nothing in your text to support that the remastered was developed as a port or like a port (to include you "more of a") . From what we know they worked on PC and PS4 versions in parallel and they did add the mouse controls for the PC.

It's probably true that the remaster could have been more... impressive. Was it possible to clear up all cutscenes, though? According to Double Fine, no. Would it still qualify as a remaster if they had added new stuff in the game and/or extended background areas (recreating them from scratch)? No. Would there be another group of people disappointed if we got a remake and not a remaster of the original. Absolutely.

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Yeah, this is one of those "damned-if-you-do; damned-if-you-don't" deals. If they'd had a large budget they probably would have spent it in making widescreen backgrounds, first, which I don't think would have been unwelcome, but also would have made the project an order of magnitude more expensive, and it's unclear whether it would have shifted the extra copies to make such an endeavour worthwhile. So do they do that, or do they just preserve what's there? Well, if they preserve just what's there then some people complain that it's not remastered 'enough'.

I think what get's lost in all this though is that a year ago, this was a game that we doubted would even be on sale any time soon, unaltered. This deal was a series of unlikely happenings, and while we might wish it was bigger budget, the fact remains that we now have a version of Grim Fandango which has more control options than ever, runs on modern systems, looks and sounds better than it ever did and more.

I can't possibly feel disappointed by something I never expected to get in any way, shape or form, even if intellectually I can suppose 'well, I guess better backgrounds would have been nice'

Incidentally, I don't have the biggest, most up to date AV set up, but to me the backgrounds still looked great on my TV, and the new art blended really well. I can understand how it might be a little more jarring for someone viewing up close on a high-res setup, but the same is true of any old movie that's been cleaned up for blu-ray, so I think it absolutely fits the bill as a remaster.

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I think what get's lost in all this though is that a year ago, this was a game that we doubted would even be on sale any time soon, unaltered. This deal was a series of unlikely happenings, and while we might wish it was bigger budget, the fact remains that we now have a version of Grim Fandango which has more control options than ever, runs on modern systems, looks and sounds better than it ever did and more.

Yes, there seem to be quite a lot of people who believe that the original version has been easy to acquire for years (well, we would be out of touch with reality if we say it wasn't, but also out of touch if we assume that they mean there were *legal ways* to easily/affordably acquire it).

I have even read from a few people that GOG was distributing the original version for quite some time and therefore the remastered version was no more than an abominable cash-in! :D

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I have even read from a few people that GOG was distributing the original version for quite some time and therefore the remastered version was no more than an abominable cash-in! :D

Wowza. That's a new one, but I bet if you try and correct those people and all you get is abuse for your troubles.

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Wowza. That's a new one, but I bet if you try and correct those people and all you get is abuse for your troubles.

Don't want to derail the discussion here, but you wouldn't believe how childish/stubborn those people get when you try to correct them with facts.

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It might be a little more jarring for someone viewing up close on a high-res setup, but the same is true of any old movie that's been cleaned up for blu-ray, so I think it absolutely fits the bill as a remaster.

Thank you for making that point! just: yes! exactly!

Do you want to watch breakfast at tiffanys with audry hepburn and live with the quality it was recorded in or would you really prefer a 4k 3d remake with angelina jolie???

How on earth should they had, as the best example, had high quality voice recordings without killing all the old recordings please?

And just to get the simply vocabulary straight! ( no it is not a question of what you understand as a remaster)

As soons as you add totally new scenes you made new from scratch you are very hard crossing the boarders to a remake!

A remaster is what they did: enhance some old media and bring it to the actual technical level while keeping the original as intact as possible!

A remake: Telling the same story, maybe even with the same art style, adding some new scenes here and there, using different actors maybe. Do a totally new background, as it is a remake: that kinda looks like the old one while it isn't!

And jesus, we got a new word in the run for best misunderstanding: just a port!

Boy, rent the old game and install Residual but don't even dare install the deluxe patch or using Antialisation, than you have "just a port"

The deluxe version for residual is even a remake as they ... if you like, changed the artstyle of the heads and made new models and added new stuff!

This game is EXACTLY what it claims to be!

And double fine have put so much work and efford and even tons of extras ! into this game, it is SO unfair calling it just a port because there ain't so to speak angelina jolies "girls"in there in full 3d and in 4k!

All you ps4 guys just don't get over the fact that indeed there are tona of people who want to play exaxtly the original ... but in the best possible way!

And minus the bugs, that hopefully will get ad much fixed as possible, double fine delivered that in the best possible way!

And even the original had problems with bugs. so this game even has a history with bugs! maybe they should have done nothing but only bugfixing the old game and not even touch ANY texture from 98 AT ALL so than you could be happy and they certainly had only called it " a port"

After this seemed so totally unlikely to happen at all, people are so impatient and unapriciating of what happend here ... its really unbelieveable.

the new generation seems to be so spoiled by retina displays and 4 k, and the hobbit in 45frames or how it was called again, i ask myself if they would ever survive a charlie chaplin movie, or would die while watching it from pure suffering!

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And just as i mentioned "the hobbit".

Peter Jackson said himself, if he could have recorded LotR in 4k, 3d, with double the framerate back than: he totally would have!

But did he go and casted a new crew or casted all the old crew that is like over ten years older now and started all over again???

Do you guys even get the idea how much work it is to make a piece of art entirly new again! and double fine has a number of people in hand in its team, peter jackson would have only used for elve-ear-prothetics! Double fine is a smal studio! they make wonderful games,but really, they are not Square enix! they don't have as much money or a as big team even! but they don't even have to have it, as what they make is awesome never the less!

And to go back to the hobbit-metaphore. It would have been totally insane making Grim Fandango all over again from scratch! purly insane!

They better spend that time into a new game, or, even,as i totally would love that to happen, a sequel of grim fandango in all glorious 2015 graphics!

I love the land of the dead!

But as the hobbit will never have a story as the lord of the rings had, i guess a sequel of Grim won't ever top the story of grim and it wouldn't have to.

But i would rather enjoy someone elses 4years journey of the soul in mannys univers, and have new places, new characters and new puzzles, than a totally pointless full 4k remake in unreal engine.

It is a lot of work, time and money that have been put in all the old backgrounds, cutscenes, recordings in 98. maybe more money as will be likely to be spend on a adventure game again. Why should you dump all that work into the trash, only because some people can't handle the fact that they need to figure out how to configure a 4k display that way, they could play a 4:3 game well on it and how on earth to figure out even to ever enjoy something in 4:3. :roll:

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I generally agree with the points put forth by KestrelPi and Poplion. I just want to bring up one additional point that I think has not been mentioned here yet, concerning the possibility of remaking the backgrounds for a 16:9 aspect ratio: Even if they were as faithful to the originals as possible in the middle region of the screen, some fidelity would necessarily be lost when it comes to the composition of the scenes. The scenes were designed FOR a 4:3 ratio. In my opinion, not enough praise has been given to the decision of including those very discreet picture frames, which even change as the game progresses. That was, I think, an option of very good taste.

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@TheUbiquitous: yes there have to be plenty bugs to get fixed. I agree on that. But i can't see anything else as a problem here - at all!!! -

And double fine is bug fixing right now! They made great work and they still are doing it right now! Just don't be so totally unfair.

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One professional reviewer noted years ago that there are two schools of remakes.

Okay, and that's where your argument ends. GFR isn't a remake, it's still the same game (that took 3 years to create), but with some improvements/enhancements; and finally ported to systems other than PC.

Yes, it is wonderful to have redone textures for the character models that run off the game engine. However, it is not wonderful that the FMVs could not be remastered, and they are still low-res or, worse, full of artifacts.

For the most part the videos were re-encoded from the original renders at much higher quality and artefact-free. Are you just looking for things to complain about?

However, the backgrounds were untouched and so the only good way to play the game is with a 4:3 aspect ratio.

So what? Academy ratio was the only valid form of theatrical exhibition up to the 1950's, at which time widescreen was invented. And in the 1980-1990's all PC monitors were 4:3.

Tbh, imho you're just looking for things to criticise in this version.

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As a side note, is there no way to cancel animations? Elevator, Year Two, is rearing his ugly head again

Escape, Escape, Escape.

(Already tried it. Didn't work.)

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"Looking for something to complain about."

People here talking as if I'm a Double Fine hater. Pretty sure I'm not. I'm happy to be a Double Fine Double Backer, and I was a pretty strong defender of Broken Age here and elsewhere.

Fact of the matter is that very little looks cleaned up. Have you seen the the FMVs in year one? Or the background characters in the back of the Blue Casket? Thanks to the bug I've reported, I haven't played farther than that, yet, so I don't know what else I have store. Graphical enhancements aren't all that astounding when the bottom line has not been improved. In the original, the FMVs were the high point. In the new release, they look worse than most of the rest of the game.

... and, just in case you guys missed it:

Minor benefits outweigh minor quibbles for sure, but when it comes to the improvements, don’t expect anything to write home about.

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Fact of the matter is that very little looks cleaned up. Have you seen the the FMVs in year one? Or the background characters in the back of the Blue Casket? Thanks to the bug I've reported, I haven't played farther than that, yet, so I don't know what else I have store. Graphical enhancements aren't all that astounding when the bottom line has not been improved. In the original, the FMVs were the high point. In the new release, they look worse than most of the rest of the game.

Were the original files for the FMVs found? I know the original music was and some other assets.

Smiles

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"Looking for something to complain about."

People here talking as if I'm a Double Fine hater. Pretty sure I'm not. I'm happy to be a Double Fine Double Backer, and I was a pretty strong defender of Broken Age here and elsewhere.

Fact of the matter is that very little looks cleaned up. Have you seen the the FMVs in year one? Or the background characters in the back of the Blue Casket? Thanks to the bug I've reported, I haven't played farther than that, yet, so I don't know what else I have store. Graphical enhancements aren't all that astounding when the bottom line has not been improved. In the original, the FMVs were the high point. In the new release, they look worse than most of the rest of the game.

... and, just in case you guys missed it:

Minor benefits outweigh minor quibbles for sure, but when it comes to the improvements, don’t expect anything to write home about.

Really, sorry. What you are writing now is an argument. As i said they really have to do a lot of stuff still to deliver a perfect product. And with all the love that people have for Grim Fandango they really should.

So we will see how satisfing the last patch will be!

I don't like every bit of the remaster as well! The Shadows are awesome! But they even didn't feel like ready yet since rubacarva. There are a lot flaws in the remaster. I hope they iron them all out! Or at least like 90% of them!

But really, that's no reason saying they did nothing but porting it. Sounds more like you was angry and wanted to dislike the whole remaster now because that, if this is the case, really totally annoying bug! Sorry to hear so.

And yes, i understand you, that you are angry about that bug.

Maybe they should have talked with Sony about a later release.

But one thing because of Broken Age: People really really really should stop being sooo stressful and annoyed because double fine is delivering something later than when they thought it - might - happen!

Really, people, everywhere in this forum, stop telling double fine they should deliver faster and faster ... Let them do their work until it's perfect and than just play the fu*ing game ^^

It's funny, the "Beta" of Broken Age went so much better and it feels like there have been way less bugs in there (well it feels that way), as in the official release of grim fandango.

Maybe double fine should really concentrate on their projects and take a bit more time for their high ambitions!

And honestly, i love double fine because their high ambitions. So don't get me wrong.

Things simply need time. Thats a truth and you really should accept the time things need!

It feels a little like they released it a little to early. Even just a little.

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It feels a little like they released it a little to early. Even just a little.

I'm betting if another world, they would have held onto it for longer. But since Disney and Sony were involved, that probably complicated a number of things.

Smiles

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It feels a little like they released it a little to early. Even just a little.

I'm betting if another world, they would have held onto it for longer. But since Disney and Sony were involved, that probably complicated a number of things.

yhea, i really hope they are taking their time they indeed would have needed for the remaster and put that time into a lot of patches! or one two really big ones!

i kinda hope they don't yet feel like it is done and final ^^ maybe they do, who knows? i hope not too much. they shouldn't ^^ The remaster shoudn't bring too much of it's own flaws into that game. ;)

I mean hey, i will be just able playing it in a year or such when i got my money together for a gaming pc! you make this high requirements better worth waiting! haha

okay, sorry, siriously. But there are a lot people who will play it just in 2 or 3 years! And as the release trailer said: its not to be played for month but forever! so guys, go and make this baby perfect! ;D

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(Already tried it. Didn't work.)

It works every time. I think you pressed the wrong button or something.

It did not work this time, no lies. "Escape" was my first tactic. I ran around behind the forklift accidentally onto the other side, and Manny couldn't find a path, I guess. Anyway, that's a bug thread thing.

Were the original files for the FMVs found? I know the original music was and some other assets.

Apparently not. And that's fine. It just means that the value of Grim Fandango Remastered can't be in the Remastered part, and, as a Remastered, "Criterion Collection" it ain't. Grim Fandango Remastered does have value, however, as a port, and so the comparison was made.

But you are starting your comment making same mistake like so many others who were disappointed with the remaster. Comparing a remaster to a remake.

Not quite. It quickly shifts from the illustration, which serves only to lower expectations, to this admission:

Grim Fandango Remastered, as the title suggests ...

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Fact of the matter is that very little looks cleaned up. Have you seen the the FMVs in year one? Or the background characters in the back of the Blue Casket?

Yes I have, and I agree with you about the background characters in the Blue Casket. That's a very small complaint, but yes I think they should have been re-rendered and superimposed back onto the background to better match the 3D models in the room.

Thanks to the bug I've reported, I haven't played farther than that, yet, so I don't know what else I have store. Graphical enhancements aren't all that astounding when the bottom line has not been improved. In the original, the FMVs were the high point. In the new release, they look worse than most of the rest of the game.

I think the videos look fine. Nice to see most of the MPEG artefacts gone.

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We all have varying tastes. I've been watching old and foreign films all my life. Grim Fandango fits in perfectly. :-)

Smiles

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I had no trouble skipping cutscenes even on console, where I used it all the time to get past that elevator one. :)

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Apparently not. And that's fine. It just means that the value of Grim Fandango Remastered can't be in the Remastered part, and, as a Remastered, "Criterion Collection" it ain't. Grim Fandango Remastered does have value, however, as a port, and so the comparison was made.

But you are starting your comment making same mistake like so many others who were disappointed with the remaster. Comparing a remaster to a remake.

Not quite. It quickly shifts from the illustration, which serves only to lower expectations, to this admission:

Grim Fandango Remastered, as the title suggests ...

Okay, here we are again with the "Just a port thing" and if you are just blind enough to see any difference, sorry, haters gonne hate. So go on and be angry about the whole thing only because one annoying bug stopped you from playing - until the next bugfix.

If that is your point, really, go on with it if nothing can stop you. But really. It's plain unfair. ... some people will never be satisfied.

And i find it quite impressive how people can like totally ignore the definition of "Remastering" something just to hold on to there opinion.

I am with PONTO: With their decicions, like, the 4:3 screen and keeping the whole visiual thing like totally intact, what i love! they have proofed very much taste!

Rubacarva is awesome work, visually, there shouldn't been changed anything, but visual polishing, like higher graphcis and stuff, and nothing more!

You, Ubiquitous, have some points, but than you are start complaining about the whole thing, even like after it would be bugfixed it will be just a port or what? It's too sad you can't switch the real original game on, just to have a comparison! And yes, even the original game was nice. Thats just the reason they didn't need to do too much.

The main factor of this thing, whatsoever, is even: THE STORY. Great writing. Great Voiceacting! Big Maps, a huge perfectly thought world!

Really, this game isn't about guys in the blue casket that never say a word!

I am a person that minds such visual details aswell. But as long as everything fits, i know, there are in every creative process moments, where you have to accept some really minor visual flaws, if you want to keep the whole art piece intact! I am not saying that the remastered version feels like it was ready or done yet on release! That isn't really nice, especially as it was never called a beta. But really, it kinda more seems to have been a beta.

Than again, if double fine changes the release date, they had enough shitstorms in the past aswell. And i guess they couldn't because of disney and sony. Really, there are some people, that will allways complain. It really gets me. Double fine should just do their work. Because what they are doing is great.

If we the fans dislike something, we got the forums. But than again, really, at some points, you really need to take a step back and see the greater picture.

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