Written by  :  kyuzo (21)
Written on  :  Feb 19, 2006
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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If video games really are art, this is the greatest game ever made.

The Good

Grim Fandango features a production value higher than almost any game ever made. The story, voice acting, and art are so consistently brilliant that it gives on pause to consider that a game like this could never be made in the current gaming industry. This was a rare gem, a masterpiece of creativity that came at just the right time.

The story is amazingly well done. Tim Burton couldn't have delivered it better with his stop-motion, as the epic saga of Manny Calavera is delivered with nuance and humor. I have played this game numerous times through, and every time I get a little emotional at the end. It's just that well done, and the characters are so alive, even if they're dead.

The art is excellently done, with a variety of styles convincingly executed, albeit all within the overall motif of the game. While the characters themselves are low-res, this is not the result of any lack of vision, but of the technology available, and likely, the monetary support of Lucasarts.

Grim also features the best voice acting I've yet seen in a game. The use of real actors (Manny is voiced by the guy who played El Guapo's sidekick in "The Three Amigos") adds so much to the experience.

The gameplay itself is typical adventure fare, well executed. The puzzles are intelligent, but not overwrought or bizarre. Mostly, they serve to pace the wonderful storyline.

Also, the music was fantastic, featuring a variety of genres and instruments, all composed for the game and featured at precisely the right moment.

The Bad

The control scheme leaves something to be desired, and the puzzles aren't always intuitive. Sometimes you have to bang your head against the wall to come up with a solution to a few of them.

There were some technical glitches that were fixed with a later patch.

The Bottom Line

Grim Fandango is ultimately a story. It is a game which anyone could enjoy, or at least anyone who appreciates storytelling and human drama. It is a story of redemption, and it is beautifully delivered in the format of a video game.