'Full Throttle: Remastered' is Gorgeous, No Matter How You Look at it
Double Fine’s remaster of the beloved LucasArts classic looks great, no matter the style.
One of the few games that can pull me away from my raging Breath of the Wild addiction lately is Full Throttle Remastered. It's a cleaned-up version of the 1995 adventure classic, penned and helmed by Tim Shafer, and one of LucasArts' very best (alongside Grim Fandango, which was remastered recently as well).
It tells the tale of Ben Throttle, a biker who runs his own gang in a stylized cartoon desert that couldn't be anywhere but America. Ben is kidnapped and his gang hoodwinked into providing protection for a soul-sucking corporation, so it's up to you to solve puzzles, talk to the locals, and get your bike back together to save the gang.
The game is full of memorable characters and scenes, barbecue-blasted dialogue, and puzzles that actually really work (especially given the era), with a somewhat simplified UI and verb system.
Full Throttle would be fun even if it didn't look so great, but it is gorgeous. And Double Fine wisely included the option to switch (at the click of a button, at any time) between the original, crispy pixel art and the smooth, stylized lines of the remaster.
I find myself looking at every scene both ways, sometimes nodding at the tiny flourishes the artists made with the source material (and the aspect ratio: the original game is 4:3, so the new aesthetic allows for a touch more background detail in every scene). I'll often pop in with the pixel graphics, swap to the newer aesthetic when the characters actually talk, and snap right back when I'm looking for objects to interact with in the world, or just admiring the scenery.
In this way, the new game feels like a loving homage. No matter how you look at it, there's a rich land here to explore.
There's also a touch of melancholy to the world, the sense that these small roadside towns are disappearing, that the blue collar life that once afforded folks to live and enjoy the open road is eroding away. It's clear with Maureen, an expert mechanic who doesn't get to work on bikes much anymore, until Ben comes around with a broken hog (she's been relegated to toaster repair, lately).
It's in the art and lighting, showing broken down settlements and dusty trailers.
It's a beautiful world to inhabit, whether you prefer its lines clean and silky or a little more rough around the edges.
Disclosure: I used to co-host a podcast with Double Fine's Community Manager.