Full Throttle Remastered feels like a supernova. It's bombastic, stunning, and will keep your attention during the short time it flashes. The classic adventure game holds today, but unlike other double fine games, it doesn't benefit from a remaster. The original was as good as it had to be. It's a fun story of rash and intrigue that's fun as long as it lasts.
Full Throttle Remastered is a heavy metal story about conspiracy and grit with a biker named Ben. Ben is framed for murder and on the trail of the mastermind behind it. He crosses the open street to meet colorful characters and solve a variety of puzzles.
The developer, Double Fine Productions, has made his remastering process a matter of precision at this point. The 2009 edition of The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, a remaster by LucasArts before shutting down the studio, provided the blueprint with retouched graphics, a tidy music score and a detailed developer comment. Double Fine adopted this method and ran it for other LucasArts titles. The same revisions and features form the core of full throttle, but not quite as remarkable. The changes to Monkey Island offered a completely different experience, while the overhauls in Grim Fandango Remastered 2015 showed the game's impressive artistry in detail. The feeling of full throttle remastered is unnecessary.
This is not necessarily a mistake of the remastering approach, which includes completely redrawn art objects. It rather speaks for the inherent beauty of the original game. Full Throttle is a mood piece that was inspired by films like Heavy Metal and Easy Rider and is full of ripping metal music and high quality pixel art. The ability of the remaster to switch to an updated, painterly art style with retouched music is appreciated, but is ultimately irrelevant. The updated version is lighter and more cardboard than the pixelated original and loses a bit of grain and edge. You can play the revised version in "classic" mode and avoid the updated version altogether. It is difficult to find a reason for this.
Full throttle does not benefit from updated frills. It's a useful game that fits its no-nonsense protagonist. LucasArts adventure games often contained complicated and unusual puzzles. Day of the Tentacle included a time travel puzzle in which the players convinced the founding fathers to redesign the American flag so that another character could dress up as a monster. Grim Fandango showed a complicated sequence to determine the winner of a huge cat race. Full throttle usually involves practical decisions. They use a pipe to detach a lock from a chest, or use raw meat to distract a malicious junkyard dog.
This focus on direct solutions gives the game a very rough tone and gives Ben a distinctive personality among his colleagues in the adventure game. On a thematic level, the puzzle design does a lot while avoiding trying too many other titles. However, there are costs involved: full throttle moves at a frantic pace. While this makes sense for a freeway flare game, it means that characters and set pieces are a bit unremarkable. You quickly switch from one to the next and remember the frustrating parts much more when the game is over, such as an expanded bicycle fight segment. The rest of the game feels like a blur and ends as quickly as it started. Most players will be finished in about five or six hours and will never look back.
The end result is one of the weaker remasters in Double Fine's catalog. It doesn't reach the operatic heights of Grim Fandango and the memorable puzzles from Monkey Island are missing. Full throttle is a rough game full of affection for the open road. It's a fun time full of fire, stunts and anger. The remaster is a solid preservation of a classic title with some unnecessary additions.
Ben's history of highway justice holds up well and offers a suitable adventure game experience. It is not the crème de la crème and players could forget about it in time. But at the moment? There is nothing better than the open road.