I think it’s safe to say that this generation of consoles has been somewhat “obsessed” with the past. Everything from HD remakes, previous console re-releases, and digging up old IPs shows that the gaming industry seems to be struggling to find fresh ideas and instead is looking to revive old ones.
The entire adventure game genre seems to have seen a revival, with games like The Walking Dead spearheading the new wave. With that being said, is it a good idea to revive an old IP within the revival of a genre? Seems risky to me.
In the case of Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded, the attempt falls flat. Unfortunately, the premise of LSL just doesn’t work to well in today’s world, especially with such a strong media focus on sexual crimes these days. Larry just seems…”sleazy,” and not in a “har har” charming way. He genuinely seems like that guy that creeps on all the women at a bar and makes everyone uncomfortable. I’m a parent to a young daughter, and if a guy like Larry wouldn’t leave her alone at a club or something, he would probably REALLY regret it.
Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is a remake of the original Leisure Suit Larry: Land of the Lounge Lizards game, and for the most part, the bulk of the gameplay remains the same. The biggest thing you’ll notice right off the bat is the enhanced visual quality. I’ll say it right now; if it’s one thing this remake does well, it’s create a gorgeous looking game. I still remember the original Leisure Suit Larry that I played on my MS-DOS IBM back in the day. I remember the pixelated graphics and the small color palette. Honestly, I can still see the original in my mind as clear as day. That’s what made Reloaded so amazing visually. It’s a colorful, detailed, 1080p animated piece of gorgeousness, and even though it’s not FULLY animated (characters have 1-2 moves like a motion comic), it’s still a very nice game to look at. Honestly, this makes me a crave a King’s Quest VI and Full Throttle remake more than ever.
As far as the actual gameplay goes, not much has changed. Depending on how you look at it, that’s either a good or bad thing. With many off the HD re-releases these days, I play through the game and think to myself “Wow, I can’t believe ______ didn’t bug me back in the day!” With Reloaded, that’s not really an issue as the core gameplay was not much more than pointing and clicking. Even today’s point and click games essentially haven’t changed all that much from this formula.
In Reloaded, you’re going to be doing this for almost the whole game: talk to the characters in any given scene, click the Eye icon on everything, click the Hand icon to pick everything up and you can pick up, then use these things that you just picked up on various part of the level to progress the story. There were a few instances where the order of things makes a huge impact, and doing things out of order will actually end the game. To be honest, I can’t see the purpose of “death” in a game like LSLR, but maybe that’s just me.
Perhaps the biggest issue I had was earning money through slot machines. I’m not going to lie, the mechanic was so frustrating that I referred to other reviews and walkthroughs to find an easy out. Turns out, there IS no easy out. Have you ever played a game where you save, move on, screw up, then immediately reload that last save over and over until you figure things out? I do that on a lot of JRPG boss battles, and honestly, it’s not something I expected to do here. In fact, I don’t even recall this being an issue back it the day, but to be fair, my memories of the original LSL aren’t exactly crystal clear. Basically, to earn enough money at slots, you needs to play, fail, reload last save, fail, reload last save, win some money, save game, and repeat. No…just no.
Luckily that doesn’t really make up the bulk of the game; it just left a bad taste in my mouth since that’s something that I did so early on. A lot of the “puzzles” in the game just didn’t seem like they had any rhyme or reason; it was just a series of guesses and hope you made the right ones in the right order.
The self-deprecating humor did elicit a chuckle or two at times, but (at the risk of sounding too snobby), I think I’ve outgrown this type of humor. It was funny when I was a kid, and it was funny when I was a drunk college student. As a 32 year old with kids, it’s not that funny anymore. Maybe I got too uptight…who knows. But overall, though I did manage to find some humor in this highly satirical game, I just didn’t find it to be all that humorous.
Where I DID get some laughs was in the fully vocalized narration and the voice actor that plays Larry. These were two of the highlights of the game; the narration, especially, seemed to realize the ridiculousness of the plot and just decided to have some fun with it. I found myself clicking the Eye icon on everything just to hear the narrator and his snarky remarks.
Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is going to mean different things to different people, and it really depends on where you are in terms of your level of humor. I am by no means claiming that I am into highbrow humor like a sir or anything, but simple potty humor kind of lost it’s luster for me when I turned, oh, 25 years old? However, there are a few instances of genuine laughs, and the overall style of the game certainly is nostalgic to those of us who grew up in the heyday of PC gaming.
If your idea of a good time is to watch Old School or Grandma’s Boy, then you’ll probably find much to like about LSLR. It’s really up to you to try it and decide for yourself. For me personally, the beer goggles came off.