After two attempts at rebooting the franchise, the original creator Al Lowe is back and so is Leisure Suit Larry (LSL). The original LSL in 1987 was one of the earliest examples of a video game with more adult dialogue. Sure it was often juvenile and sex focused, but at the time it was seen as an example of games for adults, to the point that you couldn't play the game without passing a series of multiple choice questions to prove you're old enough. Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded isn't a reboot, it is more of a remake that updates the visuals and adds voice acting. It definitely succeeds in retaining the original gameplay.
You are Larry Laffer, a paunchy 40 year old virgin who is looking to get lucky in the city of Lost Wages. In his journey Larry will bumble his way through meeting a few women on the way and finding plenty of trouble. The main problem is LSL hasn't aged well; jokes that would've been unheard of in a game back in the late 80's can still get chuckles but they definitely aren't fresh anymore. There is no shortage of games that push the limits of good taste much further than Larry ever could. While the kickstarter to fund the creation of this game was likely funded by people who wanted a high def version of the original game, they likely got what they wanted, but for everyone else it might not be enough. LSL: Reloaded adds extra content with an extra lady to woo, cartoony visuals that are more similar to LSL 7: Love for Sail and now everyone has a voice (they even got Larry's voice actor from LSL 7).
While the gameplay is a big step from the 80's version where you had to type to interact with everything, you can point and click and there's a variety of ways to interact with items including unzipping your pants at it. There have been so many point and click games that use a similar system of interacting, but LSL manages to make it feel so dated. Changing between looking, picking up and so on never seems to be a smooth experience. Using Larry's inventory feels as clunky, god forbid the game makes it easy to see how much money you have on you. In LSL money is vital to progressing, moving to other locations by taxi involves money and using it to purchase other items along the way, but the only way to make it is by gambling, most of the time by playing the pokie machines. This brings up one of the most frustrating features that should never have left the confines of the original game, given that Al Lowe wanted to fix some of the puzzles now he has had the chance. To make money you will spend time gambling away to try and build up a nice stockpile to see you through most of the game. This involves lots of saving and reloading and is truly annoying to experience in a game that was released this year. Overall most of the puzzles can be solved in the same way as the original game; a walkthrough. Just like the original there are no real hints to what you need to be doing or where you should be going to solve anything. To throw a spanner in the works for anyone who remembers what to do in the first game, there is a new puzzle and girl to talk with, but like the rest of the game there is hints to what you need to do and all it does is pad out the time of a game that is done in 2-3 hours.
When looking at the game the cartoony visuals work and bring back nostalgia of LSL 7 (if there's even are any people who have nostalgia for that). But as soon as people start moving and talking it becomes apparent that the animation is lacking. After a few hours with this game I realised that it felt like I was watching a game built on the Flash engine. This lack of polish could come down to the amount of time to get the game out of the door, or that the money raised wasn't enough to give the animation the attention it needed. The narrator has to do the heavy lifting in the animation area, for the parts that involve unique animations to a certain situation often you will be told what you've done before Larry starts to talk and you remember how bad the talking animation is.
The music is one of the highlights for the game. The jazz and funk present in the soundtrack are easy to listen to. The voicework isn't always so easy on the ears, the voice of Larry Laffer is just how I remembered it in the 90's with it being the same guy and all and it suits Larry. The Narrator is also the other voice you will hear a lot and he also works, but the supporting cast is either decent, out of place wacky, or uninterested voices.
I could only really recommend Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded for those who want to relive the original LSL game with updated graphics and voices. I understand that there is an audience for this game (they did fund the game to get it made). If you want to experience this blast from the past then you'll get what you came for. LSL isn't a broken game, but for 2013 Larry's gameplay has aged worse than the jokes and feels like a wasted opportunity to remake the game when the new interface is straight from 90's point and click games.