Last month marked the end of the Tales of Monkey Island Season One adventure, and for the most part the entire experience has been a rather entertaining and worthwhile trip. While all of the other episodes in the series have been rather enjoyable the real question about this episode would be if it could adequately conclude the story line thus far.
Considering that the other games in the series have had amazingly good storytelling, this wasn’t one concern shouldn’t have been an issue, save the ending of the last episode. This installment did a rather concise job of bringing together all the major story arches for the season in a rather satisfactory way. Although the only real complaint I have with the ending is that it seemed like it finished up a little too clean. It just feels rather odd as how random so much of the rest of the story was that things would simply finish up this well.
The writing on this episode was fantastic. Most of the puzzles in the game seemed to be obvious when the area around them was explored enough to locate the items scattered about. Most of the puzzles themselves seemed to be solved in a manner designed to invoke the most amount of humor rather than the most amount of sense, as in the other episodes. The only thing that has changed this time is that the game seems to have set all items needed for the puzzles well in advance, making the logic steps needed that much easier.
Although most of the puzzles in the game don’t seem to be finicky, there were issues with level design. Even though some of the puzzles seemed to be easy enough to figure out what to do, there were times this meant walking back and forth across the expanse of the game several times. This becomes annoying, not because of the length from one area to the next, but with puzzles that take a minimum of three round trips to solve. That is also if it is figured out on the first attempt.
Aside from some odd puzzle design, this episode does a good job of streaming most of the game into one steady experience. In every one of the other episodes, I would commonly stop playing when encountering a puzzle that was suddenly more difficult or complicated than the others, mainly when the only answer seemed to try every item in my inventory on every object in the game. This episode had none of that; I even managed to finish the entire event in one rather enjoyable sitting.
The most interesting part of playing the Monkey Island series is not only playing through a rather amazing story, but watching the game change and adapt to the way people play it. Some puzzle types used in some of the last episodes are back again, namely the one that involved following vague clues to make a “recipe” of sorts, and while they ended up being rather tedious in past instances, this time they felt more streamlined and directed. It is nice to see that the game change in ways that make the play style smoother.
The same voice acting cast returns, yet again to deliver spot on humorous performances. Returning with them is the same graphical style that rides the fine line between dated and amazingly well stylized. While it seems to be the same engine that Telltale has been using for the last several years, they seem to have grown into it as this episode seems amazingly well put together. It is also super cool how the game retains my specific game settings from previous installments and automatically applies them in new episodes.
The Tales of Monkey Island Season was oddly priced when it came out, forcing gamers to purchase the entire season before all of it was released. At the time, that might have seemed rather odd but it no longer does. Monkey Island tells an engaging story from start to finish, all of which connects rather well to every other episode. By doing this, publishers can pretty much make no concessions for those that didn’t play or didn’t finish the previous episodes, and just cram in more and more story.
Tales of Monkey Island is probably one of the best games that came out last year, and probably one of the best adventure games that has come out in recent memory. While some of the puzzles in the game can seem to have a little too many steps, and some of the earlier episodes seemed to have rather overly elaborate puzzles the game itself does hit a rather maintainable and wonderfully fun stride fairly early in the series. For anyone who has a computer that is able to run this game, and since the system specs are rather low, be sure to put the Monkey Island series on your “to play” list.
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