Telltale Games has become synonymous with solid adventure gaming over the past few years. It is no wonder that they of all developers would tackle a reboot of the Monkey Island series, one of the most beloved in the genre. Five consecutive months have delivered five episodes in the Tales of Monkey Island saga. Is Chapter Five: Rise of the Pirate God a worthy conclusion to this story arc?
In short, the answer is yes. Since the beginning, Telltale stated that the titles for each chapter indicates the action contained therein. We’ve seen that with the earlier four chapters and Chapter Five is no different. Note: If you want to play the entire series without any spoilers then it’s best for you to stop reading this review. Everyone else can stick around as I won’t ruin the plot or ending.
In the previous chapter, Guybrush Threepwood was put on trial and eventually killed. Players take control of him in an ethereal form to figure out LeChuck’s endgame and how to stop it. The beginning of the episode presents players with a half-minute recap of what put Guybrush in his current status of being dead. Solving puzzles and gathering information to ultimately get you out of your predicament starts from the very first moment.
It’s easy to notice that the game engine is still the same. That means load times are non-existent on a mid-range PC. Control your character with the mouse and keyboard direction keys, if desired. What you have come to expect from the previous four chapters are still here including great set locations and solid voice acting. The only things that you should be concerned about are the puzzles and the story’s finale.
Don’t be concerned about the story. Massive amounts of praise should be heaped upon the writers of the Tales of Monkey Island. With the skill of a master craftsman, players are brought further into the game world with new (and recurring) characters. Personalities are fully fleshed out and create many extremely humorous moments. A lot of times it is subtle and well thought out using not just pirate puns but poking fun at video game mechanics in general.
The puzzles aren’t as strong as the writing. Chapter Five had more running back-and-forth between locations than previous chapters. While the game world isn’t massive, it still drains the fun to go back through the same area for the fifth time in a row. The in-game hint system can sometimes be helpful but it’s a bit too vague if you are completely stuck. A more beneficial method of help might be the option to have various levels of hints to keep players inside the game world.
The last part of the game also literally pushes the player. This creates a time restraint to figure out how to end the cycle and win the battle. This game mechanic really made the last section stick out. The story's climax necessitates the pressure but could result in frustration because you don’t have time to figure out what needs done. This increases the standard difficulty that permeates the rest of the chapter (and series). However, it’s hard to fault Telltale for this sequence since it is a “final boss fight.”
All things having been considered, Tales of Monkey Island Chapter Five: Rise of the Pirate God is an honorable conclusion to the story. Telltale Games did not step outside the boundaries set by the previous episodes, but that’s a good thing. There is an excellently crafted tale to enjoy in this series. If you’ve played the previous four then there is every reason to experience the finale.
Tales of Monkey Island is an engaging and well written story that is a fun game to boot. Chapter Five struggles a little but ultimately brings the story to a fitting close.
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