Tales of Monkey Island PS3 Review

July 22, 2010 by Chris Wigham  
Filed under Features, Playstation 3, Reviews

Publisher – Telltale Games – Developer – Telltale Games – Genre – Adventure – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – Wii

Until I played Tales of Monkey Island I hadn’t actually had the pleasure of playing a Monkey Island game before, and, having already released their five episode series on Wii and PC, Telltale Games’ take on the series certainly got me interested in playing other games in the series. Now, PS3 owners are in for an adventure gaming and value for money treat – Telltale has released all episodes as a £13.99 downloadable bundle, which is available to purchase from the PlayStation Store right now.

For those wary of starting the series from this point, they needn’t be as Tales of Monkey Island has a self contained story, although that’s not to say that it’s the best starting point – there’s jokes and references which will obviously make a whole load more sense if you have familiarity with other games in the series. But, like I said, playing the earlier games isn’t strictly necessary, having become acquainted with the characters and the Monkey Island world through Telltale Games’ episodes myself.

Much of the story revolves around a pox that has infected pirates, hence the reason why the character in this screen is an unhealthy green.

There’s a large story running through the episodes, and fans will be wondering if one of the characters has truly turned over a new leaf and become one of the good guys. Obviously I’m not going to tell you, but the plot has its twists and turns and the witty dialogue is uplifting, regularly funny and expertly voiced by new and returning voice actors. Threepwood himself is one of the most charismatic individuals I’ve ever come across in a game, but he’s not the only memorable member of the cast, with plenty of others showing up over the course of the five episodes. I really enjoyed the humour and the storyline held my interest throughout the duration of all five episodes.

As adventure games go, each episode of Tales of Monkey Island is laidback and would come as a shock to those who have been weaned on action, and nothing but action, games. Such adventure games generally have you becoming attached to the stories and characters and solving puzzles to move on. The puzzles here may not be the most difficult to ever feature in an adventure game, although many are smartly designed and some of the solutions are definitely worthy of a chuckle.

I certainly had moments in which I was left to scour a walkthrough for the solution to a puzzle, but there’s also a rather helpful hint system in each episode, as well. Hints are delivered from the mouth of Threepwood himself and can be tweaked to appear infrequently or regularly, in which some pretty much reveal the solutions and others are vague to the point that you may need a walkthrough if you’re really puzzled as to what to do next.

Unlike Telltale’s other titles, inventory items can be combined, requiring a little thought or experimentation at times. The inventory itself is very basic and simple to use and the controls for switching to different objects and characters in the environments are satisfyingly intuitive, but it’s still not quite as fulfilling as playing the game with a Wii remote or mouse.

Areas are generally compact and, due to each one being rather brief, you won't be visiting loads of new areas in each episode.

Visually, Tales of Monkey Island is an absolute delight. Each episode has a cartoonish charm with some very expressive and charismatic characters, and the whole thing looks cheerful and colourful. Also, not forgetting to mention that this PS3 version is presented in HD, which makes each episode look better than ever. Having played a couple of the Wii episodes beforehand, this is an easy statement for me to make.

Tales of Monkey Island is fantastic value for money at £13.99, look at it this way: all episodes combined result in a 15+ hour game. But, not only is it great value for money, Telltale Games have once again delivered a series that has the dialogue, the puzzles and the charm. I just hope that the developer is given another opportunity to return to Monkey Island in the not so distant future. I’d just love to see a second season, but for now it’s time for me to discover The Secret of Monkey Island for the very first time.

9/10

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