Episodic content tends to derive into a hit or miss situation. Either the developer can string a narrative and gameplay together over the course of three, four, or maybe five segments that intertwine to make a enjoyable cohesive unit, or each episode attempts to define itself as a free standing game, unable to adequately connect with one another and becomes a Smörgåsbord of failure. However, when Telltale games is at the helm, the latter has a piss-poor chance, at best, of happening.
Tales of Monkey Island valiantly returns with its’ fifth and final installment, The Rise of the Pirate God; a climax that even Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate™ would find worthy.
Since the first episodes’ release way back at the end of July, Tales of Monkey Island has successfully recaptured the essence of the original, swashbuckling point-and-click adventure. A great script boasting many laugh-worthy moment was the key, supplementing the varied puzzling difficulty that hindered some of the other chapters.
While laughs may be a little light this time around, The Rise of the Pirate God brings its “A” game in the puzzle department, as many of the best puzzles from the series are found in the final act. If it consistently brought the funny, then this final episode would be a perfect end to the continuation of a classic series.
When we left Guybrush at the end of The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, he was staring at the face of pure voodoo evil, who just happened to impale him on the fun side of a sword. Now trapped in a piratey purgatory with nothing but a strand of life, Threepwood must find his way back to the realm of the living, reclaim his rotting corpse, rescue his wife and end LeChuck’s reign of terror once and for all. A mighty task, but nothing that Guybrush and his witty banter can’t handle.
Like the other episodes, and every other Monkey Island, you’ll control Guybrush through a point-and-click interface that involves many combinations of different items you’ll come across during the episode. No new features, no innovations: but that doesn’t matter, as the time-tested formula needs no tweaks or enhancemens, and is still a blast to play even after two decades (and four episodes).
Though the way you play may not exactly be a new idea, the puzzles are refreshingly inventive. Because of Guybrush’s untimely demise, you’ll spend quite some time as a non-corporeal entity, unable to make physical contact with the living realm.
You’ll need some abstract thinking for a majority of the puzzles, which can prove to be frustrating at times. Yet, without a certain level of difficulty, the challenge would fizzle, as would the fun factor, and The Rise of the Pirate God strikes a great balance of frustation that will surely cause many “oh, come on!” moments and thwacks to the head.
The narrative’s climax brilliantly concludes with zany, classic Monkey Island voodoo spells that require everything from mini Guybrush impersonating parrots to electro-magnetized monkey named Jaques. It’s pretty epic by Monkey Island standards, yet, missing is the key to success behind the previous four episodes – the humor.
While it’s not as bad as the Jersey Nets’ 2009 season, the laughs are fewer and far between when compared to the rest of the series. Yet, when the game is funny, it flows well with the serious nature of the episode and helps ease the tension by LeChuck and his murderous intentions.
As usual, once you complete the story, theres nothing left to do in the game. Then again, most point-and-click adventures don’t offer extra or side content (like the previous four episodes), unless you want to hear the great voice work repeated. The story will take as long as your mind can think, but for the normal individual, it shouldn’t be any longer than three or four hours.
Tales of Monkey Island: The Rise of the Pirate God may not be the perfect end to the five chapter series, but it does a satisfactory job at culminating the events from every installment. Were it not for the lackluster humorous bits, this final installment would be the best of the series.
For the most part, The Rise of the Pirate God is a compelling end to an overall enjoyable, though not outstanding, continuation of the Monkey Island franchise, and paves the way for future adventures with Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate™.
Although lacking in laughs, this episode slightly redeems itself with an epic climax to finish off the episodic content.
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While it doesn't do much to innovate on the genre, it's still fun to use the point-and-click system, especially when challenging puzzles are involved.
Consistent with the previous episodes, the voice work is rock solid, yet the sound effects are of lesser quality.
Again, like the rest of the series, once the episode is finished, theres no reason to return to the Pirate Purgatory.
Although it's not the perfect, laugh-out-loud ending we all wanted, The Rise of the Pirate God is still one of the best chapters of the five part series.