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Return to Monkey Island


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Ron Gilbert has been given the very unexpected go ahead by Disney to direct and write a brand new Monkey Island!

Devolver Digital will be publishing, which means it's all but guaranteed to hit all major platforms, including Switch, Xbox, PlayStation, and PC.

This is arguably the biggest and most surprising news in recent years.

It will be a direct sequel to the first two games, as expected and always communicated by Gilbert. Personally, I've always enjoyed the third game as well. Nonetheless, this is fantastic news for those who care.


Edited by ifightdragons
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  • 2 weeks later...

My first few internet years in the mid 90s were spent in online Monkey Island communities, and this series is a massive passion of mine. I've been wishing for Ron Gilbert's Monkey Island 3 ever since it was originally announced that they would be making Curse of Monkey Island without him.

Curse is still a really good game, but the disappointment has stayed with me regardless, and decades later I'd long given up any hope that this game would ever come out. Seeing it happen now is incredible to me, I feel like a kid again and there is probably no other game I anticipate this hard right now.

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Just finished this game and I really enjoyed it. I played through LeChuck's Revenge last year and I can confidently say that Return to Monkey Island nails the story, dialogue, and atmosphere. The game moves at a nice pace until the fourth act, which is quite fun, but a bit drawn out. I played on "Hard" mode which is recommended for experienced point-and-click players and the puzzles were enjoyable. I did not use a guide or hints and never even felt tempted; the game is much, much easier than the classics of the genre. YMMV obviously, but there are no moon logic type puzzles and I only found myself really grasping for a solution a couple times towards the end. The elephant in the room is the art style, which is certainly divisive. I initially found it quite ugly, but it grew on me as I progressed and more locations were introduced. It looks much better in dark, grimy areas than the well-lit, outdoor prologue area. My only real complaint about the game is that they reuse the same puzzle solutions a few times; one could consider this nitpicking since those puzzles represent a tiny fraction of the overall experience, but it bothered me a little bit.

All in all, the game is a return to form for the series and I'd highly recommend it to any adventure game aficionados. It lives up to the legacy of the first two games while adding lots of great quality of life tweaks to make it a smoother experience.

Edited by DoctorEncore
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Just to offer a counterpoint, I disagree with most of that. I'm happy you were able to enjoy the game, but as a massive Monkey Island and adventure game fan, I really feel extremely let down by it, and what it could have been.

With Thimbleweed Park, Ron Gilbert demonstrated excellent skill at designing classic adventure game point 'n click puzzles in a modern product, that felt super rewarding to solve, and never unfair or too obtuse. Exactly the sort of design I would have loved to see in a new MI game.
While that game was a love letter to the classics, Gilbert has made it clear that the new Monkey Island wasn't intended to be a retro throwback, but what they'd like a genuinely new game in the series to be like. I respect that stance on paper, but in practice I think they both failed completely at that, and also completely betrayed the entire genre that Monkey Island is probably the biggest posterchild for.

First of all, Escape From Monkey Island is basically nothing but callbacks. Pretty much the entirety of the first three chapters is just one long string of "hey remember this from MI1?", with the game not even trying to add any single bit of its own adventure until the fourth chapter. Which feels like it should have been the first.
But at the same time, the game also seems to strongly deny the very same heritage it pretends to look fondly on. It very starkly tries to avoid "moon logic" puzzles to the point where there are real actual puzzles at all. I didn't find the game funny at all most of the time, and I think that probably has less to do with the individual gags being worse, as the humor in the original games mostly coming from the absurdity of your interactions with the world, which don't really happen on the same level in Escape.
The game is extremely afraid of you ever getting stuck anywhere, and making progress mostly comes down to just doing the thing you are told to do, rather than actually figuring out any esoteric solutions the way you would in a traditional Monkey Island game.
For example, the game requires you to open a locked cell door. In MI1 you'd do the same thing by observing the corrosive powers of grog, and finding a way to transport a mug to the jail cell without losing it due to the mug melting. In Escape you read the serial code on the lock and take it to the locksmith who makes a key for you. Every "puzzle" in the game is like that - no figuring out things, just running errands.

I'm not gonna spoil the ending, but I will say, because I think everyone considering spending time with this game deserves to know it, that the game pretty much just ends abruptly with no sort of closure at all. And I'm not talking about the cool way Twin Peaks does it, and is expected to do it. Or even the way Monkey Island 2 does it - I loved that ending. But this one is just lazy.

The game does act like it's trying to make a point with it, but ultimately feels like a completely pointless cop-out. Even if its point was to be taken seriously, that point would essentially be "why do you care about video games? it's time to grow up and move on", which is a pretty god-damn shitty take from a video game. Thimbleweed Park does something similar with its own twist ending, which I thought was equally annoying - but at least it does have an ending.

In a rare constellation of opinions, my take on the game actually mirrors, almost word for word, Yahtzee's from his ZP review of the game, and I recommend people watching it before buying the game, if only to gauge if the same things would bother them, or if they feel like they'd be able to share DoctorEncore's appreciation.


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Here's what I wrote about it when I finished earlier this year:  https://www.videogamesage.com/forums/topic/204-games-you-have-beaten-recently/?do=findComment&comment=323839

I felt positive about the game overall and would easily give it a 5 out of 5 score.  However as @Sumez points out, there are many criticisms to mention.  I think I would boil it down to something like "the game never really did feel like a challenge at all."  The player was tasked with going from place to place to advance a story about Guybrush and Elaine more than on a mind-bending puzzle solving quest.  This is a pretty fundamental break from the Point and Click heritage that the game is so strongly pulling from.


That being said, I'm still left with a feeling of enjoyment from the game.  It was nice to be able to relax and revisit the same world and plot lines that had been active in MI 1 and 2.  It was nice to hear the music and play through an adventure where Guybrush has aged a bit and has a different take on the world, and honestly, while I liked Thimbleweed park, I was not excited to play it again skinned as a MI island game.  Perhaps there is a "meta" aspect to this where a young Guybrush would have put up with a bit more obtuse puzzle solving while this version would not.


Anyway, the game worked well enough for me, and I think it fits in nicely with the other games in the long series.  It is definitely not my favorite MI game, but it's not my least favorite either.  (Reminds himself that he has still never finished "Escape")



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