Remi gives it one more go; doesn’t get far.
Look. I tried. I really did. And to those of you who are into Sea of Thieves and are stoked about exploring the Monkey Island universe—I truly am happy for you. I hope you have as much of a blast with this tale as you did with the two previous entries.
But, I’m not here to muse about this third tale in Sea of Thieves: The Legend of Monkey Island (SeMI) for you. I’m here for those who really are only in it for the Monkey Island side of the equation—I know I’m not alone. And for those who have been waiting out these three episodes to see if you should give it a go... Well, you probably should think long and hard. This third tale, “The Lair of LeChuck” hammers home that SeMI is not for me.
The game’s shortcomings haven’t improved from what I outlined in my “The Journey to Mêlée Island” write-up. The story and the self-referential structure are jarring. There are those who will point out that the format is by design—we’re experiencing a hexed Guybrush’s memories (and perspectives) from the previous games, after all. I get that. And there’s a good story to be told from that, but SeMI’s narrative is not it. Maybe it’s not supposed to be. There’s a good case to be made for a framing device containing an immersive exploration of the Monkey Island universe. Had that worked, then awesome. But, as with the previous episodes, the world feels too generic to succeed in that.
This time around, Monkey Island looks like many first-person jungle settings. Once in a while, you’ll stumble across familiar locations, but even that is shaky.
For SeMI you have to trot through a lot of generic-looking environments to reach a destination that looked a whole lot more atmospheric in the 32-colored Amiga version. Herman’s art has seen better days, too.
Are there things to like, then, even for a curmudgeon like me? Sure. I was surprised that the beach music is a version of the jungle music in Tales of Monkey Island. (Aside: The MIDI quality of that soundtrack will forever be a bummer—the music at its heart truly is excellent.) Walk into the woods, and it transitions into Patrick Mundy’s classic Secret of Monkey Island map theme. That’s the type of immersion I was hoping for from the actual gameplay.
And, of course, hearing the classic voices again is always a treat.
I call this write-up “impressions” and not a “review,” as I couldn’t make my way through the whole tale. It was a chore to play it, and there was little waiting for me on the other side—YouTube will tell me what I missed.
Truly, though, I know Sea of Thieves players seem to like this. I’m sure other people do, too. More power to you. For those of us on the lookout for a Monkey Island experience and who feel like the added layers of a generic first-person exploration game get in the way? I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.