Remi sets sail and quickly returns with some first impressions.
I’m not going to bury the lede here: Sea of Thieves: The Legend of Monkey Island: The Journey to Mêlée Island is not my
thing. Maybe it’ll be yours, and good for you if it is as there is no denying that this first Monkey Island-themed expansion was crafted by well-meaning fans of the series. But: My take home after playing it for two hours—the majority of the episode—is that it’s a game suited for those all in on Sea of Thieves. If, like me, you picked the game up to play SeMI, you may be in for disappointment.
To take a step back:
After finally figuring out how to get sailing to Mêlée Island—thanks to the help of Marius, Huz, and a YouTube video—the promised appearance of the island set to an aggressive woodwind-forward performance of the theme was as impactful as promised. As far as a first-person Monkey Island game goes, it is the
right way to kick something like this off.
Then, things turned...
So many things are off in this game which feels more like an uncanny valley than anything else. You enter the SCUMM Bar and talk to Mancomb Seepgood, just to be greeted with the same dialogue as in The Secret of Monkey Island. I get it. It’s a reference and a wink... and also something repeated with nigh any other character in the game. The only real addition is the numerous references to being in Sea of Thieves. And while there are dialogue trees, each branch is short and almost incoherent. It’s not so much like you’re having a conversation as you’re going through a collection of lines.
I could live with that, seeing how exploration was what I had put my expectations into. Here’s the thing, though: Exploring the parts you didn’t see in The Secret of Monkey Island isn’t particularly interesting. To illustrate—going from the docks to the lookout takes one second in the original game. In SeMI you spend a minute just crawling through the winding trail. Yes, it’s fun to look out on the town for a second, but not a whole lot more.
To make matters worse, when you finally get up and want to see the rest of the island, you’re blocked from doing so. If you, like I, had expected an open-world game, then you’re out of luck.
Expecting puzzles? They’re there: The first one requires you to run around trying to find 45 pieces o' eight. I mean, that’s the antithesis of what decent puzzle design should be—it took me forever to find them.
The second puzzle involves angling, which... Yeah.
And you know: This could all be a me thing. Literally, I am not the target audience. You may look at what I’m writing, thinking I’m insane, that I’m not getting the point of Sea of Thieves. Which may very well be true. Even for me, there are things to enjoy, be it the music and voice acting. But, overall? This is not my thing—but I sincerely hope it’s yours.