Review: Rise of the Pirate God

December 7th, 2009 by | 21 comments


When I first heard that the next Monkey Island game would be released in five segments approximately a month apart I was a bit skeptic. I liked the idea of a huge Monkey Island game at once and I feared the overall game would suffer in story, puzzles, and atmosphere by being divided in chunks.

To my delight my fears were quickly put to shame. The game is nothing short of what a Monkey Island fan could want and the story feels fresh and takes the game in a new direction and the fact that we get a new chapter each month makes the excitement last much longer.

However, where the first four chapters kept getting better and better, this one takes a step backwards and doesn’t quite live up to the high standards set by the previous installments.

chapter5_1Following the ending of the last chapter, Guybrush is now a ghost stuck in the Underworld which is actually the Crossroads. One of the first things you see is a familiar grog machine and it sells Grog XD, which by itself is awesome.

You spend the chapter navigating between the Crossroads and the world of the living in an attempt to regain your life and once again defeat LeChuck. The Crossroads themselves are nice, but a bit underwhelming. You run into a few old friends, but ultimately the underworld is quite dull.

chapter5_2The puzzles in this chapter range from easy to non-existent. There isn’t a whole lot to solve and what there is usually consists of simply clicking on an item or selecting the right dialog option when talking to a character. Most of your time in this chapter is spent traveling from location to location, click on something, only to go back to the first location and click on something else that wasn’t available when you were there the first or second time. From having excellent and innovative puzzles like the jungle on Flotsam Island, teaching LeChuck how to solve a puzzle or being on trial, the puzzles in this chapter seem uninspired and trivial.

In the end things get better though. The last puzzle is in the heat of a battle and is more like what I expected most of this final chapter to be. Up until the end the chapter is very relaxed and calm and after the intense build-up from the previous chapter this is a bit of a letdown. I expected more. Like a fiery pit where Guybrush had to struggle and fight to return to Elaine, not walk quietly around and pick up stuff without anyone interfering.

chapter5_3The story telling and voice acting is excellent in this chapter though. It is much more focused on telling the final part of the story than trowing puzzles at you and in this area it excels. You jump from emotional scene to action scene and back again, Once again Telltale proves their skill at telling stories and shows that there are more to Guybrush than funny lines and his ability to hold his breath. There are a lot of loose ends to tie up, but how this is done I unfortunately don’t know as the review build I got did not include the final cutscene, so I am in the dark just like you, my dear readers!

This chapter takes around the same time to complete as the previous chapters, but most of the time is spent on cutscenes or talking with characters. I wouldn’t want Telltale to remove any of the story telling, I just wish they had made room for some more puzzles.

Despite my negative ramblings this isn’t a bad chapter at all, but considering the quality of the previous four chapters I had expected something more from Telltale in this final chapter of one of the best Monkey Island games to date. You will surely enjoy this chapter just don’t expect a lot of puzzles that will have you scratching your noggin.

We’ve come to the end of ‘Tales of Monkey Island’ and except my slight disappoint in the final chapter I have thoroughly enjoyed this game. Everything from the plot to the humor have felt fresh and innovative. I think Telltale did an excellent job with this season and let’s hope there will be a second one!

Posted in Reviews, Tales of Monkey Island

21 Responses to “Review: Rise of the Pirate God”

  1. Radek says:

    Uhh, are you sure about the final cutscene not being included? Lack of music during the credits aside, what I’ve played through seemed pretty complete. Weird…

  2. monosalataq says:


  3. ponii says:

    how you can play it , if it sale tomorrow?

  4. spacehippy says:

    i agree with u completely, having just played the finale i found it very dull and boring most of the time. the puzzles lacked in depth and the conversations often tended to bore me as they only had a very rare occurence of the humour that was in the past 4 episodes. overall a less than amazing finale, which is unfortunate since telltale built it up so much and looked as though they might be able to close it all off, but really just left more questions unanswered than it did answer.

  5. Capt Kevin KID says:

    Just finished it at 10:20 AM wow is all I can say.
    It looks like the voodoo lady is up to no good and LeChuck is in a jar?

    Season 2 will defo be here in a year or so.
    Right at the end you see a Pirate flag with Sam&Max 2010.

    Now I need to finish EMI and LCR I still have not finished them 2 yet, hoping Lucasarts bring out LCR SE?

    Rise of the Pirate God was just F*****G brilliant, the puzzles were not that easy, but when you have been playing Monkey Island from the first one back in 1990 you develop a way of thinking in the games.

    Here’s to season 2 : )

  6. alkapel says:

    I think ToMI is great!! I really hope there will be a season 2! I liked very much the 5th chapter and disagrre that it takes one step backwards. Rise of the pirate god is excellent!! One of the best MI chapters I ever played!

  7. Marty says:

    Good review as always, although it is mad how much we agreed last episode, yet how we are so far apart this time! My review was in some ways the complete opposite:

    I LOVED the puzzles this time… they felt the best yet to me, very natural and fair. I also loved the crossroads location… the graphics for the final felt quite beautiful to me.

    Regardless, each to their own and thanks for another well written review, even if I didn’t agree with everything you said! This is always the first place I come to read after I have written my own opinion and posted it.

  8. Marty says:

    Ah, just realised the last review was by Haggis! That is perhaps why they seemed so different! 😀 Regardless, a well written review mate.

    • Haggis says:

      I do feel the same way as Dalixam though. In some ways, I felt this chapter was actually a step backwards. I think the apex of the series was chapter 4. It was extremely hard to top that, and Telltale didn’t quite succeed, I think. Overall I had expected something more, although I can’t quite put my finger on it. Of course, overall, Tales of Monkey Island has been absolutely fantastic, but I do feel it deserves a better executed ending. But to each his own of course, there’s no accounting for tastes. 🙂

      • Marty says:

        Exactly! I had a bit of a debate without someone on another site who said I couldn’t say it was 11 out of 10, because they thought it was 6.5 out of 10! Warped logic… a good review backs up its score with the writing… and of course it is all personal opinion (they also disagreed with me saying that!)A score isn’t as important as the words used.

        I don’t think any review isn’t going to be bias… of course it will be by its very nature. I mean, its not like I had a bad time playing the game but then just gave it an amazing score!

        Two different people can play the same game, and have two very different experiences. To me, the final was a step up from chapter 4 (especially puzzles) and to you, they weren’t. As long as we both explain these viewpoints, then at least people can make up their own minds afterwards and see whose opinion they most aligned with!

        Tbh as well, I like reading opposing views to my lown. It allows me to see if my own viewpoint still stands firm afterwards!

        • Haggis says:

          I completely agree. You’re never going to find two reviews that are exactly the same, and some people might argue that I went overboard in my review of chapter 4 when I gave the story a 6 out of 5. Still, I stand by that, but I respect that others might feel differently.

          And I also like reviews that challenge my own point of view – who knows, they might even sway me, if the points are made convincingly. 🙂

  9. Ferder says:

    Who cares about gameplay when the story was this mindblowingly awesome. After the dismal anti-climatic finales of Curse and Escape we finally get the big evil showdown we’ve all been waiting for!

  10. Glos says:

    Hmmm I on the other hand had a strange feeling when i saw Guybrush getting out of the grave… I had the same feeling as a little kid when I was watching Beetle Juice for the first time. The game itself had less Burton style then I previously hoped but in return it gave a little more of an old classic…:)Personally I think that this chapter isn’t as good as the previous one because in the end nothing really changes and once again we have happy end.

  11. DİNO says:

    I didn’t get the ending…Spoiler here** I chose the first option on the dialog, where guybrush gave elaine the ring back, but com’n, where’s morgan, what happened, is vodoo lady really, you know..? it’s all because of my lack of english.. still escape from mi is my favorite, the graphics of this one didn’t make me feel good about seeing guybrush again..he sure was ugly, and i definitely hate the keyboard controlled version of him lol, but still, the story and the events, the characters, the mysteries are all same, the good ol’ guycrush and monkey island! i sure adored morgan =)

  12. thatdude98 says:

    I actually don’t agree with this review. This chapter is by far the most kick$%& episode yet. I really didn’t think Episode 4 was all THAT great, especially considering the last part of it is exactly what you criticize this one to be: running around and picking stuff up.

  13. Daily says:

    I liked ToMI, it was a lot of fun, and i like it more than MI4.

    But I also hope TT isn´t making anymore MI games.
    This was fun, but it`wasn´t what I call a point&click adventure at all.

    Bone, Sam&Max, Wallace and gromit, and ToMI.

    All this games/seasons have almost no real puzzles.

    The puzzles in MI4 were sure better.

    I think TT has “we got to keep the game easy for causal customers” stuck in their heads, and will never bring us that brain-cracking games we we played for months to solve like The old MI`s, Leisure suit Larry or Simon the Sorcerer.

    Just thinking about the puzzles of this games now let me feel like i just watched an interactive movie by playing ToMI, rather than playing a real adventure.

    I recent played “the whispered world”, wich imho is a reallygood adventure, and compared to it, ToMI was a very bad game.

    It has good actors, dialogs, and a decent story, but after all i would prefer the first three MI-games alot more.

    Also the controls were screwed up in ToMI.

    What was wrong about just to click where guybrush got to go? I was scratching the (invisible) walls all the time, turning around in circles, just to reach places. And combining object was even more F´ed up. Who ever thought drag & drop was a bad way to work in your inventory? But well, withouth real puzzles, we at least didn´t have to do the slot-thing a lot, and it was always so obvious wich items to combine, that you hadn´t to do trial&error.

    I really hope the next game will be done by Ron Gilbert and LEC, and will be in 2D again .(look at “the whispered world” or AVS before you say that´s dead, or 3D would be better)

    One COMPLETE big game, work in progress for many years,
    with puzzles that keep you playing for weeks and months (if you won´t cheat yourself 😉 )

    If it yould be TT again… *sigh*.. at least please make a new engine, so your 3D looks at least half as detailed than high-res 2D game(like tww)ToMI sure has style and good animations, but it still looks like living sketches.

    After defending episodes when ToMI started, because I was so happy there was a new MI comming, I HATE EPISODES now.
    The last half year was pure torture. Play a chapter in one weekend (a lot shorter than in real MI- games, even if they tryed to have many places in every episode. Just compare it to the “Bood Island” chapter of MI.)and than wait 1 month. That finish the next chapter on one day again, and wait another 4-5 weeks. Sure hype and nail-biting fans rise sales, but if TT should make ToMI season two, and split it agian, i sure will wait for the season to finish.
    No matter how good they tell storys – they destroy them again by this gapes. Cliffhangers are not making this up on me. Imagine you wonna see STARWARS in the cinema, and every 25 minutes of the movie, there is a break for 6 hours.Nobody has to go that much to the toilet. No wonder you had to buy the whole season, otherwise they would have sold a lot less of the last half of the season than of the first episodes.

  14. chels says:

    Brillant!! Hope to see another monkey island made soon 10/10 on game play!!

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