Published on November 27th, 2022 | by Admin
Return to Monkey Island PlayStation 5 Review #PS5
Summary: Guybrush is back... again but this time on next-gen consoles, to thwart the actions of Le Chuck and to learn the secret of Monkey Island!
The legendary and fondly remember gaming character Guybrush Threepwood is back (again) after all these years in Return to Monkey Island and while he experienced a PC return last month, not it’s time for PlayStation 5 (reviewed) and Xbox Series S/X owners to experience this new adventure. The Monkey Island renaissance is back but with plenty of twists and humour thrown into the mix!
For ye olde gamers: Those of us of a certain age remember fondly the heady days of the peak of adventure gaming companies such as Sierra and Lucasarts filled the game store shelves with their titles… one of which was The Secret of Monkey Island… now a little over thirty years later prepare to Return To Monkey Island!
As you may have guessed, the story revolves around Guybrush Threepwood, intrepid hero, leather jacket salesman and mighty pirate who again embarks on a swash-buckling adventure through the Caribbean to find the secret of Monkey Island. While he has old friends to support him, old foes are back with the nefarious pirate known as the evil LeChuck that with his new crew, will stop at nothing to thwart his nemesis Guybrush.
Although this renaissance return sparked controversy on social media due to the art style, some keyboard warriors flocked together to let their distain be known, much of this focused at the creators which was a very heinous act. However to be fair to this series, the games have had quite a few different art styles over the years and after a while you do kind of get used to it, however for me personally, I’m just not a fan of the cubist approach. Nonetheless, it is stylised and somewhat suits this franchise.
Given that, the gameplay is filled with nostalgia… it feels like a smooth flow on from the original games. The dynamics between characters is all pleasantly familiar and indeed seeing some old (now older) familiar faces in the game is a large part of the joy of it all. The story is basically told in flashback via recounting your exploits to your son (who you actually start the game as). Every now and then we are taken out of the story for a little exchange between father and son but it’s quickly back to your pirating adventure.
Central to any Monkey Island game is puzzles and problem solving. Fortunately we no longer have to spend money on the Lucasarts Helpline, now we have an ingame “hint book” that you can access if you are stuck and request help with the challenge you are facing but it won’t go straight to telling you how to solve the problem. Rather, it gives you ever more detailed hints at what to do to progress which is a great way of doing it as sometimes it’s a simple thing that you’d overlooked or forgotten about and as soon as you are reminded you can put the pieces together. Other times it might be something so convoluted/dastardly that you just weren’t going to figure it out (fortunately for those familiar with the series, most puzzles will have a degree of familiar feeling to them that should get you through ok with minimal to no hint usage).
Even with the somewhat jarring visuals… having the original voice actor for Guybrush (original as in once they started using voice… those of us old enough will remember the first two games didn’t have speech when they were first released) is a very grounding element which instantly brought me back into the world of Monkey Island. Given that, the audio, graphics and gameplay does come together rather well and makes this title a very memorable one at that!
After more than thirty years it’s so nice to have the original developers Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman and the team bring the originality and charm of the first games back for this last outing. There’s actually quite a touching note that becomes available after completing the game that goes into some details about the development of Return to Monkey Island and it really does just feel right (perhaps more for us older gamers who grew up with it than people just joining it now). If you were a fan of the original game/s then absolutely grab a copy… it’s a nostalgic joy and will warm your heart better than a bottle of Rum.