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Return to Monkey Island - Review, Adventure, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X

Return to Monkey Island – Review, Adventure, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X

No Mercy!

Do I need to know the old games, at least Part 1 and 2, to be able to enjoy returning to Monkey Island? actually yes. Of course, beginners can also play the title, but the innumerable hints can only be understood by those who are familiar with the topic – because the new part actually follows from the story LeChuck’s Revenge on me. In the main menu, I recommend everyone who knows the originals but can no longer read them without having to click on Scrapbook – the events are presented in a condensed form and the important people are presented. Presentation as a kind of photo albums with a myriad of clickable fields is at least debatable – I was hoping for a smarter and faster introduction.

Guybrush has a strong stomach, but the new graphic style is transforming a lot of pixel enthusiasts. (Photo: switch)

The following disappointment was lurking in the options menu in the PC and Adapter test: There was no German synchronization! The English soundtrack, partly with native speakers at the time, is very successful – but if spoken English isn’t fast enough, you can’t avoid reading text boxes all the time. This is different in the PS5 and Xbox Series X version | S, and thankfully PC and Switch now get a free patch with a language upgrade as well. What do German sounds like? “Really good” hits the nail in the head. The original narrator Guybrush returns as Norman Matt, and the Queen of Hearts, Eileen, lends her voice as Frauke Pullman once did. The German soundtrack makes the adventure – at least for me – more interesting and enjoyable; Not only because I am no longer bound to read the text, but because professional speakers do great work across the board. The characters are sometimes sloppy, sometimes bossy, they convey the well-written dialogues in a very subtle way and don’t care about humor either.

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Everything remains different

Melee Island is a great place - and a first in the game.  This is where Guybrush meets his wife Elaine.  (Picture: PS5)

Melee Island is a great place – and a first in the game. In this scene, Goybrush meets his wife, Eileen. (Picture: PS5)

How do you like the style of drawing? There is no right answer to this question – I really like it, and some even catch their eye on the character designs. In any case, the scenarios are lovingly drawn and personal, also thanks to the many quirky lines. The scrolling purr and animations are neat and the camera also feels a lot more modern than it used to be. If you compare the look to the look of the original polka dotted version (or even the 2009 version), it becomes clear: Back to Monkey Island looks very different, but remains identical to the initial draft over 30 years ago – you get to know the characters, buildings and streets over and over again! The scenario also has a lot of feel-good sides: in five chapters, Guybrush explores a good number of scenarios that cite old places while introducing new ones. Back to Monkey Island isn’t a particularly big game, but it does have plenty of little nooks and crannies worth looking around.

Overworld map for a quick change of scenery is on the left, and the ordered list is on the right.  Everything is there, everything is as it should be.

Overworld map for a quick change of scenery is on the left, and the ordered list is on the right. Everything is there, everything is as it should be. (Photo: switch)

In terms of gameplay, an amazing classic adventure awaits you with plenty of dialogue, careful research and – and of course – puzzles. If you don’t choose the easy mode, easy on the head, you’ll easily spend ten or even fifteen hours with Guybrush, LeChuck, Elaine & Co. If you just get somewhere, whimsical exploration begins: there are dozens of doors, shapes, and many clickable locations. With the push of a button, the little wobble ensures you always know what things in the vicinity the slime pirate could interact with. Guybrush has a silly streak for everything and can use a lot of stuff. In the inventory I can combine things together and of course “pull” them into the world to look for possible combinations there. Adventure players know and appreciate it. And that’s exactly what Return to Monkey Island offers them – it’s not new or even wild, but it’s fun and it works.

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