I haven't posted here before, but I've been lurking as I've been playing ToMI over the past week or so. Now I'm done, I thought I'd let Telltale (and the world!) hear my feedback on the series and see if people agreed with me.
-- The atmosphere is superb, thanks to the excellent artwork, voice-acting, and particularly the soundtrack. I'm a Monkey veteran: I first played SMI at the age of eight, and MI2 a year later, so the Monkey Island world is a place of childhood nostalgia for me. Fundamentally, TMI succeeds because it recaptures, and even improves upon, that world.
-- The game had some great one-liners and some laugh-out-loud moments. As a long-time adventure-gamer, I particularly loved Guybrush teaching LeChuck how to use the command system. Guybrush inhabitating the Voodoo Lady's body was great too.
-- The darker tone worked excellently, particularly in Chapter IV. The spooky atmosphere of Chapter V had a great deal of ambiance.
-- Some entertaining cut-scenes and fun experiments with camera angles. For example, the camera-angle in the court, where Guybrush and Stan are "seen from the balcony" as in TV a courtroom drama.
-- Two great new characters: Winslow and Morgan LeFlay. Winslow's double entendres make me smirk and his voice is a marvel. W.P. Grindstump cracks me up too.
-- Some "Aha!" moments in the puzzles. For example, the chokepoint in Chapter 1 when Guybrush is strapped to LeSinge's chair and has to escape. Overall, I liked the hint interface, which could be developed further, as I hate having to rely on a walkthrough.
For Improvement (here's hoping for another series ;) )
-- My main gripe is there were so few locations. I loved the environments for the art and music. But in each chapter, I felt disappointed as there seemed so little to explore. TMI's game world felt smaller than the worlds in MI2, with its wonderful island-hopping chapter and all its puzzles.
It was frustrating to encounter locked doors constantly in Chapter I. Why the lack of interiors scenes? Chapter II felt particularly disappointingly small, because of the appearance of Winslow's map which seemed to promise island-hopping, but most of the islands are one-screen deserts. Spinner Cay looked beautiful from what I could see, but there were only a few merpeople around and only really one location.
Why do we have smaller game worlds in 2010 than 1991? I can only guess it's because the graphics and sound makes an environment so much longer to create. But it's sad: now we have the capabilities to create truly beautiful in-game worlds, those worlds have shrunk.
-- Although there are some a-ha moments, the puzzles could be improved. In some cases, they do need to be harder. But a lot of the time, they just need to be thought out better. e.g. I spent ages trying to figure out how to move the rubber tree in Chapter 2, before checking the walkthrough to find out that I just needed to talk to Anemone.
-- A smaller gripe: some of the minor characters could have a few more lines, a bit more depth and a bit more variety in the voice-acting. I know MI is a comedy, but some of the humor based on nationality stereotypes were painful rather than funny. (DeSinge the French fop, Coronado the over-sexed Spaniard).
-- After the wonderful Chapters III and IV, Chapter V felt dull and repetitive to me. It started out well with the spooky ambiance, but the environment soon felt empty. Plotwise, there were so many twists and turns in the final two episodes that the story became hard to follow. Even for a comedy adventure game like MI, the complex mix of changing character loyalties and switching between worlds seemed far-fetched to me.
All in all, I'd say an 8/10 for the series. (Let's say Chapters III and IV get 9/10, Chapters II and V 7/10, and Chapter I 8/10).
It's great to see Monkey Island back. Full marks for authenticity: it felt like revisiting old friends. Make the next game a little bigger (in terms of locations), a little richer (in terms of story) and a little harder (in terms of puzzles) and that would be perfect...