I think the graphics in Tales are fine, the writing is nice, and the controls are passable. Overall, I think it's a good game that stands up well next to the other games of the series.
However, one of the interesting aspects of episodic gaming is that the games improve over the course of the series, which is good, but the flipside is also true: the worst parts, generally, are at the beginning. The part of the game where people get their first impression is also, sadly, where the bulk of the flaws are, and I don't think people are being unfair when they point out that Tales makes a pretty terrible first impression. For instance, I understand what they were going for with the generic repeated pirates, but to a new player, or somebody who remembers the series fondly and is suspicious of whether Telltale was qualified to make this sequel, it does come across as a sign of incredible laziness. Even though the move wasn't driven by laziness, it sends a very clear, lazy message. They changed this later, but for a lot of players, the damage was already done.
The only solution I can think of to this would be for Telltale to make a free, short, Episode Zero type of demo for each series, at least a couple of months before the first real episode, in order to gain important feedback regarding the direction that they're going. This allows them to incorporate that feedback, along with whatever other improvements they make, into the first proper episode, so when the game launches it can make a better first impression.
"I think it's the idea that counts, not the actual method. As long as you set out to cause a horrible death through insects eating the person, you're good." - apenpaap