By John Walker on July 8th, 2009 at 8:52 am.
The demo for the first Tales of Monkey Island episodic adventure is available now. As indeed is the game. It seems so soon after the first announcement that it exists. This time you don’t appear to be able to buy the episodes separately. Instead Telltale want you to commit to the full five episode series in one purchase.
But put your arms back down. It works out cheaper. Whereas buying each of the five chapters would usually cost you $44.25, as one they’re $34.95. (The Steam UK prices work out similarly, at £25 rather than £30.) Well, cheaper unless you decided you didn’t enjoy a chapter and wouldn’t buy any more, I guess. There’s no doubting it’s an odd approach to being episodic – certainly Telltale have meddled with purchasing options in the past (rather upsetting people with a sudden change in pricing policy for the final episode of the Strong Bad games), and they seem very keen to encourage people to buy the full load of Wallace & Gromit games in one go, only offering the bundle on Steam. But this seems to be the first time there’s been no option at all to pick up just the one chapter.
Of course, this might change in the next few days. Initial enthusiasm for people wanting to play the new Monkey Island content created by Dave Grossman and Mike Stemmle would likely see them buying it in whatever form is available. But then we’re not often impressed with this sort of thing. Of course, there’s also the rather strong argument that these are not going to be individual stories, but rather a five-part serial. It wouldn’t make sense to play episode 3 without playing the others, we’re assured. (Sell it as one full game, then?)
Any how, the point is, there’s a demo out so you can see whether this is going to raise your heart or see you ranting on forums about how they’ve ruined Guybrush’s hair, etc. I’ve not had a chance to play the full episode yet, annoyingly, but from a quick go at the demo I’m pleased to report the voice acting from the regular cast is superb, and the design is a happy compromise between Telltale’s familiar engine and a traditional LucasArts motif. In fact, it’s really rather lovely just to see the LucasArts logo at the beginning of a Telltale game. It’s like seeing Pepsi holding hands with Coke. Maybe, sniff, one day we’ll all get along.