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I like Sea of Thieves and have enjoyed playing it here and there. I love Monkey Island. The classic LucasArts/LucasFilm Games series of puzzle-based pirate adventures has been a huge part of my gaming career.
So, yeah, I was pretty stoked when Sea of Thieves — available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC — announced that it was creating a new campaign set in the world of Monkey Island. But the actual experience did more for me than I was expecting.
Right now, you can access the first of three parts of The Legend of Monkey Island. Players are tasked with travelling to Melee Island, the first setting in the original game in the series, The Secret of Monkey Island.
Just seeing Melee Island in a 3D environment was stunning. Yes, we technically had that in 2000’s Escape from Monkey Island, but that was a pretty limited take on the location. Here, Rare has recreated much of Melee as it appeared in The Secret of Monkey Island. You can even find special barrels to sit on that recreate the viewpoint from the original, 2D game. The moment when you first approach the island on your ship, as it comes into view out of the fog and the iconic Monkey Island theme begins to play, gave me actual chills.
If that’s all this project was, a chance to explore Melee Island in a 3D environment, that alone would have made me happy. But this is a mini-Monkey Island experience. While normal Sea of Thieves centers on sailing and treasure hunting, this campaign puts an emphasis on puzzle solving. For example, you’ll come across a dog that has a bone you need. You’ll have to figure out how to get that good boy to give up the bone.
And, by virtue of being in Sea of Thieves, you can play this as a co-op experience. It never even occurred to me that Monkey Island could work with multiple people, but I had a great time doing just that. First, I did this in a preview capacity with Sea of Thieves creative director Mike Chapman and then later with some buddies at Giant Bomb.
As a team, you can stick together or divide and conquer. Many puzzle solutions will require you to spend pieces o’ eight, a pirate currency that you’ll find scattered about the island. You’ll find those coins faster with multiple people searching every nook and cranny.
The authenticity is the best part of The Legend of Monkey Island. Again, this feels just like a new Monkey Island game, and it’s incredible to see it work within the Sea of Thieves framework. The team was able to bring back familiar characters and voices, including Dominic Armato as Guybrush Threepwood himself, who has voiced that character so well and adeptly for so long that it’s hard to imagine any kind of Monkey Island project without him.
This is just one of three planned parts. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the adventure goes.
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