Best Story: Tales of Monkey Island
Best Story for a comedy game? And an episodic adventure to boot? It seems unlikely, doesn’t it? Almost as unlikely as ever seeing a new Monkey Island adventure almost a decade after the last. But not only did the beloved franchise return with a worthy new installment in Tales of Monkey Island, Telltale Games upped the episodic ante in a big way, producing a surprisingly epic adventure that took us sailing over and diving into the deep blue sea, swallowed down the belly (and other unmentionable areas) of a giant manatee, and ultimately sent kicking and screaming (does Guybrush know any other way?) to a world beyond our own. Full of unexpected twists and turns, with pirate battles and love triangles and everything in between, there were times of unbridled laughter and poignant moments of tenderness, leaving us never quite sure what to expect next.
Rather than a loosely connected series of episodes, the five “chapters” of Tales connect seamlessly into one long adventure, with shocking cliffhangers making it that much harder to wait another month. Yet we were always eager to follow along. Memorable characters old and new weave in and out of Guybrush’s quest to recover La Esponja Grande, an ancient voodoo artifact that’s said to have the power to remove the curse he’s accidentally unleashed. Complicating matters is his arch-nemesis, LeChuck, who has become human again and still carries a torch for Guybrush’s wife, Elaine. He’s also being chased by pirate-hunter-and-biggest-fan, Morgan LeFlay, who wants his autograph as much as she wants to deliver him to a mad French scientist. And the Voodoo Lady may well have an agenda of her own, as it’s hard to be sure if she’s helping or hindering. With a story like this, Tales of Monkey Island delivered a pirating page-turner of a sequel-in-five-parts that was well worth the wait.
Runners-Up: Emerald City Confidential, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Readers’ Choice: Tales of Monkey Island
And so ends the debate about whether an episodic adventure can provide a substantial storytelling experience. Sure, we had a to wait a month between chapters, but Telltale’s first true serial clearly had us hooked for the duration in more ways than one. We laughed, we cried, often at the same time, and when it was all over, who didn’t find themselves wondering: what’s next?!
Runners-Up: Time Gentlemen, Please!, Runaway: A Twist of Fate
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Next up: Best Writing – Comedy... the envelope, please!