Back to the Future: The Review

Back to the Future Review

Who hasn’t ever wanted to go back in time?  You could see all sorts of awesome things.  The signing of the Declaration of Independence, the day the iPod was invented, or how your parents grew up.  If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it in a Delorean though…There’s something very familiar about all this.  Great Scott!  Readers!  You have to come back with us!  Back to the Future, the Review!

Readers may remember, back in December, we wrote our review for Episode 1, in the 5 Episode series, Back to the Future, by Telltale Games.  It was a good start, had a lot of great Back to the Future humor, a great voice cast, and an interesting start to the story.  So now that all five episodes are out, how does the game stand up?  Not as great as it started it turns out.

It’s hard to review this game as a whole.  Some episodes, such as, It’s About Time, and Double Visions, did a great job maintaining that classic Back to the Future style.  It was funny, the story moved along really well, and just generally felt as though it could have been a part of an actual Back to the Future story.  Others, such as Get Tannen, and Citizen Brown just felt somewhat off.  Almost too slapstick, and lacking in that great style so prevalent in the first installment.  The finale Outatime, was incredibly disappointing, up until the last few moments of the game.

So what were our biggest problems?  Well, there were a few.  For starters, the puzzles.  This seems to be a consistent occurrence in Telltale games.  Puzzles seem to have two modes.  Hold your hand easy, or randomly annoying solution.  Sure every once in a while, players will actually be able to solve a puzzle on their own, but most of the time the game practically tells you what to do.  The only really difficult puzzles are ones whose solutions just make no real sense as a solution.  This is a common occurrence in most point and click adventures, but in the classic ones, a large amount of cleverly written, and engaging puzzles balanced them out.  Players simply do not get that with Back to the Future.  We understand that because the game is split up into monthly episodes, adding as much substance, and engaging puzzles as one would find in a classic PCA (point and click adventure) is difficult, but it truly is a necessity for this genre of game.

It seems the biggest thing missing from this title are puzzles that include the use of the Delorean.  It’s a Back to the Future game!  Sure, you see it a lot in cutscenes, and it’s used once every episode, but only once by the player (in the entire series).  When playing we were really hoping to see some puzzles that actually spanned the length of time.  It seems strange to say, but, Back to the Future needs to take a lesson from Legend of Zelda when it comes to time travel in a video game.  Let us go to the past, and do something, that solves a puzzle for us in the future!  This seems like not only an obvious way to go, but a necessary one when playing a Back to the Future title.

This is Getting Heavy

This is Getting Heavy

The story does seem to get a little shaky as it goes on.  While overall it maintains a compelling enough story to keep players vested in what comes next, it just gets very repetitive and obvious.  It seems nearly every episode, someone is betraying someone else.  It becomes a given, that by the end of every episode, a drastic change to the timeline will have been made that requires fixing.  Yeah , that may be the core of every Back to the Future story, but it’s not how every entry of the movie ends.

There is a lot of good to be had with the title as well though.  It is funny, and as we said earlier, the story does keep the player engaged enough to find out what happens next.  It’s an interesting new direction for Back to the Future.  Doc is the one who is in trouble, and whose timeline is constantly shifting, instead of Marty’s.  It’s always been Doc bailing Marty out in the films, but this time, it’s up to Marty (you) to save him instead.  The actual ending of the story is also extremely funny, and leaves things open for a sequel, but we won’t spoil it and tell you what happens.

The Voice acting is superb.  As we said in the first entry, A.J. LoCascio does an amazing job as the voice of Marty.  Only a seasoned Back to the Future veteran would honestly notice it wasn’t Michael J. Fox, had they not known.  Christopher Lloyd does a great job as Doc, as always, and James Arnold Taylor does great as his younger counterpart.

All in all the game isn’t bad.  It’s got a great cast to it, and it is easy to see the writing staff put a lot of love into the game, and tried very hard to maintain the style and tone of the films.  It has some fun twists and turn, and is an interesting continuation for the series.  Its biggest drawback are the puzzles, which in a PCA title is a major one, and it just gets to be too silly, and pushs things too far to really lock in that classic BTTF feel.  We do hope to see the series continue, but hope that Telltale isn’t afraid to push the envelope a bit more, and give us some more clever puzzles.  Twenty-Five dollars for the entire season though is a fair price, and it is worth picking up.  It’s a fun start for anyone who hasn’t played a PCA title, but falls short of 88 miles per hour.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

*big credit to http://www.levelupstudios.com/a-link-to-the-future for the awesome shirt design featured in this article!