Thursday, March 31, 2011

Back to the Future: The Game - Episode 3: Citizen Brown

Giving an Episode-by-Episode review of the Back to the Future game by Telltale is no easy task, especially considering that there is a month-long gap between episodes. While I can't really complain about this business model, I still get a little impatient at times while I wait. Now, last time I said that Episode 2 met some of my expectations, but failed to meet others. After another month of waiting to play this episode, I can say that still not much has changed.

To give a quick summary of the story is actually quite easy. Marty McFly has landed in an alternate 1986 caused by the events of Episode 2. After escaping from the DeLorean, which has crashed into the side of a billboard, Marty quickly notices that everything about Hill Valley has changed, from the aesthetic and cleanliness of the city to the look and personality of Jennifer, who has dumped him in this timeline for being too much of a "square". It turns out that as a result of not watching the movie Frankenstein, Doc Brown is now married to Edna Strickland and is in full control of the city, which can be described as a Municipality thanks to various law and tax loopholes. It is now up to Marty to find a way to get a council with Emmet Brown and convince him to see the error of his ways.

Again, the story is still well-written, with a great twist at the end to fuel the next episode, and the voice acting is as top-notch as ever. However, the puzzles are still incredibly easy, making for another two-and-a-half hours of gameplay. While I did like the story, I was able to notice the game become a lot more straightforward and linear, but I can't say whether or not this borders on railroading. And again, the graphics have not changed at all, but I did notice a couple of hiccups in the gameplay. These instances are the camera staying on a close-up of Doc Brown for about 3 extra seconds and Biff Tannen standing up while Marty is still going through the motions of struggling with him. While this was rather odd, I don't think other people will encounter the same problems, but it is something to watch out for.

True, the game felt longer than before, but instead of being excited I actually almost fell asleep in front of my laptop, as did my brother who was merely watching. And I hate to sound like a broken record, but I kept wishing for the puzzles to be more difficult, rather than being pathetically easy. It may be too much, but I can't help of think back at how interestingly engaging the puzzles were in Sam & Max, wishing I could at least have something like that. Anyway, I think three episodes in, Telltale would be ready to take a small risk in the gameplay rather than continue to play it safe. It's not getting any better like Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People (SBCG4AP) did as it went on, but I still expected something more.

I would still recommend the episode to be played by continuing players, and people still waiting to buy it should still take a purchase of the full season into consideration. When the whole thing is through, there will be plenty of game to go around, enough to last you an afternoon. But as far as this Episode-by-Episode analysis is concerned, I like what Telltale has been doing so far with the game, but they really need to up the ante in the gameplay for those waiting a month to see the next part of the story. Frankly, I wonder how much longer the magic of the Back to the Future license will last for this game. I guess we'll have to wait for Episode 4 to look for any improvement.

No comments:

Post a Comment