Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back to the Future: The Game - Episode 5: OUTATIME

Two months after the release of Episode 4: Double Visions, Telltale finally releases the final episode of the Back to the Future game. While the installments had been getting progressively better, they also showed the painful linearity of the game, which caused me at least once to nearly fall asleep at my computer. However, that is not the situation here. The climax of this story is actually very engaging, and the two-and-a-half hours of gameplay were surprisingly enjoyable.

Marty McFly wakes up in the Brown residence and is told to take a certain item with him to the Science Expo for Emmett. When he gets there, he runs into Citizen Brown from the alternate 1986, with a less than warm reception. Once inside the Expo, it appears that Emmett is missing with the suspicion that Edna Strickland and Citizen Brown both have something to do with it. It is up to Marty to not only find Emmett, but make sure that his past, present, and future turn out the way they are supposed to for his timeline.

The story is still done excellently, with the same quality voice acting throughout. During Marty's journey through time, the player gets to discover more about his past, including something that no one would ever expect. Hell, the ending is absolutely laden with twists that constantly made my jaw drop. This was more of a pleasant surprise, including the reason Doc Brown was missing in the first place. In fact, I feel I would give away too much if I said anymore beyond this.

While the puzzles in this game start out simple, they actually do get more difficult, to the point where I ended up using the hint button on occasion. However, it does borrow a bit from previous episodes, such as a puzzle near the end that mirrors Episode 1 where Marty holds onto a moving vehicle. Yet, despite this, there is at least one new idea introduced, including a part of the aforementioned sequence where you actually get to use the arrow keys for something other than walking.

That is not to say that the game is free of glitches. There is what appears to be a small graphical glitch where Marty walks/falls through the floor in a "House of Glass", as well as a portion where the dialogue is cut-off and a spot where subtitles don't appear even if they are turned on. The biggest offense, however, is a particularly annoying game breaking bug involving the House of Glass again where absolutely nothing is clickable. Until this gets patched by Telltale, just remember to go through this segment before grabbing a particular potted plant in an attempt to get dirt on Edna.

As a whole, however, this episode was actually pretty enjoyable and kept me more motivated to see what would happen next. It's even got a sequel tease at the end and uses Back in Time during the credits. Players who have been following it definitely shouldn't stop now, as long as they follow the advice for getting past that nasty bug at one point.

Back to the Future: The Game is flawed, but as its first season, it was pretty enjoyable nonetheless and I had a good time with the story. Everything when put together correctly felt like it was a new movie in the franchise. While the puzzles were overall pretty simple, the story easily made up for it in spades, definitely being the high point of the whole game. I would definitely recommend this to Telltale and Back to the Future fans who want a good time, as well as a 10+ Hour season for a good low price. If there was a Season 2, I would not hesitate to pick it up, as Telltale has treated the franchise with great respect thus far.

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