Review: Back to the Future: It’s About Time

December 30th, 2010 by | 8 comments

Welcome to the first non-Monkey Island review. After a heated staff meeting in which things flew, Haggis reportedly slapped someone, and SilverWolfPet will neither confirm nor deny that he cried in the bathroom afterwards, we decided to start reviewing other adventure games. This will probably be exclusively Telltale games, but a few other games might pop up once in a while. I had a chicken and bacon sandwich at the meeting by the way. It was delicious. On to the review!

I personally love the Back to the Future movies, so I was interested to see how Telltale would handle the property. All in all the first episode is a satisfying result with a few bumps along the way as you accelerate to 88 mph.

The story takes place six months after the third movie ended and it’s an interesting evolution, but it’s clear right away that this game is for people who know the story of the movies. You can play it without knowing what happened before, but you’ll miss out on all the references and jokes which the game is littered with. There are a few things I’d like explained better, but maybe that’ll come in later episodes. I intend to keep this review spoiler free, so I won’t go further into the plot.

Visually the game is very nice to look at. Telltale has done a great job capturing the style of Back to the Future although it takes a little time to get used to animated versions of beloved characters. There are a few graphical glitches occasionally, but nothing that ruins the gameplay.

The voices are nearly perfect. Christopher Lloyd is back as Doc Brown and does an amazing job. The rest of the familiar characters are voiced by sound-alikes. AJ LoCascio is perfect as Marty McFly, you might even argue that he sounds too much like Michael J. Fox. My only complaint is the voice of Biff, which I don’t think sounds like Biff at all, but it’s certainly acceptable.

It’s a great feeling to be able to walk around the famous city square and Telltale has even made the town feel a little lively by having random people walk around and cars drive by once in a while. This is far too rare though. Another little, but sweet feature, is when you load a game. You have a small cutscene of you sitting in the Delorean as it hits 88 mph and travels to your savegame. This is followed by a black screen with the day and date appearing in a very BttF style.

The episode is very short though, so you might not even get to see the loading sequence. You can complete it in a few hours and the puzzles are very easy for an experienced adventurer. However, it is important to remember that with this game Telltale has a broader audience than with their other games and that might affect the difficulty. Despite this, there are still two huge hint buttons with a size that almost begs you to press them. The fact that the hint buttons are just as big and conveniently placed as the inventory button suggests that Telltale expects you to use them frequently.

While I personally refuse to use hints it was necessary this time and they didn’t even help. The problem was that I was stuck on a seemingly easy puzzle, but an object I needed to interact with was not ‘activated’ because a cutscene didn’t play. I ran around for 30-60 minutes doing different things to get the puzzle solved. To save my sanity I finally resorted to using the hints which informed me to use a thing I didn’t know was there and couldn’t activate because I hadn’t seen the cutscene. Finally it played and everything fell into place.

It’s obvious that this game is geared towards fans of the movies and casual adventure gamers. Experienced adventurers won’t really find a challenge, but that’s ok because we get a great story and a continuation of Doc and Marty’s adventures. I’m looking forward to the next episode to learn what happens next and I hope for more and harder puzzles.

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8 Responses to “Review: Back to the Future: It’s About Time”

  1. SilverWolfPet says:

    I did whaaaat??

  2. HaydenWCE says:

    “This will probably be exclusively Telltale games, but a few other games might pop up once in a while.”

    If you do decide to review some non-Telltale games, then might I suggest either ‘Jolly Rover’ or ‘Kaptain Brawe’. They’re both terrific adventure games, and are both evidently heavily influenced by Monkey Island.

    Just a suggestion ;).

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