Published on October 30th, 2015 | by IceCube
REVIEW: Back to the Future: The Game
Summary: So we’ve made it past October 21st 2015 – the set date when Doc and Marty from the Back to the Future trilogy traveled to the future. To celebrate, Telltale Games have re-released their 2010/11 game for the film’s 30th Anniversary and fixed it up for PS4 and XBO consoles.
Concept: Telltale Games have come a long way since this quiet release. The studio reached new highs in popularity following the super-successful The Walking Dead Season One in 2012/13. Now that much of the gaming world has seen what Telltale Games can do, it made us wonder why many ignored them for so long? The answer is several reasons, from script to gameplay. The strong story is a “what-if” sequel to the Back to the Future III film, but labored at times, often choosing to be too goofy and losing the drama they worked hard to build. The characters, particularly Doc and Marty, are well done and the plot, which includes time travel back to the 1931 probation era, is practical and fun to run through.
Great Scott! Marty and Doc are back to the future!
Graphics: The animated style is quite similar to the depth we witness in Telltale’s more recent games. Doc looks spot-on, whereas Marty looks close but not quite as perfect. The cartoon-like sketch work captures the character features really well, yet the bright colour scheme never detracts from the mood the story is setting. There’s occasional graphical hiccups as well.
Gameplay: While the general point-and-click premise is much the same as Telltale’s more popular recent titles, your choices have almost no effect on the outcome. You’re merely trying every option until you get it right, with no consequences for getting it wrong. This means you’re following a tight script all the way through, solving problems that feel dangerous (due to good script writing), but ultimately inconsequential to your inevitable success. This formula copies the more traditional point-and-click, puzzle-solving games, but lacks the choice-based impact that helped Telltale turn the corner.
Kid Tannen (L) bullies Artie McFly (R), Marty’s grandfather in 1931.
Sound: Voice acting is well done. Christopher Lloyd stepped in to voice his own character, Doc Emmett Brown, while newcomer A.J. Locascio does a brilliant Michael J Fox impersonation. Tom Wilson, who played Biff in the films, was hired to voice his own character in this 30th Anniversary version of the game, but surprisingly didn’t sound much like the bully we remember. Thankfully the brilliant music from the films is also present and really straps you in for the ride. One complaint is that some of the lip synching is frequently out, sometimes sentences get cut short due to clipping issues.
Awesomeness: If you’ve played Telltale’s recent games and expecting something similar, you’ll only got half of the service. While the story is strong, the puzzle-solving parts slow down the tempo. The point-and-click elements are more like the retro Monkey Island games than the choice-dependent Telltale games of recent times.
Young Doc Emmett Brown (L) is just as fun and fanatical.
Final Word: This is a good, fun game, that ultimately pays solid tribute to one the greatest film trilogies of all time. Care and thought has been placed into the characters and the story does a good job standing up to the engrossing atmosphere of the films. Technical hiccups blemish the final product and the point-and-click system feels like we’ve moved back to the future (or forward to the past?) ourselves. It’s not on par with Telltale’s more recent efforts, but it’s ultimately a fun, nostalgic experience.
Score out of 5 bugs