Game Over Online ~ Back to the Future: The Game - Season 1

GameOver Game Reviews - Back to the Future: The Game - Season 1 (c) Telltale Games, Reviewed by - Steven Carter

Game & Publisher Back to the Future: The Game - Season 1 (c) Telltale Games
System Requirements Windows XP/Vista/7, 1.8 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM, 256 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible video card, 3 GB HDD
Overall Rating 80%
Date Published Monday, June 27th, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Divider Left By: Steven Carter Divider Right

Back to the Future: The Game - Season 1 (BTTF) is an episodic adventure game series from Telltale Games. The game takes place not long after the events of the third Back to the Future movie. Doc Brown has disappeared, but then the DeLorean shows up with Doc's dog Einstein inside, and pretty soon playing as Marty McFly you're traveling through time, first breaking Doc out of prison in 1931, and then correcting all of the ripples in the timeline that occur as a result. Just like in the Back to the Future movies, these ripples affect Marty, Doc, the Stricklands and the Tannens, and while most of the game focuses on 1931 (where you meet Marty's grandfather, young Doc, and others), you also get to visit 1876 and an alternate version of 1986.

BTTF is played using a third-person perspective. You use the WASD keys or the mouse to move Marty around, and you left click on objects or people that you want to interact with. This system is roughly the same as what you see in other third-person perspective adventures, and so the game is easy to pick up and play. BTTF also comes with an integrated hint system, plus some difficulty settings (which control, for example, whether you see Marty's current objective), and so the game ends up being pretty friendly to play.

Most of the puzzles in BTTF involve inventory management, where you have to find useful objects and then figure out how to use them. But there are also some sequence puzzles, where you have to do some activities in the proper order to solve a puzzle. For example, in the alternate version of 1986, Marty gets into a guitar duel to try and win back his girlfriend Jennifer, and you have to figure out the right sequence of kicks, movements and power chords to win. For the most part, the world that you're in is small, and with few inventory objects and places to use them, the puzzles are relatively easy. During my time with the game, I only had to use the hint system once (and sort of annoyingly, it only gave me hints for a puzzle I had already solved, and so I had to refer to a walkthrough, too).

The best parts of BTTF are the story and the acting, which make it feel like you're in one of the movies. The time traveling paradoxes are fun (you see alternate versions of just about everybody), the dialogue and situations are well-written (thanks, perhaps, to a collaboration with Bob Gale, who co-wrote the movies and the animated TV series), and the voice acting is terrific. Christopher Lloyd lends his voice to Doc Brown, so of course he sounds right; A.J. LoCascio is all but perfect imitating Michael J. Fox; James Arnold Taylor does a nice impression of Christopher Lloyd while playing young Doc; and the other actors (including a cameo by Michael J. Fox in Episode 5) give solid or better performances. Really, the game is worth purchasing just to watch it.

On the down side, BTTF has some sloppiness to it, which detract from the fun. In particular, Episode 5 has some problems: at one point you can start solving puzzles without having any idea what you're doing, and at another, if you solve two puzzles in the wrong order, then the episode breaks and you either have to go back to an earlier save or start over. And for all the episodes, if you use the "wrong" launcher, then you're not allowed to save your game -- something you might not notice for a while. I ended up losing about an hour of playing time in Episode 2 because of this.

But overall, my view on BTTF is about the same now as it was when I reviewed Episode 1. The puzzles are a little on the easy side and there are some technical issues, but the writing and the voice acting are top-notch, and the pluses far outweigh the minuses. So if you liked the Back to the Future movies, or if you enjoy adventures that are a little more casual than hardcore, then BTTF is certainly a game worth checking out.

[34/40] Gameplay
[11/15] Graphics
[14/15] Sound
[07/10] Interface
[08/10] Writing
[06/10] Technical


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