Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
ESRB Rating: Teen
Warm up the Delorian, Back To The Future is in video game form…again. Thankfully, this version is available for a couple current generation consoles. Telltale Games developed an interactive experience that adds to the lore of the Back to the Future franchise. Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads, because here’s the review.
Doc, this is heavy
Back to the Future: The Game is an episodic game broken up into 5 parts, each taking about 2 to 3 hours per episode. The game starts off with the original test run of the time machine from the first film. Doc sends Einstein, his dog, one minute into the future, or at least he tries to. Things go awry, though, as Einstein doesn’t reappear at all, and it’s revealed to be a dream. Marty wakes up to find he is running late to the estate sale his father is running, due to Doc being presumed dead or missing by everyone except Marty. Out of the blue, the Delorian shows up with Einstein, a shoe, and a tape recording of Doc telling Marty that he’s in trouble. Marty searches for clues to find Doc in Prohibition-era Hill Valley, where Marty must break Doc out of jail before he is killed. At the end of each episode, twists and turns take place, setting up events for the next episode.
The overall look of the game is wonderfully done. While Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox have allowed the developers to use their likenesses, Doc, Marty, and the other mainstay characters of the franchise have a very cartoon-type feel, and it’s not done in a bad way. The different time periods of Hill Valley are vibrant and full of color. The town square does the movie justice, while still maintaining their own creative liberties in the game. Most of your traveling will be done in the Prohibition-era Hill Valley and present-day Hill Valley, each with their own plot twists from the game.
Also, as cartoon-like as the characters are, the voice acting is quite good. Christopher Lloyd reprises his role as Doc Brown, while AJ Locascio plays Marty McFly; it is almost scary how good he is at the impersonation. Just in case you were wondering, Michael J. Fox does indeed have a cameo; in fact, he has two in the final episode.
We’re going back in time
Much of the gameplay relies heavily upon dialog with elements of puzzle solving. To advance through the story, you must talk to the characters in the room, pick up items, and use those items however necessary. This detective work forms a large part of the core gameplay. Think of it as the dialog moments from Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, with a little L.A. Noire thrown in. Controls involve just moving around in order to interact with items. It’s very simplistic; however, the objective needed to advance the story isn’t always clear. Luckily, there is a prompt that gives you up to four clues as to what to do next. The first one is a vague clue, with each subsequent clue becoming much clearer.
When this thing hits 88 miles an hour…
One of the biggest problems holding Back to the Future back is the fact that there isn’t much of a challenge. The only challenge in Back to the Future comes from a few tricky puzzle solving elements. Everything else within this game is fairly easy. The biggest problem with the game is that it isn’t very action oriented. The sense of danger doesn’t really exist in the game, and I feel that this lack of danger is a major hindrance to the game. Also, for about 10-15 hours of gameplay, it does run short.
Along with the voice acting, which is easily the best part of the game, is the feeling that Back to the Future: The Game is somehow a representation of a fourth film. There are moments in the game that pay homage to the film series, while also creating great moments of its own. Considering that Back to the Future is an easy, dialog-heavy game, it’s best suited if you feel like killing an hour or two.
At about $20 for all 5 episodes, it’s not a bad deal; even better for Playstation Plus subscribers, the game is free during the month of January. If you are a PS Plus subscriber, you aren’t losing anything but time, and if you aren’t a subscriber, I would recommend Back to the Future: The Game if you are a big fan of the movies. Any fan of the movies should play through this at least once. This game is best described as another chapter in the storied franchise of Back to the Future, with the interactivity of a video game.
Final Verdict: Back to the Future: The Game gets 6 broken clock towers out of 10
This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of Back to the Future: The Game by Telltale Games