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Wednesday
Aug032011

Review: Back to the Future: The Game (Multi)

*Note: This is a review of all five episodes as a whole, not just this one or that one.

Back to the Future is a film I love and a franchise I like—the second film was kind of ridiculous and the third film simply existed. That being said, games based on the license have not always been of a quality that reminds one of happy thoughts. Back to the Future: The Game is the first game surrounding the franchise in well over a decade—Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure does not count—and it is only kind of worth the wait. Keep in mind the game was reviewed on PlayStation 3, but is also available on PC, Mac, and the iPad.

Back to the Future: The Game is an adventure game from Telltale Games, so anyone who has played a Telltale game knows exactly what to expect, with some minor differences. For the inexperienced, you take direct control of Marty McFly's movement and select points/items of interest with the right analog stick and a press of the 'X' button. The controls are simple, but feel extremely clunky and like a PC game ported to a console. I found myself struggling with the controls until the very end, constantly moving in the wrong direction and trying to find where invisible walls end and open terrain begins. The act of selecting  and using items is easy enough, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Another problem with the game is how it runs, a.k.a., not well. It is far from unplayable, but there are plenty of hiccups and little freezes throughout. This would be more acceptable if the game was a visual feast, but the visuals are full of style while lacking technical awe. That being said, I really enjoyed the art style and especially loved the look of character's faces. Speaking of faces, I really wish there were more lively animations during conversations and cutscenes. The animations felt a tad too subtle for the more exaggerated art style.

Do I have problems with everything? Of course not. The voice acting, for the most part, is great—Biff's impersonator is absolutely terrible, but the rest are good to great. The story throughout all five episodes moves at a steady pace other than the speed bump called episode two, but with each episode lasting roughly a few hours, a minor speed bump is surmountable. The story goes places I didn't expect and while it was a bit weird at first, I really enjoyed the contained storyline and the very end was worth the time spent (I had to do it) for multiple reasons I won't disclose. To be overly simplistic, as a Back to the Future fan, I enjoyed my reunion with these characters.

Is Back to the Future: The Game a great experience everyone should play? No. It is, however, a well done side story for fans of the franchise and allowed for something that makes me, as a fan, very happy. I am not one-hundred percent sure if a sequel is in the cards or will ever happen, but I wouldn't be against it. The end leaves it open for more in the future (oops, I did it again) and I'd be willing to go for another ride if I get the chance. And for what it's worth, this is the first Telltale game I've ever finished, despite its technical shortcomings.

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