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Back to the Future: The Game - Episode I: It's About Time [PC]





The first episode of Telltale's next outing looks to keep up their quality while using the license to its fullest.

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Just plain fun"

Summary

I'm definitely one of those people who has been waiting with bated breath for someone to do this. The Back to the Future films are so much fun, and lend themselves so well to this genre of gaming (amongst others, perhaps), that it's frankly astonishing it hasn't happened before. Is it worth the wait? Well, okay, nobody wants to wait 25 years, but seriously. Come on. With Telltale at the wheel, do you even have to ask?

But okay, brass tacks. If you don't know Telltale (and maybe you don't - Back to the Future is a more prominent property than Sam & Max or Monkey Island, so they'll probably get some new players here), then let's talk about what that means. Telltale, as usual, has made a game that takes the best parts of classic point-and-click adventuring and does it really well. And, as usual, a lot of that's because the puzzle design is solid, the situations entertaining, and the writing fun. Playing "It's About Time" is like watching a fourth film - or what a fourth film might've been like. Maybe the best thing of all about Back to the Future: The Game is that Telltale has made splendid use of the source material, paying homage and striking just the right feel while still expanding it and moving on without feeling like a rehash of the films.

If you've played any of Telltale's other releases, or, really, almost any adventure game outside of the Myst tradition from the last two decades, the gameplay will be no surprise. Mostly, it's "verb this with that" kind of stuff. It works. Can we complain that they haven't changed anything about that? Well, yes, and I'll admit that I was hoping they'd do something a little different with the gameplay here, maybe a time travel mechanic of some kind or some sort of driving bit with the DeLorean (but not a rehash of the driving bits from their Sam & Max games). But overall the product accounts for itself well enough that you don't notice this lack unless you look for it.

But let's talk about what Telltale is doing that's different: episodic distribution. I mean, this is old news if you keep track of the game industry, but it's still horribly underutilized, I think. Telltale does it right, though, and the first chapter of Doc and Marty's new adventure left me eager to play the next installment. Meting out the game in two or three hour chunks might seem like a bit of a ripoff at first (I don't think it is, really), but it has advantages, both narratively and ludologically. This is one reason I wish Telltale would branch out a bit from the gameplay they've used before, because I'd really like to see episodic play used for something not an adventure game, but again, I really can't complain about Back to the Future: The Game. It's just really fun.

If you're new to adventure gaming, or scared away by puzzles, not to fret: "It's About Time" isn't very hard at all. I suppose this could be a downside for some players - I like being able to solve things with a little thought, and some puzzles forced me to sit back and consider for a moment, but I never had to beat my head against a wall or resort to online walkthroughs. That's a good balance, in my opinion. It helps that the game doesn't have the nutty logic of the worlds Telltale is usually dealing in, of course. Now, don't get me wrong, some puzzles are really quite cool: one in particular, a climactic puzzle where Doc has to surreptitiously instruct Marty how to finish an experiment while arguing with another character, is fun and different.

I can't give Back to the Future: The Game my final stamp of approval until all five episodes are out, but if Telltale keeps this up (and from past experience I have little doubt they will), this'll be one for the history books.




The name saves the otherwise short and uninspired game.

6.0

Fair
Difficulty:
Very Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Uninspired"

Summary

First of all I must say I'm a very big fan of point 'n click adventure games and since it's my favorite genre I tend to play anything point 'n clicky I can get my hands on, some of them even a lots of lots of times. Games like Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, LSL, Indiana Jones, Innocent until caught, The Dig, KQ, etc. etc. If this wasn't a Back to the Future franchise game it wouldn't get so positive reviews.

Let's start with the negatives:
- game is extremly short, and most of it are just cutscenes
- very uninspired story, "explained" by a plot hole. A duplicate DeLorean was created when the original one was struck by lighting and went to the future in 2025. which the Doc later acquired and started using it, that DeLorean was yet again, stuck with Doc in the past and returned to Marty using a built in failsafe mechanism. Ooookay... Doc is aparently psychic to find that 2nd DeLorean in specific time and place and the car now can drive itself. Couldn't they think of someting better, really?
- very very easy "puzzles" that are usually solved by 1 click on the hotspot. Sometimes you need to go to inventory and select the item that you wish to use on the hotpot by that's more or less it. 1 button click does it all. Boy do I miss the old times when you could COMBINE the items in the inventory, push, pull, open, close and all that stuff. One of them stands out, and it's the one where the Doc argues with his father, while Marty has to listen to the conversation and prep the experiment. That one was fun.
- horrible exteriors, empty streets, devoid of people and life, most of the highlightable places in town will only get you "I can0t get in there" reply from Marty. Ther's only three or four places to visit, really.
- awful camera, combined with WSAD movement and invisible walls will get on your nerves, fast.
- some of the models are really ugly and look cartoony, only Marty and Doc look OK, the others feel like they've been extracted from some other game.
- has like only 5 characters including the dog

Now with the positives:
- it's an adventure game!
- it's a Back to the Future adventure game!
- Marty's and Doc's voices

Conclusion:
This is a huge step back from the quality of games I'm used from Telltale. The new Monkey Island, Wallace and Gromit and Sam and Max were great and fun to play, but this one feels rushed and uninspired really. This just can't be compared with Day of the Tentacle, which is way way more timetravely and sf than this.




Doc in trouble, McFly to the rescue

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Worth playing"

Summary

A whole bunch of years after Back to the Future 3 movie we are now treated with a game who's story starts almost immediately after the end of last movie. It is therefore still 1986 and Doc is still lost. All his stuff and trinkets are to be auctioned, not to Marty McFly's liking.
All of a sudden the DeLorean timemachine appears right outside the building and Marty now has a quest at hand. To find and save poor Doc who is in trouble back in the past.

This is not exactly a classic type of adventure game. You are not forced to point and click - just use direction buttons (which sadly don't always work that well). Exploration is pretty limited - the game is very storydriven.
Items in your inventory can't be combined - at least not in this first part. Maybe that is changed later in any later part, if the story demands such action.
The puzzles are rather easy and the game also includes a hint system. Some old hardcore adventure game fans probably loathe this.

I was a little reluctant to get this. While a fan of the movies I am no fan of this new thing of episode gaming. I want the whole game at once. But I guess it's just another idea the companies have to earn more money. This and the DLC-thing.

Really fun if you are a fan of the movies. If anyone play this who are not or maybe never has seen any Back to the Future, he or she would most likely wonder what all the fuss really is about.




Finally a good Back to the Future game! Telltale games injects it's excellent adventure formula into the beloved series.

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Too short"

Summary

The Good: Back to the Future license is used wonderfully, great voice acting, story is fun to follow, last two sequences are thrilling, easy to use interface

The Bad: Highly overpriced, only 3 hours long, looks terrible, only the last 30 minutes are exciting, puzzles aren't very cerebral

Back to the Future hasn't really done well when it comes to games. There were a couple of bad games in the 8 and 16-bit era, but Telltale games finally picked up the license and injected it's excellent adventure formula into the beloved series. You play as Marty McFly who has to go back in time and save Doc Brown from his own deadly fate. He get's a message from Doc to save him, and Marty must find out how to do it with the help of young Emmet Brown.

The story is original, but uses the BthF license very nicely. The voice actors sound almost spot on, and everything from the DeLoreon, to Doc's dog Einstein and even Marty's relatives are voiced well and resemble their live action selves. It's great to explore the BthF universe with the same clever writing and story telling. There is a simple adventure game interface where you click around on objects and listen to Marty explain them, but the puzzles are more involved then just slider puzzles or matching symbols. The puzzles are broader and story driven, and that's what Telltale is famous for from their Sam & Max games.

You can have items in your inventory, but you don't just wander around and use them on every pixel in the game. It's usually pretty obvious to use your recorder to record young Doc's mumbling's so old Doc can solve them. You aren't overburdened with a ton of items that you have to constantly use a million times on everything so it's straight forward and simple, but you do have to think a bit. One great feature to resolve pixel hunting is a button that will show every icon you can interact with. This saves time and frustration so you're not wandering around and missing that one item that's almost off screen.

While the interface and interaction is smooth and simple the game is very short, and it's still lacking some game play depth. I would like more cerebral puzzles, but Telltale is more about story than anything else. The game doesn't get super exciting until the last 30 minutes during the last two sequences. You can beat the game in one to two sittings (about 3 hours), so for $25 the game is highly overpriced and not worth the money unless you're a die hard BthF fan. I would wait for the full season to come out and not spend a ton of money on each episode. Also, the graphics are pretty horrible considering the nice art style. Telltale really needs to upgrade their 8 year old engine to something more modern.





Back to the Future: The Game is a brilliant take on the movie franchise. A game for the fans. My DarkZero review

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Just plain fun"

Summary

Great Scott! I'm writing about a Back to the Future game without having travelled back to 1991. To be brutally honest, the Back to the Future games of the past weren't something you would build a time travelling DeLorean for, they were all painfully dreadful. Telltale Games, the studio that strives on making great episodic adventure games, have picked up the license to make a season (five episodes) using the Back to the Future license. Whohohoho, the future is looking a whole lot better!

Rather than simply have the player experience the movie in an adventure game format, Telltale decided to create a whole new story for this season of Back to the Future. Apart from the lovely nostalgic opening of the game, which is a scene recreated from the first movie when Doc and Marty McFly watch Einstein successfully become the world's first time traveller, the rest of the episode is all new content in the movie's universe.

In the timeline of the films, Back to the Future: The Game is placed six months after the events of the third instalment. Marty hasn't heard from Doc Brown in the six months that has passed, and is finding it hard to adjust to life without his best buddy. Just as Doc Brown's belongings are about to be sold off by the bank, a DeLorean appears out of nowhere with Einstein in the driver's seat. Inside are hints to the whereabouts of Doc, so off Marty goes on his newest time travelling adventure to 1931, where Doc Brown is in jail for allegedly being an arsonist.

One thing that shines in Telltale's take on the franchise is how much work has gone into faithfully recreating the characters . All the characters feature their actor's likenesses but with a more cartoon-ish design. Christopher Lloyd returns to voice the Doc, albeit sounding a little older, which is to be expected really. One thing that at first might sound a little disappointing is that Telltale couldn't get Michael J. Fox to do the voice of Marty McFly. Instead they found a guy who does the best impression of Marty you'll ever hear, a Mr A.J. LoCascio. He's so good that Christopher Lloyd thought he was Michael J. Fox after hearing a demo tape.

The soundtrack and sound effects are ripped straight from the films, with variations of the original score thrown in for good measure. Even a classic song from the movies appears in the ending credits. From start to finish, the nostalgic rush you get from playing this game is just too much to hide, forcing you to smile with delight. If it came down to scoring games on how much love went into creating them, then Telltale would score a perfect 10. The atmosphere, location detail and persona of the characters are all spot-on.

As gameplay goes, Back to the Future follows the same mechanics of Telltale's tried and tested formula from their past adventure games. It's a linear point and click adventure with branching dialogue options, and puzzles to solve in order to progress. Much like Sam and Max Save the World, you physically control Marty rather than clicking to move. There's one slight problem though; the puzzles, the thing that makes every adventure game, are too easy.

I guess in a way it makes sense for the first episode to be easy, certainly for something as big as a franchise as Back to the Future. Telltale are most likely taking into account how many people who will play Back to the Future: The Game that haven't played an adventure game before, or at least haven't played one for some time. People will be interested in these episodes that don't normally play those types of games, so I can see why Telltale would go for a low level of difficulty. I really hope that the next episodes bump up the challenge a little because at the moment, the game feels more like an interactive story rather than a proper adventure game. It's not like the developers couldn't up the challenge as the game has a worthy hint system implemented.

It's quite hard to recommend Back to the Future: The Game to people that haven't seen (or that aren't fans of) the movies. Telltale has created a game for the followers, so if you have no interest then you won't get many of the charming jokes and references (which there are a ton of) that the game is filled with. If you're a gamer and a fan who just wants to know what happens to Doc Brown and Marty McFly, then the first episode comes highly recommended to you since this feels like an extension to the movie franchise, a Back to the Future IV if you will. You probably won't care for the number at the bottom of this review as the well represented story is all that matters.

However as a game it's a little disappointing that it couldn't have had a bit more depth to the puzzles. It is a very linear experience and there isn't much room to explore, but at least it shows how much respect Telltale has for making a licensed product. As a gamer I found it enjoyable, but as a fan I finally found an excellent extension to the film trilogy I love.

When this game boots up, you're gonna see some serious ****
7.5

Great
7.4
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