by Chris Capel
reviewed on PC
“They robbed the arcade?!”
It is in the puzzles that the series is so far running a little behind, but we won’t judge Telltale for correctly realizing that Back To The Future needs to be appreciated by a less hardcore adventure gaming crowd. We will however judge them harshly for having two further puzzles being solved by using Einstein’s nose. This was already noticed and complained about in the first episode, there shouldn’t have been more here.
Furthermore as mentioned, the first hour of the game is decidedly linear, with Marty tied to various locations. Puzzle solving is still required, but just screwing about with various usable things will quickly yield results. Not exactly satisfying, even if the story remains entertaining.
Fortunately after this Marty will have the run of Hill Valley again, with some extra locations thrown in, and here the puzzles get much more interesting. If you have got the hints turned off (like I did) there are a good couple of stumpers in there, with one involving caricatures being particularly tricky and delightful.
“Make like a tree and die, rat!”
The upside of Telltale is devout scheduling basically allows them to succeed with episodic gaming (see every other failed attempt for evidence of this, as none of them gave release dates for the next episode). The downside however is that the game has to be out on time. The rather sudden unannounced release of episode 2 is testament to this, and consequently the game has a few noticeable bugs. It is definitely lacking the polish of the first episode or especially Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse.
Bugs we can forgive as they don’t really impact the game (there is certainly nothing game-breaking that we noticed), but there were certainly moments where it felt that something was hurriedly cut. Puzzles mostly. The fact that there is an interactive roulette table is particularly jarring, which is shown to have another purpose but is never actually needed.
There’s also a couple Marty meets, a jealous husband and flirty wife, who have one scene but don’t really do anything. The cuts are definitely noticeable when there are uneven red herrings. Get Tannen! feels the shortest episode Telltale has ever released, which we thought of the first episode too. This is even shorter.
You might solve a mystery, or rewrite history
Back To The Future: The Game is one you will be playing for the story rather than any true satisfaction in the gameplay, which in adventure games comes from working out a puzzle that had you stumped. There are a few of these moments in Get Tannen! but not anywhere near enough. That said, getting absorbed into such a great and much-loved franchise, that has been handled pretty well, was enough for us to enjoy it.
A word of warning about the third episode though. There are several moments in the storyline so far that have seen things get a little cartoony and unbelievable (the rocket drill of episode 1 for example). Episode 2 has a few of these, but Episode 3 seems totally unbelievable (while even breaking Back to the Future lore a little). It could be fun, but it will require some really careful plotting to pull it off without going into full fantasy territory. You have been warned. That goes for Telltale as well.
Story continuing to be really interesting, dialogue and characters just right.
Even shorter than the last episode, general lack of polish.