by Chris Capel
reviewed on PC
After the shocking events of It’s About Time Telltale have a lot to live up to. They do so with style, but have to make a few sacrifices along the way. Let us start off simply but firmly: Back to the Future is all about story, dialogue and characters, and Telltale don’t mess with that. There may be puzzle solving, but if this was literally just the second episode of a TV series we wouldn’t have a problem with it. As a game however we have to nitpick.
The story continues from episode one with Doc saved from death but Marty is fading away, as obviously something one of them did in 1931 changed Marty’s future. Whatever it is (no spoilers here, not even for the beginning), Marty, Doc and Einstein have to undo the damage they caused so they can go back to the future! Or present, or past, whatever.
“I thought I’d never leave!”
This inevitably means a bit of time-travel, and in best Back to the Future Part II style has Marty going back to a time he has already been and trying to help things while not being seen by his other self. Telltale slightly cop out here by showing a time when we weren’t in control of Marty in episode 1, but it’s handled well. It is definitely amusing seeing Marty try to avoid contact with his past self, and failing in some respects.
The first hour of Get Tannen! is pretty linear, with Marty confined to small areas and even using a few Heavy Rain-esque quick-time events (which Telltale will be exploring to greater effect in Jurassic Park). This is all pretty cool and makes the story flow smoothly, but it does make for a very easy hour of playtime – and consequently a significant chunk of the episode is over quickly.
Aside from the QTEs on a new technical level there is also occasionally an over-the-shoulder camera view which was very dramatic, unexpected and un-adventure like (in a good way). Shame it only showed up briefly.
“Look at me, you ever catch me thinking?”
The dialogue and characters are still absolutely spot-on, so no worries there. A bunch of new characters join the roster, including the important returns of Kid Tannen, Young Doc, Edna Strickland and Artie McFly (as well as Marty, Doc and Einstein of course). There’s another central character’s family member in the form of Jennifer’s (Marty’s girlfriend’s) grandfather Officer Parker, as well as an attractive singer named Trixie Trotter.
All have their particular wants and problems and there aren’t any dislikeable characters. Well, apart from the intentionally hateful Kid Tannen, but even he has some redeeming features. Trixie Trotter in particular I like a lot, and it’ll be interesting to see if Telltale returns to 1931 again in later episodes.
Story continuing to be really interesting, dialogue and characters just right.
Even shorter than the last episode, general lack of polish.