by Chris Capel
reviewed on PC
“You’re a muse, inspire me!”
At last, after 21 years of waiting semi-patiently we finally have a Back to the Future: Part IV (the damn cartoon doesn’t count). This review will cover the final episode of Telltale’s Back to the Future series, but it will also judge the series as a whole. Is it the long-awaited fourth part to a great trilogy we have always wanted, or will it go down as a let-down as every single other long-awaited fourth part of a series has?
I’ll cut straight to the chase – as a story, Telltale’s series holds up very well. It continues the trilogy convincingly, adds more background to the characters (in particular that of Doc Brown and his motivations), hits the high-notes in terms of action and twists, and utterly confuses anyone who looks too hard at any of the wibby-wobbly timey-wimey stuff. It is a fitting Part IV, and any Back to the Future fan playing for the story alone will love it. The finale in particular brought a tear to my eye through its sheer awesomeness.
So we can end the review there? If it was a movie, sure, but it isn’t: it’s a game. The game parts have been fairly weak throughout the season, let’s see if Episode 5: OUTATIME can change matters.
“If he was the kind of guy who talked to plants we could’ve nailed him real easy!”
The finale continues on from the last episode, with Young Emmett Brown and Edna Strickland circa 1931 broken up as planned, but the time-travelling First Citizen Brown has shown how unlike our Doc he really is by vowing to sabotage Marty’s efforts to put things right. Marty has to get to the Hill Valley Science Expo in time, stop Citizen Brown and Edna’s plots against him, restore the real Doc Brown and get… back to the future!
It really is quite an exciting finale in terms of story, but it doesn’t really pick up until about the halfway point. The first half of the game involves wandering around the Science Expo looking for what you are expected to do, and screwing around until you do. The Expo, it must be said, is utterly ridiculous – when was the last time you went to a big national show with nobody in it? You can hear sound effects of crowds, but apart from the three exhibitors and a couple of previously-seen staff members there is nobody in the entire hall.
It really is quite a dull first half. You are confined to the Expo hall, and while some of the puzzles there are quite satisfying you mostly just feel you are going through the motions. Fortunately things pick up after you leave the Expo, although often you are just muddling your way through things rather than genuinely solving anything.
“One of these days I really should stop falling for that.”
As mentioned before though, it’s the story, characters and unexpected scenes that make the series a proper Back to the Future. I love the characters of Edna Strickland and Trixie Trotter, and they go through some wonderful developments in this final episode. I’m really sad to see them go. It is Marty and Doc however, in all their various forms, who really drive this show. The scene after the Expo really left a lump in my throat.
Story is utterly wonderful, characters go through some interesting developments, THAT ENDING.
Really easy, the Hill Valley Science Expo is boring and utterly unbelievably empty, another vehicle clamber, we didn\'t go to 2015.