I find it rather apt that, on the recent Back To the Future Day, I was playing Back To The Future: 30th Anniversary Edition from Telltale Games. Telltale has carved a niche for themselves in the episodic style and Back To The Future: 30th Anniversary draws heavily from their vast experience on such great titles as The Walking Dead, Tales From The Borderlands, Game of Thrones and Minecraft: Story Mode. I don’t tend to play those types of game, will Back To The Future alter my perception of this type of title?
Back To The Future: 30th Anniversary Edition is a collection of the five episodes of the previously released Back To The Future: The Game, from all the way back in 2011. The game itself has had a few graphical tweaks from it’s 360 released older sibling, but the essence of the game remains the same, without the need to wait between episodes.
The game takes up where the third film in the franchise ended, with the DeLorean turning up without Doc Brown and you, playing as the ever cheeky Marty McFly, are desperate to try to find where he is and rescue him before the Bank forces the sale of his home.
Graphically, Telltale have opted for more of a cartoon-inspired look than anything and Marty is well drawn and animated, as is Doc Brown, but there’s a little something in the way that they’re drawn that doesn’t feel right. The locations are also well drawn, if a little dark in places, and throughout the locations there are characters to interact with, like the ever-vigilant Edna Strickland and the nasty moonshine peddling gangster, Kid Tannen. There are also a few things to interact with at each place you visit, with some being vital to solving the puzzles at each stage of the quest.
That quest? Well, it’s initially to find and save Doc Brown. The story itself is actually very good to begin with, but it soon drops into a cartoonish farce that sometimes simply doesn’t make sense in the grand scheme of things. It’s not that this is a bad thing, I think perhaps that the writers simply lost their way a little bit along the way.
While the story wanders a little, progressing through the game isn’t a drag. The puzzles aren’t too taxing on the whole, although the odd one or two are not logical in the slightest. There are some things you’ll need to do in order the trigger an event that’s required to complete the puzzle, but it’s not clear what that thing is. There’s a scene where you have to get a barrel of illegal alcohol, and the method of acquiring this is convoluted and a little over-complicated, but I’m nit-picking really. On the whole the puzzles are fairly straight-forward.
The puzzles, as I say, are sometimes obvious, but sometimes you have to listen to the dialogue to get an idea of the solution. It’s here where you may notice that the lip-syncing is sometimes off and the cut-scenes are a little jerky at times. There’s also a fair amount of repetition in the solution of the puzzles and it can get tiresome having to go through the same sequences to get to the critical dialogue point you need. Thankfully, there’s help at hand in the form of a hint system, accessed by the Y button. The more complex the puzzle, the more hints you might find, and I think I found at least one puzzle where reading the hints was the trigger to complete the quest.
The dialogue then, is on the whole, well thought out and well-acted. A.J. LoCascio is stellar as Marty McFly and there’s the ever willing Christopher Lloyd reprising his role as Doc Brown. The other characters are played well and there’s even some friendly barking from Einstein, Doc’s dog.
Back To The Future: 30th Anniversary Edition isn’t likely to be the game challenge you’ll be looking for, especially if you’re used to the kind of puzzle adventures that the likes of LucasArts used to present, and the point and click nature of the game endears rather than hinders the overall experience. If you’re looking for that challenge, you’ll probably be better off with a different game, but if you’re looking for a fairly easy way to rack up some gamer-points then you’ll struggle to do much better than Back The Future: 30th Anniversary Edition, even if it’s simply for the nostalgic value.
There’s a fair amount to get through though and you’ll find yourself engrossed in the little nods to Hill Valley and the film’s original writing and production team. There’s some replay value if you want to 1,000G this and you get a funky behind the scenes video to watch if you’re interested. The game isn’t perfect though, there are some graphic issues, you serve a subpoena and the cut-scene shows the character holding thin air. Underneath it all, Back To The Future: 30th Anniversary Edition is a solid game, which is worth the investment if you’ve not played it before.
Thanks for Xbox and Telltale Games for their support
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