Video Game Review: Back to the Future: The Game

Details: Released in 2010. Played it on the PC. Purchased for about four dollars. Five episodes in total that took about two hours each to beat.

When you hear the name Telltale Games (and know a little about video games) you think about games like the Walking Dead. You think about games with branching plot lines, meaningful choices that change major plot points in the game and cause alternate endings. Back to the Future: The Game is not one of those games. You need to remember that this game predates The Walking Dead game. Back to the Future: The Game is a very traditional adventure game that follows a single, linear plot line. Fortunately, that plot line is decent.

Back to the Future: The Game takes place soon after the movies. Marty attends an estate sale for Doc Brown since he no longer lives in the present and is presumed dead. Suddenly, the Delorean shows up on autopilot and whisks Marty into the past where Marty now has to save Doc Brown and go on another time traveling adventure.

The most important aspect of an adventure game like this one is the story. The story here isn’t bad, but the first few episodes are slow. The momentum does build up to an ending I found satisfying, but only after having dredged through a number of boring moments.

Gameplay is your standard, old school, point and click adventure game. It’s reminiscent of games like Grim Fandango or the Sam and Max adventure games. You basically encounter a problem that needs to be solved by finding a specific item, clicking on it, then clicking on the thing that you are supposed to use that item on. Other times, you have to talk to certain people in a certain order. It’s not very exciting and sometimes is really painful to get through.

Visually, the game mostly holds up as long as your turn on anti-aliasing to its max settings. It’s not an amazing looking game due to its age, but it’s still very playable. They even have the modern resolutions and I played the game on 1920 by 1080.

The music is all right. There aren’t that many tracks, but it does use licensed music from the movies, which I appreciated. The voice acting was also pretty good.

There is a real sense both narratively and technically that the makers of this game were learning how to make video games along with each episode they published. Each episode subsequently tells the story better and plays better. Some of the improvements include better controls, new player perspectives among other game mechanics.

Overall, I enjoyed the series, though I’m not sure I could recommend it. Some of the game mechanics are so old and puzzles so obtuse that it’s pretty annoying to play through at times. If you really want to see this story, I’d probably recommend just watching a play through on YouTube instead.

Score: 6/10


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