User review spotlight: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (DOS)

Back to the Future: The Game (Windows)

68
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Pixelspeech (955)
Written on  :  Jul 02, 2011
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

2 out of 15 people found this review helpful

write a review of this game
read more reviews by Pixelspeech
read more reviews for this game

Summary

Don't be like me, keep playing this game until the end before writing your review

The Good

I really like it how the game perfectly copies the true Back to the Future atmosphere. You always have the same sense of adventure as if you were watching the movies and the humor is also identical. This is very nice for fans of the franchise and people who never watched a movie will probably like it as well because it is just brilliant. The crowning moment is probably when Marty hooks his guitar up to a huge speaker and uses it to bring down the guards that were trying to catch him and Brown.

This game tells it's own story instead of just making a game version of the story that has already been told through a movie. This is nice because it expands the story further or in this case provide a "what if" scenario instead of just telling us the same story again. We get to see some old characters like Emmet Brown and Marty Mcfly again, but there are also new faces like Edna Strickland and Arthur Mcfly. The story still feels like it's written by the same writers though which is weird considering twenty years have passed since.

The story is about you'd expect from a Telltale game, the whole story is separated into five episodes which all start where the previous episode left off and all end with a cliffhanger for the next episode. Something I really like though, is that every episode ends properly and it never feels like all your efforts didn't make a difference after all. Most of the time you solved the problem, but a small fragment of it was left unresolved, so you have to go back and fix it.

The humor is pretty damn good and fits the Back to the Future theme perfectly, I especially liked some winks at jokes that were in the movie and even one or two jokes about some of the lines everybody remembers (like: "You'll see some serious shit", I am not going to spoil the joke though). I admit I had to laugh a lot while playing this game and that comes from somebody who doesn't really care that much about the movies. If the adventure is the glue in this game, then the humor is the polish that makes this game shine.

The Bad

If you can't figure out a puzzle and you need to think for a while it will be constantly interrupted by character's saying the exact same lines over and over again instead of them just shutting up while you are trying to think. This is incredibly annoying and got me close to just muting the game, but I figured turning it off would be a much faster solution to my problem. Honestly, who thinks these design choices up, is there just somebody on the development team who suggested that characters should always talk even if they long ago ran out of dialogue?

Everything is just so slow and takes way too long to complete; the walking feels like Marty is eighty years old, every action is accompanied by an animation that can last several seconds (even if you already did that action before a hundred times) and there is talking around every corner. It makes me wonder if these people ever played Amnesia, there you just pick up stuff by picking it up, you don't need to see an animation of your character picking it up, you just do it. The biggest problem we have her is that a lot of puzzles require you to temporarily distract somebody, but if you don't finish the rest of the puzzle in time he will come back again.

The game takes place in the 1930's which is a nice setting with a lot of style to it, but for some unexplained reason they never did anything with the whole "mafia-style" that was going on at the moment and is even the main threat in the game. Hill Valley looks nothing different from what it did in the 50's and 80's and all the gangsters are cartoon villains who are just trying to be mean to people and sell alcohol (yeah alcohol, apparently that stuff is very illegal). They don't even have any machine guns, they only use pistols when they really have to. Why would you ignore making use of such a great setting?

The game demands a lot from your computer and it just gets ridiculous when you look at the minimum settings and notice they look a lot like those of FPS games. It is obvious to me that Telltale spend a lot of time writing the story, but kind of forgot that a game is more enjoyable the less is requires to run. I wouldn't mind that much because I can still run the game if it didn't look like it was made in 2005 and it actually had some effects. During a shoot-out there aren't even any bullets or different animations, it makes no sense to have these requirements.

The Bottom Line

When I wrote my first review on this game, I was in the second chapter and I thought that was enough to write the entire review. The second chapter, as it turned out, is the worst part of the entire game and has pretty much everything wrong and it doesn't have the real Back to the Future spirit, so naturally I wrote a very negative review on this game. I didn't want thirteen euros to go to waste though, so I kept playing and noticed that I had wrongly accused this game of been terrible.

I am a gentleman, so I feel no shame in apologizing and therefore I rewrote this review. Back to the Future is a pretty nice game for both the fans of this movie as well as fans of point and click adventure games. People who aren't familiar with the back-story will run into some difficulties when trying to keep up with the story, but they can still enjoy a pretty solid adventure.