Reviewed: August 12, 2011
Released: July 20, 2011
At this point, the final episode of the Back to the Future adventure game has been out for a while. Unless you've been waiting to see if the whole run is good or not, this is basically a formality, but rest assured: The series is still incredibly solid. Back to the Future - Episode 5: OUTATIME picks up where Double Visions left off, on the morning of the Hill Valley expo with several forces within Hill Valley opposing him. Really, at this point in the series, it's neigh-impossible not to spoil something if I'm not incredibly vague, but rest assured that it begins where the last episode ended, and finishes off with an incredible tribute to the original Back to the Future film.|
While most of the episode takes place inside the Hill Valley expo, and is fairly puzzle-dense, the few moments of characterization we get between Emmet and his father, as well as an interesting puzzle that reveals previously unmentioned mechanics of time travel, the series' denouement brings players back to the old west of Hill Valley, along with a Rube Goldberg-esque penultimate puzzle. While the very last puzzle in the game is sort of a letdown, with incredibly awkward mouse controls forcing players to resort to the keyboard, it still ties the series together well, even if crawling around the outside of a speeding car is starting to lose its shine.
The gameís dialogue is pitch-perfect, with Christopher Lloyd reprising his role as Doc Brown, and AJ LoCascio stepping into Martyís role with an uncanny interpretation of the character that I could barely distinguish from Michael J. Fox. Telltaleís writing is spot on, hitting many of the movie seriesí running jokes, while being more than clever in its own right. While there arenít as many outright jokes as there were in the previous episodes, the dystopian absurdity of the audio tour stands out as one of the episodeís highlights, including the reminder that citizens must remember which identical blue recycling bin to put trash in.
The gameís graphics are charming; with a cartoonish bent that pervades the game. The character designs fit their roles in the game, and while the differences in the level of caricature can be momentarily alarming, as the comparison between Marty and Doc Brownís proportions took me aback when I first noticed them, the interpretation works better, and the characters have more life and expression to them than a more realistic approach would have. Meanwhile, the music draws its cues from the films, with numerous familiar themes coming back around, and fans of the moviesí scores will find a lot to recognize and enjoy.
The gameplay itself is a relatively simple adventure game. The puzzles are all either dialogue-based or involve using items straight from the inventory with little combination or other elaborate inventory tricks to be found. A robust help system will ease players who canít boggle through the solutions through the game, though the puzzles are straightforward enough that veteran players might not find much to challenge them. The puzzles seem to be back up to par with the first episode, ending up in me resorting to hints rather often. Itís bound to be less of an issue for more proficient adventure players, but the short ride is back to being fairly fulfilling for players across the spectrum.
For fans of the films, you can hardly go wrong with the Back to the Future adventure games. If youíve already bought the first, then you know the kind of quality youíre in for. If you've waited to see if the entire series holds together, well, it does. Either way, it still holds up, and if you want to play through it all in one go, now's the time.