Going Back In Time
Having recently watched through the Back To The Future Trilogy on Blu-ray, I was left wondering whether they'd ever consider a sequel. It's probably unlikely by now, but it was good to know that I could then continue the story thanks to Telltale's new game based on the series.
Back To The Future Episode 1: 'It's About Time' is the first in an episodic continuation of the series, which begins with Doc Brown's disappearance and the subsequent efforts of Marty's father to sell off the contents of his house. However, it's worth noting that before this you get a really quite special flashback that really helps to set the scene. It's an odd starting point, and yet it works so well to ground the new story in their universe.
What follows is, in its basic sense, a point and click adventure which, at times, is more interactive movie than adventure game. However, leaving it at that would be a dis-service to the game. First and foremost, BTTF Episode 1 is bolstered by an interesting story with good voice acting (Christopher Lloyd reprising his role as Doc and AJ LoCascio doing a great job as Marty) and great graphics which capture the essence of the original films.
Despite being a point and click game (where every item is interacted with by touch), there are some interesting control decisions in this game. Moving Marty is achieved via a virtual analogue stick rather than pointing in the direction he needs to go. At first it seems a bit clumsy and un-necessary, but I put that down to years of being used to the standard methods of movement in these games. After a while it seems to give the game a little more freedom by making it feel a little less scripted.
That said, this is definitely a game where the narrative drives the action. The player won't get very far by choosing the wrong option here and progress is often made by experimenting with using one item on another or on a person. Most of the time these are logical to deduce, but occasionally there will be some head scratching involved.
None of this would matter if the story wasn't any good, though. Well, I'm pleased to say that Telltale have done a great job with scripting and pacing in this game. It really makes all the difference and players will be trying to solve the puzzles just to get to the next bit of story and find out what happens. As an episodic game, though, there comes a time when the story ends and, yes, once it ends you'll be dying to get your hands on the next part.
Issues with the original iPad, crashing and slowdowns seem to have been fixed by running this on the iPad 2. The faster processor certainly makes light work of a graphic intensive game. Anyone with a first edition iPad should note that there are still issues that make the game occasionally crash, though, but iPad 2 owners are in for a treat.
Back To the Future is a sacred franchise to many fans, Telltale have done well to stay true to the world of Doc and Marty without too much in the way of deviation. While re-creating their universe, Back To the Future Episode 1 produces a great story and some fun puzzles to solve. Roll on Part 2.
- Sound: 10
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 9
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