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The march of time can be problematic for some. Take the iPad owners who got their machine on the day of release, alongside a 24 month data contract. Now superseded by a sleeker model, they are stuck with it, realising that it's all to difficult to upgrade and keep up with technology.
Marty, too, has been having big problems with time in the second Back To The Future episode from Telltale Games. Beginning right where the first game left off, Marty and Doc immediately find themselves in trouble again, Doc with the law and Marty with his family being hounded by the Tannens.
Yes, Biff is back to his old self, this time with two brothers and Kid Tannen's links to the mob. Cue the Delorean and Doc's urgent mission to go back in time yet again.
As with the first episode, Episode 2 is told using some great animated likenesses of the characters and an excellent voice cast. Even the bit players are well voiced. Characters are all well animated too and it feels, at times, like watching a high quality animated movie, even during the parts when you're walking around.
This is where the first generation iPad owners from the introduction come in. Because of the highly polished graphics and the game in general (and maybe a lack of refinement in the coding) first generation iPads just don't seem to cope that well when running Back To The Future. It works, but pauses between characters' conversations, stutters and even freezes leading to the game shutting down have been experienced. Even on the iPad 2 I found that occasionally the game needed a bit of time to catch up. Should we mark a game down because older technology can't cope with it? No, but it will certainly affect your enjoyment of the game, at least until Telltale can find some way of patching it.
At the risk of repeating myself with the slight criticisms I raised over Episode 1, the controls are still based on the virtual analogue stick design for movement and it still feels far less of a match to the game than a simple point and click interface would. Being used to virtual sticks, it doesn't really spoil the action, it just feels a little out of place.
The hint system is back too. Holding your finger on the screen will show you a red mark next to the useful objects you can interact with or use with your inventory. It comes in useful when you get stuck, as does a hint system that gradually provides subtle, then not so subtle, hints to the solution. This is often un-necessary due to to many of the puzzles being a case of try x with y and see what happens until you get the right combination, but there are some trickier sections.
The story in this second episode is much stronger than in Episode 1 and fans will be pleased to hear that it feels far more like the old Back To The Future. With more characters and more time for existing characters to hit their stride, the pace is much quicker and the story more focused.
Anyone who has yet to play Episode 1 will still be able to follow the story here, but although Episode 1 isn't essential to gain enjoyment from this game, it really helps to have played through the first game to know the characters a little better. Anyone who has played the first episode will know straight away whether episode 2 is worth their investment. It's safe to say that if you enjoyed the first part then this will be an even more enjoyable experience.
Back To The Future Episode 2 is an essential purchase for fans of the movies and, of course, the first episode. It has the same strengths and, particularly for first generation iPad owners, the same weaknesses too. Knock off a point or two if you own an early iPad (though the series is still well worth a look if you can cope with the bugs) Ignoring these technical issues, though, Telltale's game is definitely getting better with time.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 10
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 7
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