With the passing of another month, Telltale has delivered the third episode in the ongoing Back to the Future: The Game series. Some fans expressed displeasure over the eleventh-hour release of this episode, coming as it did at the absolute end of its advertised March release window, but I’m here to tell you flat out that the wait was worth it. This is the most polished and entertaining episode yet, and it truly captures the spirit of the films.
The game remains unchanged in terms of graphics and control, and the music is still made up of tracks from the original movies and some nice, if unadventurous arrangements of them. Despite the fact that the graphics are on the same level technically, things are lot more interesting artistically this time around – gone is the dingy, somewhat bland-looking 1931 Hill Valley, and in its place is a 1984-inspired police state.
This episode truly shines in both the amount and the scope of its content. It features what is easily the largest amount of dialogue so far, all of which is interesting and fun to listen to. The writing is sharp, as is the way the characters have been twisted around to fit into the warped timeline that Marty and Doc created in episode 2, which pays off big time. Episode 3 really lives up to the initial promise of the 1984-esque setting, and it’s constantly fun to see how the denizens of Hill Valley have fared through the changes.
The game remains immersive throughout, and though the actual time spent walking around solving puzzles is perhaps a bit shorter, the greatly increased amount of dialogue makes up for it. A brainwashed Biff Tannen is a comedy goldmine, and all of the other characters feature some funny wrinkles to their personality. However, that doesn’t mean the puzzles have suffered – on the contrary, the puzzles in this episode are slightly more difficult, and a lot more interesting. One particular sequence involves a guitar battle, which showcases Marty’s character and is a lot of fun to figure out. For fans, the game has a heaping helping of references to the movies, some of which are amusingly subtle but still made me chuckle. Perhaps most importantly, the episode’s story may be a bit short, but it grabs players and keeps them gunning toward the inevitable meeting with the elusive Citizen Brown, and the predictable cliffhanger ending had me absolutely dying to get my hands on episode 4.
The expanded scope of the story, great dialogue, and improved puzzles all combine to ensure that this game makes good on the premise’s potential, and even if you weren’t sold on episodes 1 and 2, if you’re a fan of the series it is definitely worth your time to catch up so you can check out all the goodness episode 3 has to offer. For Back of the Future fans, Telltale has delivered.