All that is wrong with the world…

February 17, 2011

Thoughts on Back to the Future The Game – Episode 2

Today the 2nd episode of BTTF:The Game was released which was a pleasant surprise. I had been interested to see how it would turn out giving my impressions of Episode 1. One of the first things I noticed that I didn’t last time was that the installer extracted files for the QT Toolkit. This seemed strange as I can’t imagine the toolkit is sued much in games, but perhaps it is.

So this episode started off with Marty and Doc having to evade a police officer. This was somewhat annoying as you had to move around a car several times and watch an animation of the officer and Doc marching backwards, which after 4 or 5 times became quite repetitive. It was after this where we went back to our own time that the timeline had been altered, although apparently only to the extent that the Tannen’s never left the McFly’s alone, resulting in the McFly kids moving away and protection money needing to be paid.

So, back to 1931 we did go. This seemed interesting as it was in the spirit of BTTF Part 2, although there really wasn’t enough of doing things while scenes from the first episode were in progress to maintain that feel and it ended up feeling like a longer stretch of Episode 1. I also noticed that while in the first game Marty’s pseudonym has been hardcoded as Michael Corleone yet here it seems to be hardcoded as Sonny Crocket. If you’re going to ignore the players choice and hardcode a name, why not do it consistently?

I also noticed the save ad load option is now prominently in the menu, although you can only save after key checkpoints which isn’t overly useful. There seemed to be some delays in this episode between initiating an action and watching the resulting animation. It could be something with my PC, but since Episode 1 still plays fine I think it is unlikely.

Due to the story in the game Marty starts to fade out and has to fix something to stop that happening. What I found odd was that he started to fade out wholly at once…I felt it would have been nice if it started with just his hand as in the movies. A minor thing, but it was the continuity of the minor things that helped to make the movies so great in my opinion.

One of the more aggravating things is that Marty still nervous, a great example of which is the fight with Biff’s gang. It isn’t the same Marty I know and love from the movies, and what’s more seems like a missed opportunity. No accusations of being chicken, no actual fighting of any sort. In fact, one of the lines of dialogue is “Can’t you pick on someone else, really?” which seems totally out of character. I suppose this isn’t going to change anytime soon though.

I finished the game in just slightly over two hours, taking a bit longer as it was not obvious that I had to taunt Kid Tannen at the end. This part of the game also had one of the most gratuitous uses of pocket space I have seen in a long time, where an entire barrel of booze manages to fit into Marty’s pocket, complete with the animation. It was an entertaining two hours but given the time Telltale has had to work on the game, I hoped it would be closer in characters and minor touches to the movies. Although I’m still hoping for a scene or puzzle involving a skateboard, be it makeshift or hoverboard.

I thought it would have been interesting to see more of the changed timeline instead of being stuck in 1931, although it appears the next episode will be in an entirely different timeline that we have seen yet. The end of the game was interesting and given what happened I am surprised the DeLorean didn’t disappear. Perhaps it is because it is a copy and somehow exists outside of the normal continuum? Something I wish had been expanded on further. Despite everything I am enjoying the game and look forward to the next episode, where it seems the story will really progress.

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