Back to the Future: The Game PS3 Collection Review
Back to the Future: The Game is a graphic adventure that sees the return of Doc Brown, Marty McFly, and the DeLorean in another time-traveling adventure that plays on the fact that even the smallest of differences in the past will effect the present. Rather than tampering with the classics, Telltale Games wisely uses them as the cornerstones and bridging points for a completely new adventure that focuses on content only hinted at in the movies. By doing so, we wind up with a whole new story in a different time period that is just as entertaining and amusing as the originals.
As far as story is concerned, Telltale has an uncanny ability to seamlessly intertwine the original BTTF stories with a carefully crafted original adventure that sends you to the 1930s and back again. It creates and enjoyable experience – especially for fans of the original trilogy.
When it comes to storytelling in video games, Telltale is one of the best, so it's really no surprise that this is the game's strongest area. Having each episode accessible on the single game makes the story flow almost like you are experiencing a fourth Back to the Future movie.
As I said earlier, the new story mostly takes place in the prohibition era of 1931. The game begins with Dr. Emmett Brown, voiced by Christpher Lloyd, and Marty McFly, voiced by both AJ LoCascio and later Michael J. Fox, in a mall parking lot; they're testing out Doc's DeLorean. After they put Doc's dog, Einstein, in the car and boost it to 88 miles per hour, the car disappears into the future. Doc explains that the car is a time machine. It has sent Einstein to the future and should return soon. However, when the car doesn't come back, Doc begins to disappear because of a “horrible mistake”. As any fan of Back to the Future knows, when you mess with the past, it changes the present.
It then becomes your mission to travel back to the past and rescue Doc. Playing as Marty McFly, you must solve a series of puzzles by examining objects, talking to NPC characters (many of which play off of the movie themes of being relatives in the past), and performing specific actions to find Doc. But be careful, as the ethical implications of time travel may change the present are heavily present in the game.
Anyone who has “played” a Telltale game knows it's more about experiencing a story than actually playing a game. With that being said, at times you'll feel more like you are watching a movie than playing. Oftentimes, the game actually takes a backseat to the storytelling.
The puzzles aren't meant to be challenging, but rather give you a purpose of “playing” the game to progress the story. The majority of puzzles consist of investigating your environment, examining objects, and selecting the correct dialogue option. If you do get stuck, the game provides a hint system, revealing one clue at a time from a number of cryptic clues for how to solve the specific puzzle.
My biggest gripe with Back to the Future: The Game Collection for PS3 is not the lack of innovative gameplay, story, or graphics. Rather, it's the lag, choppiness, and awkward camera angles that sometimes hinder what could be a great storytelling experience.
At times, the camera angles will abruptly change, resulting in a direction change for your character. It's not game-breaking, but it's sometimes frustrating to re-orient yourself with what direction you were walking. Also, the quick change makes you feel like you should adjust your joystick to the new direction, but that is not the case.
The conversations and dialogue pieces are lessened by the choppiness of the character movements and laggy expressions. Back to the Future: The Game isn't meant to be realistic looking by any means, but it should at least play smooth. The constant character movements are choppy and take away from what the focus should be on – the story and interaction.
In the end, the story of Back to the Future: The Game is worth telling, but I'm not sure the video game medium was the right way to tell it. If it feels like a movie and plays like a movie (albeit a choppy one), why not just make it a movie? The story is great enough to carry the game, but at times I felt frustrated by having to solve a puzzle just to find out what would happen next.