Reviewed: May 1, 2011
Released: April 29, 2011
With Telltaleís Back to the Future series nearing its end, it seems like youíd either be sold on the series of not. If youíre not yet convinced, though, rest assured that the series keeps getting better. Back to the Future - Episode 4: Double Visions begins with a prison break and ends with some serious questions about Martyís right to play with the timeline in an attempt to make things better, or set things right, with some solid characterization in between. While light on puzzles, Double Vision makes up for it in story, setting the stage for a conflict over the fates of everyone involved.|
Tasking Marty with the goal of rescuing Doc Brown from Ednaís reeducation process, and turning back time to ensure that they never get together, Double Vision brings the game back to 1931, and marks the return of some of the Back to the Future episodesí best characters. As much as I liked the time spent in the dystopian Hill Valley of Citizen Brown, it was great to spend some time with Edna and Emmetís younger selves, see whatís happened to Kid Tannenís gang, and check up on Artie and Trixie again. The characterization is solid, with background interactions informing quite a bit of what will happen next, if Marty doesnít interrupt them. The puzzles involve a degree of pixel-hunting and less clever use of objects, but Iím willing to forgive that in light of the rest of the episode being strong enough to carry the episode.
The gameís dialogue is pitch-perfect, with Christopher Lloyd reprising his role as Doc Brown, and AJ LoCascio stepping into Martyís role with an uncanny interpretation of the character that I could barely distinguish from Michael J. Fox. Telltaleís writing is spot on, hitting many of the movie seriesí running jokes, while being more than clever in its own right. While there arenít as many outright jokes as there were in the previous episodes, the dystopian absurdity of the audio tour stands out as one of the episodeís highlights, including the reminder that citizens must remember which identical blue recycling bin to put trash in.
The gameís graphics are charming; with a cartoonish bent that pervades the game. The character designs fit their roles in the game, and while the differences in the level of caricature can be momentarily alarming, as the comparison between Marty and Doc Brownís proportions took me aback when I first noticed them, the interpretation works better, and the characters have more life and expression to them than a more realistic approach would have. Meanwhile, the music draws its cues from the films, with numerous familiar themes coming back around, and fans of the moviesí scores will find a lot to recognize and enjoy.
The gameplay itself is a relatively simple adventure game. The puzzles are all either dialogue-based or involve using items straight from the inventory with little combination or other elaborate inventory tricks to be found. A robust help system will ease players who canít boggle through the solutions through the game, though the puzzles are straightforward enough that veteran players might not find much to challenge them. The puzzles seem to be back up to par with the first episode, ending up in me resorting to hints rather often. Itís bound to be less of an issue for more proficient adventure players, but the short ride is back to being fairly fulfilling for players across the spectrum.
For fans of the films, you can hardly go wrong with the Back to the Future adventure games. If youíve already bought the first, then you know the kind of quality youíre in for. If youíre hesitant and looking to see if itís maintained throughout the series, then youíre in luck, because the Back to the Future games are still right up there with the gold standard that Telltaleís set for licensed adventure games.