So I just finished Telltale’s Back to the Future game. Despite having bought it in a fit of excitement upon release, I’d only played the first episode until last Christmas, at which point I declared that the very enjoyable second episode would mean that I’d be working my way through the rest at the earliest possible opportunity.
I’m not sure what happened to that plan – it’s taken me nearly another full year to get around to revisiting it – although I do think it’s possible that the sense of closure provided by the ending of each episode does provide an excuse to put the game down, in spite of effective use of cliffhangers and during-credits teaser trailers.
Anyway, I’d say I definitely enjoyed it overall. The story isn’t without the odd misstep, but in general it feels very faithful to the spirit of the movies. One of the central tenets of the original film was the question of what your parents were like when they were your age, what it would be like to meet them, and whether you’d be friends. Cue lots of Marty hanging around with the teenage versions of his parents.
For various reasons the film sequels went in a different direction, but the game revisits similar territory by having Marty go back to the 1930s, befriend a teenage Doc Brown, and make sure that his scientific career doesn’t go astray. (While Christopher Lloyd does feature, incidentally, he only plays the 1980s version of Doc and beyond – young Doc is voice by James Arnold Taylor, and a good job he does, too).
Although the Tannen dynasty is present and correct, along with older McFlys – mainly grandfather Artie – the game does have some other ideas when it comes to the primary antagonist, meaning the trope of one Tannen or another being the main source of trouble is, thankfully, broken.
For some, it may feel a little unnecessary to keep revisiting these characters and contriving new situations for them to sort out, and not everyone’s expectations will be met. Others will complain about the low level of difficulty, although it’s definitely an exaggeration to say it’s merely a case of just pushing a button to continue the story.
However, I reckon you’d have to be particularly hard-hearted not to engage with it at all, even if only out of plain nostalgia and love for the films: I even bopped along to Huey Lewis and the News during the end credits. (Yes, I said ‘bopped’.)