In the last two days, I played the remaining 4 episodes (the first being discussed here). My overall impression is still more or less the same. But I got some screenshots, and a couple of things to point out, and what better way to get rid of them than to put them in the form of a post. Since I’m on a four-day weekend at the moment, my original plan was to play one episode every night, but I liked it so much that I played it a lot more.
Maybe this is a good point to mention, for those that are allergic to it, that the rest of the post will contain spoilers, though I’ll try to keep it down.
In short, after the daring escape in 1931 in Episode 1, you (you being Marty) have a serious problem with your existence. It seems you got your dad in trouble, so in Episode 2, you go back a couple of hours in time 1931 to solve that. That leads to a lot of other problems, and you end up in an Orwellian 1986 Hill Valley in Episode 3. So, in Episode 4, you go back to 1931 yet again, at which point you have a bit of a fallout with Doc, which you have to deal with in Episode 5. Oh, and Episode 5 also has an alternative catastrophic 1931, because you inadvertently changed something in 1876, which you’ll also visit. Still with me? No? Great. That keeps spoiling at a minimum, and after all, isn’t that how time travel stories are supposed to if you don’t revisit them afterwards? Oh, and don’t even try to understand why Doc went to 1931 originally. You won’t until the very last scene. You’re welcome to guess throughout the game, though.
Episode 2 was quite funny again, with the 30ies appeal of prohibition, corrupt cops, and all those things. Episode 3, on the other hand, was probably my least favorite. The Orwellian Hill Valley felt depressing, and without Doc around, there were fewer fun dialogues. It had a couple of nice one-liners though.
In Episode 4, the focus is back on the weirdest kinds of research again, as is the first part of Episode 5. You’ll get to know a couple of Doc’s early inventions, most of which rightfully never made it into everyday use. But that’s nothing a good researcher should be afraid of! I should put one of these lines on my office door.
Overall, as I already said, I really enjoyed the games. On the other hand, I probably would’ve enjoyed them almost as much if they had been a movie of about the same length. The game part is somewhat weak, don’t expect any hard puzzles (one or two are frustrating, but that’s because they feel random). The scripting and voice acting is great though, and the characters are likable (except for those that aren’t supposed likable, which aren’t, obviously) and believable as much as a you could expect in a BTTF-style adventure. There are a couple of minor bugs and typos. It is kind of sad to see that somebody, for example, mixed up “your” and “you’re”. The grammar geek in me died a little.
There is also a very annoying bug in Episode 5 that cost me quite a bit of time. You have to solve a puzzle revolving around a cactus, and I didn’t realize what I had to do, because the game already displayed everything in place, when in fact it wasn’t. Sure enough, after I went through the motions and manually draped everything required around the cactus in the way the graphics already showed to me, the puzzle was solved. Things like this really should be caught by your QA. But oh well. At least there were no game-breaking dead ends.
If you can get the game on sale, and you liked Back To The Future, get it, no questions asked. At full price, it’s up to you whether you consider 15-or-so hours of game time worth it.