Back to the Future: The Game – Episode 5: OUTATIME is pretty much a great game. The only problem I can really see with this game is that it’s so good, it makes you realize how bad the other games in the series are.
I checked the sizes of the games on my computer. This game takes up over four times as much memory as the first game does. Four times! Why does this game have so much more content than the other games? It’s like the developers suddenly realized, “Uh oh, we’ve only got one more game left in the series! That means we have to do something now!”
Yes, I just complained that this game has an overload of good material. That’s because they should have spread out the goodness over the entire series, instead of saving it all for the big finale.
Case in point? The subplot about how Young Emmett always fights with his father, Judge Brown. This subplot was brought up in Episode 1, ignored in Episodes 2 through 4, and concluded here. They really should have resolved that subplot back in Episode 1 while it was still relevant. You know? I liked the entire sequence, I liked seeing what Judge Brown looked like, and it was surprisingly emotional considering that the Judge is only onscreen for five minutes, but still. It was slightly out of place.
Another good thing about this game, which makes the others look bad in comparison, is the length of the game. It’s longer than the others, or at least, it feels much longer. The halfway point of the game—where the villain steals the DeLorean and seconds later, the town of Hill Valley completely disappears—is actually a halfway point for once. If this was an earlier episode in the series, they would have stopped the game there, on a cliffhanger ending. But instead, they decided to actually resolve the plotline, by following it up with three more sequences.
Three sequences that take place in new locations, even! “New locations” meaning “not the courthouse square for the fifth game in a row.” Oh man, that was fun! Brand new areas with brand new puzzles to solve is not a bad idea.
Other notes I have about this game are…
- It freaked me out how Marty and Young Emmett were able to do perfect imitations of Old Doc. Young Emmett makes sense, but Marty? When did he become a mimic?
- Speaking of voice acting, Doc does a pretty good French accent.
- Trixie does another song in this episode. They sure seem to enjoy her singing, don’t they?
- The sequence near the start of the game with Marty chasing the particle accelerator was absolutely pointless. To solve this puzzle, you just have to click on the item three times. That’s it.
- I liked the sliding doors puzzle, although I thought it was a bit too easy. I’m sure that most other reviewers will complain that it was too challenging and out of place.
- Why was the blacksmith sign an item you could pick up, when you never use it anywhere?
- I am disappointed at the direction they took with Edna Strickland. For a moment—and I mean, for three episodes—it felt like they were leading up to something big, something involving actual character development. But in the end, they shrugged it off and went for, “Oh, well, she’s just been evil all along, that’s all.” That’s a cop-out!
- It was fun to see Michael J. Fox in this game, although it sort of makes you wonder why they didn’t hire him from the get-go, because it appears he can still do a perfect Marty voice.
The ending scenes were pretty much fun and awesome. That’s all I have to say about them. And the “To be continued…” sign that appeared after the ending credits? Is this their way of unofficially telling us that a second series is on the way?
I sort of hope a second series is on the way. But next time? Make every game in the series good like this. Don’t make the final game disproportionally better than the others.
[Review reprinted from Michael Gray’s blog.]
Want to hear about how Back to the Future: Episode 5 is actually the worst one in the series? Check out Nikola Suprak’s take on the game here!
I’m with Suprak on this one: put all of the content in one game and remove the episodes. But your writing is superb as always, Michael.
The game got longer because they added in Michael J. Fox. You know, the guy who has Parkinson’s, and thus can’t do a lot of work. And are you deaf? He sounded nothing like Marty. He intentionally made his voice older at first, and later used his real voice, which sounded older.
Then again, you think the impressions of Doc were good. They weren’t.
I personally believe the room puzzle was just right. It was just a bit tedious, since you have to go back and forth, using Teltale’s horrible controls. Kinda like the real time segment in the first game.
What was too hard was aligning the deflectors. Why the hell would they accelerate the more you move them? And why the hell was it easier to use four directions on the keyboard rather than multiple direction with the mouse? Make it touchy, but don’t make it artificially hard.