Back to the Future: The GameOverview -
Before garnering critical acclaim and Game of the Year buzz with 'The Walking Dead,' Telltale Games was a company with the reputation of releasing modern day incarnations of such popular properties as 'Monkey Island' and 'Sam & Max.' In 2011 though, the developer tackled two big movie franchises, 'Jurassic Park' and 'Back to the Future.' For 'Back to the Future: The Game,' Telltale set the story after the film trilogy, and yet it was always clear from the original announcement that the game is meant to touch upon what made the films so enjoyable. Reviewing this game three year after its release provides the unique opportunity to revisit one of Telltale's more overlooked titles, especially in the wake of 'The Walking Dead.'
Visually, 'Back to the Future: The Game' suffers from many chronic issues gamers familiar with Telltale's offerings expect. The visual style is highly exaggerated, although the likeness of key characters is greatly appreciated. Colors are bright and snappy, although the overall resolution and detail is lacking. There's occasional issues with stuttering between sequences or to and from cutscenes. It's nothing jarring, especially when compared to the most technically buggy Telltale game, 'Jurassic Park,' but the lack of seamlessness is what reminds fans that it's a game and not meant to be a substitute for a film.
Aurally, 'BttF: The Game' hits it out of the park. AJ Locascio is an amazing substitute for Michael J. Fox and capture's the youthfulness and likable personality of the character, while Christopher Lloyd is naturally brilliant as Doc Brown. James Arnold Taylor deserves a quick mention as the 1930's version of Doc Brown, completing a tough vocal performance, that Lloyd is incapable of pulling off at his age. Dialogue is the driving force behind the game, but the sound design and soundtrack all come together in the end, quite nicely to provide a quality gaming experience.
While Telltale delivers a generally accomplished graphic adventure in the strictest sense of the term, 'Back to the Future: The Game' is a title that ultimately, fails to live up to its pedigree. It's very consistent in what it does; yet it's overwhelming lack of ambition and general tendency to skate by on good feelings shortchanges its core demographic. In all reality, someone less familiar with 'Back to the Future' may find more pure value out of the title; fans will definitely want to give it a crack though with the warning that nostalgia only goes so far.
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