|Dev: Telltale Games|
|Pub: Telltale Games|
|Release: March 29, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||-|
by Robert VerBruggen
Given the existence of time travel in the Back to the Future universe, as well as the seemingly tidy resolution of the first episode in Telltale's new game series, I was expecting the subsequent installments to feature lots of new characters and time periods. Unfortunately, I was wrong: Virtually every setting and character in Episode 2 is recycled from the first segment.
That's not so bad, though, because the storytelling is still great. It turns out that when Marty busted Doc out of a Prohibition-era jail in the first episode, he left some loose ends. Specifically, Artie McFly, Marty's grandfather, is captured and gunned down by the Tannen gang, and Marty starts to fade from existence. Marty's first task is to go back in time and save Artie. He also has to make sure not to run into himself, because he'll be exploring the same time period he traveled to in the last episode.
After rescuing Artie from his gangster captors, Marty returns to 1986 to find that he's been run out of town, his father's in a wheelchair, and Biff Tannen has two brothers. Worse, the Tannens have become a crime family that controls Hill Valley. It turns out there's another loose end from all Marty's meddling in the past: Kid Tannen's girlfriend, a speakeasy singer named Trixie Trotter, never ratted him out to the police, allowing him to build his crime empire and sire more children. So, it's back to 1931, where Marty dons a gangster disguise, infiltrates Trixie's speakeasy, and convinces Kid's ladyfriend that snitching is the best thing to do.
This story is the best thing the game has going for it, and it really makes the experience worthwhile, especially for diehard fans of the '80s movie trilogy. Bob Gale, a cowriter of the original film, helped with the script, and Telltale held up its end of the bargain on the technical front. The graphics are lovingly crafted, with well-designed 3D environments and familiar-looking character models for Marty, Doc, and Biff. This game won't max out your PC's processing power, but it does a wonderful job of recapturing the magic of the time-traveling DeLorean.
The voice acting is once again superb; Christopher Lloyd reprises his role as Doc, and A. J. LoCascio does such a great job imitating Marty that when my wife walked by, she asked if it was Michael J. Fox. While the cast of characters hasn't expanded much since the first episode, the classic movie gang, combined with the 1931 cast unique to the game, provides plenty of personality. My favorite character who's unique to the game is Edna, a newspaper reporter and anti-alcohol zealot who runs the Stay Sober Society.
Unfortunately, like the first episode, "Get Tannen!" suffers from some gameplay flaws. The attempt to combine a 3D environment with point-and-click gameplay throws Telltale for a loop when it comes to controls; you can't adjust the camera yourself, and it's hard to tell which button will make you walk in which direction (you might have to push up to walk toward the right of the screen, etc.). In addition, there are too many invisible walls, forcing you along awkward paths to get from place to place.