Back to the Future: The Game: Episode 5: Outatime! Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Back to the Future: The Game: Episode 5: Outatime! Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

The DeLorean Reaches the End of the Road

If you’ve read my reviews of the first four episodes (here, here, here, and here), you know Back to the Future: The Game is far from perfect. The point-and-click gameplay is dated, most of the puzzles are too easy or too unintuitive, and a few stretches of the game have been downright boring. To put it simply, if you’re looking for challenging and innovative puzzles, you won’t find them here.

Back to the Future: The Game: Episode 5: Outatime! Screenshot

What makes it all worth it, though, is the storytelling, which has been entirely worthy of the Back to the Future name. Bob Gale, co-writer of the original film, served as an adviser, and with Telltale Games he created a vivid follow-up to the famed movie trilogy. The voice acting is terrific as well: A.J. LoCascio is spot-on in his imitation of Michael J. Fox, and Christopher Lloyd reprises his role as Doc.

The final episode is a fitting conclusion to this new tale. It’s no surprise that the gameplay isn’t any more gripping than it has been in the past; you’ll solve some easy point-and-click puzzles, and you’ll use the hint system when the game doesn’t give you any idea what to do next. But Telltale did a wonderful job of wrapping up the various plotlines it had put in motion. This is a must-buy for fans of Back to the Future, even the ones who can’t stand point-and-click games. Until someone adapts the game into an animated movie, this is the only place fans can go for a brilliant new story.

Back to the Future: The Game: Episode 5: Outatime! Screenshot

I’d highly recommend that you stop reading now and go buy the game. If you’d like some more information about the story, read on, but be warned that there are some minor spoilers.

As you’ll recall, at the end of Episode 4, Doc was bummed out. His marriage to Edna Strickland had turned him into an Orwellian dictator, but going back in time to destroy the marriage had been heartbreaking nonetheless. Now, he has a new idea: It wasn’t marrying Edna that was the problem. No, the problem was that he’d married Edna without giving up science. So, we find ourselves once again at the 1931 Hill Valley Science Expo, and Doc is trying to keep his younger self from showing off his new invention—a turning point that will launch his scientific career.

Back to the Future: The Game: Episode 5: Outatime! Screenshot

To save Doc’s timeline, Marty has to solve puzzles related to the exhibits in the Science Expo. In the process, however, he outs Edna as the Speakeasy Arsonist. When the police go to arrest Edna, she escapes—in the DeLorean, of all vehicles. She hits 88 mph, and the time machine’s circuits are still out of whack from the previous episodes. She ends up far in the past, and of course her personality leads her to wreak havoc there. In fact, she manages to destroy Hill Valley entirely. This is the main challenge that Doc and Marty face in Episode 5.

It’s at this point that fans get a special treat: the first of two cameos by Michael J. Fox himself, this time as an ancestor of Marty’s. (I won’t spoil the second one.) Fox says only a few lines throughout the game, but this is a great touch. Fans have waited far too long to see Fox playing the role of a McFly again, and hearing him side-by-side with LoCascio dramatically underscores what a great job the latter did.

Back to the Future: The Game: Episode 5: Outatime! Screenshot

By the end of the game, you’re back in 1986 and everything seems fine—at first. The ending leaves the door wide open for another game series, and we can only hope Telltale will explore this possibility.

On a technical level, Episode 5 is in line with the rest of the series. The graphics aren’t particularly detailed, and the facial animations aren’t realistic, but you can tell that every character, item, and environment was crafted with utmost care. The music adds a cinematic touch. The WASD controls are easily the worst-handled aspect of the production, but you can move Marty with the mouse instead if you’d prefer.

We’ve gone far too long without a high-quality Back to the Future story, and this game does a great job of filling that need in fans’ hearts. The gameplay is tepid, and of course that’s a very significant factor in the “minus” column. It is a video game, after all, not a movie. But the bottom line is that it’s worth sitting through the lame puzzles to watch as Doc and Marty try to fix all the problems their time-traveling has caused. Despite all the fiction that has used time travel as a plot device, none has done it quite the way that Back to the Future did.

Someday, hopefully, this story will be available in other forms. Until then, it’s highly recommendable as a game.

They’re lovingly crafted, but not exactly cutting-edge. 3.5 Control
The WASD setup is pretty clunky, but the mouse controls aren’t bad. 4.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice acting is terrific, and the music sounds truly cinematic. 2.9 Play Value
This game isn’t very much fun to play, but the storyline is a joy to watch. 3.4 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • New storyline with Marty and Doc. Featuring A.J. LoCascio as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd returning to voice Doc.
  • Thrilling new Back to the Future experience delivered in five parts. Released over five monthly episodes featuring incredible story twists, turns, and cliffhangers.
  • Cinematic adventure. Play as Marty McFly in an experience true to the films—with all the challenges, excitement, and comedic stylings of a bona fide Back to the Future adventure.

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