|System: PC, PS3|
|Dev: Telltale Games|
|Pub: Telltale Games|
|Release: March 28, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
The main problem is that Citizen Brown has been so successful at eliminating antisocial behavior that it doesn't take much to get his attention. Here are the three main puzzles/plot points: get caught with alcohol, kiss a girl in public (which you do by winning an asinine guitar battle with Jennifer's new boyfriend, the way two male chimpanzees might fight for the right to a female), and violate the ban on owning dogs. After that, there's a brief meeting with Doc before the final sequence (which I won't spoil). These tasks aren't very interesting in themselves, so they don't do much for the plot, and the puzzles built around them are pretty simple, standard fare for Telltale. What's the point?
So far as graphics go, Hill Valley looks completely different in this incarnation. That's an improvement compared with the second episode, which took place in the exact location as the first one. The town is spotless, of course, with a strong police presence and brainwashed (but, behind closed doors, angry) civilians. The only problem is that, like the tasks you're supposed to perform, the setting just doesn't feel as dangerous as it should. Games about authoritarianism don't need to be gory or even intense to make their point (think Beyond Good and Evil), but in "Citizen Brown," you really don't feel that intimidated when a guard questions you, or creeped out when Biff introduces you to the "Citizen Plus" program, which turned him into a polite and courteous member of society.
As for the controls and sound, they haven't really changed since the last episodes. The controls feel a little better somehow, but they are still super-clunky, with too many invisible walls and awkward directional buttons. The music and voice acting are still great, with orchestral work that fits in with the franchise and great performances by Christopher Lloyd (who reprises his role as Doc) and A. J. LoCascio (who does a great job of imitating Michael J. Fox).
Given how much I enjoyed the first two episodes, or at least the stories in them, I'm not giving up on Back to the Future: The Game simply because this installment didn't work out well. It could set up a great plot in Episodes 4 and 5. In fact, if you already pre-paid for the five-episode series, I'd recommend working through the episode, which takes only a few hours, simply to keep up to date on the story. But if you're keeping tabs on the reviews until all the episodes are out, and then deciding whether to buy, count "Citizen Brown" as strike one against the game.
CCC Contributing Writer