Marty and Doc are back in the second episode of Telltale’s Back to the Future: The Game. Entitled Get Tannen!, you are indeed plunged into a tale which sends you after Hill Valley’s most notorious citizen. The game picks up exactly where the last episode ended, with Marty in peril thanks to space-time-continuum fondling. The story is infinitely more engaging than the last time round, with an actual mystery to unravel, interesting characters and less painful pacing, resulting in me becoming invested in the characters and plot.
For the most part, the game is presented the same way as the first episode, but for a slight change in the camera, which adopts an over-the-shoulder view in some areas which makes Marty easier to navigate through the game world. The same inventory system is back and I still wish there was a quick select dial on the HUD since you never really have more than six items on you at any one time and digging through unnecessary menu screens is never a smile.
If you have played the first episode you know exactly what to expect here. You control Marty, nosing about the place, examining and interacting with people and items by clicking on them. The puzzles are more intuitive and intelligent than last time, but there is still an awful lot of hand-holding and repetition. How many items do we really need Einstein to sniff an item across the course of this series? Hill Valley is back and unfortunately just as vapid as it was during our last visit, but for one or two changes. One of these changes – an illegal drinking establishment – brings more charm and variety than the rest of the game, which is great, but reveals what Telltale could have, but didn’t achieve with this dinky tale.
Episode 1’s cast return with a sprinkling of newbies, all of whom do an excellent job of delivering the dialogue. The characters and visuals are the same affair as last time, with a really great cartoony style and taste. Again, Telltale could have gone bananas in creating an awesome game world filled with character and uncovered delights, but instead we have approximately six characters with whom to converse and four areas to explore. A hugely missed opportunity.
If you enjoyed the last entry then no doubt you will enjoy this one. It is smarter, funnier and more interesting than the last. For new comers, it is a difficult call as most of the appeal here lies in the fact that it continues the Back to the Future franchise and, dare I say, without it, this game would not hold up in this day and age. If you are a fan though, there are plenty of delights and nods to the films, bundled in a good 90 minutes of point-and-click distraction.