mzuckerm's Back to the Future: The Game Episode 1: It's About Time (PC) review

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Strong Start to a New Adventure Game Series

This game is a nice entry by Telltale Games into a new adventure game series.  For those of us who grew up partly in the 80s, it provides great nostalgia value, staying faithful to the spirit of the original while at the same time providing an all-new story. 
While not without its flaws, this game's pluses clearly outweigh its minuses.  For instance, the voice acting is very good.  Doc Brown is voiced by Christopher Lloyd (the original Doc Brown from the movies).  Marty McFly is voiced by A.J. LoCascio, who does a terrific job sounding a lot like Michael J. Fox.  Graphics and animations are generally solid.  There's some occasional visual tearing, but all-in-all the game looks pretty good.  Puzzles are largely intuitive and don't rely on "absurd dream logic" (with one notable exception described below).  Perhaps most importantly, there is some variation in gameplay.  While it got a little old after a little while, the puzzle requiring Marty to properly stage chemical reactions while young Doc Brown gets in a shouting match with his father was a nice change of pace from the norm in adventure games.
The game did have some bad points, however.  There is one monumentally bad puzzle that may have forced some players to start the game over from scratch.  It's unclear to me if it's actually bugged or if it just requires an incredibly precise (and unclear, even from following Telltale's own walkthrough) series of actions.  Either way, it's fucking retarded.  The game is also a little on the short side.  I'm not sure how long this was supposed to take, but it can probably be finished in 2 or 3 hours.  I probably took a bit longer, but a good chunk of that was spent fiddling with the obnoxious puzzle I describe above.  For episodic content, I suppose that shouldn't be too surprising.  Finally, the inventory screen isn't as dynamic as it could be.  There doesn't seem to be any combining of items, and if you mis-click once, you have to enter the inventory screen again in order to re-use the item.  Other than the one particularly bad puzzle, these flaws can be pretty easily ignored in what is otherwise a strong game.

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