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Adam Ghiggino
25 Jun, 2011

Back to the Future: The Game Episode 5: OUTATIME Review

PC Review | Mr. McFly, thrill me.
We’re finally at the end of the road for Telltale’s Back to the Future game series, and while this particular drive in the DeLorean has had some uneventful patches, it's nonetheless remained true to the spirit of the film trilogy. OUTATIME is the culmination of all the remaining story threads, but is it forced to repeat the same mistakes as its predecessors, or does it set out to make its own future? Let's find out.

OUTATIME starts off slow, as Marty is stuck in 1931 with a teenage Doc, helping him prepare for the Hill Valley Science Expo that will cement his career in science and get the future back on track. However, Citizen Brown, an alternate future version of Doc, also has designs on his past self to change history for his own particular (and understandable) reasons. That's about all we can reveal without giving the episode's best surprises away, but as a whole OUTATIME stands head and shoulders above the rest of this season in terms of storytelling. The game has a lot of nifty ideas about Back to the Future's style of time travel, and there's a great climax and conclusion to the story as well, even if some of the characters' resolutions seem a little too tidy, and given too little explanation.

This game definitely cements the idea that every two generations of McFlys are identical.

This game definitely cements the idea that every two generations of McFlys are identical.
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As we said, the first third or so of the game is pretty slow as you guide Marty around the Hill Valley expo. You're basically stuck in the one location, presented with several puzzles that you have to sort out, and by Back to the Future's standards they're reasonably challenging. It's nothing that's going to have you yelling for mercy at the computer monitor, especially seeing as the hint system on hand can spell out the solution to every problem completely if you so choose, but there is a bit of traditional adventure game trickery on hand here.

However, the best the episode has to offer comes once you've left the expo, as you're taken to a few much different scenarios, with puzzles that require you to think outside the box. This is also where the story takes off as well, and honestly this is where this episode really starts feeling like a true new Back to the Future experience and not just 'Adventures in Science in 1931!'. What's even more awesome is they got Michael J Fox back to lend his voice to this episode, although we wouldn't dare spoil who exactly he's playing, or when he appears. OUTATIME also leaves the door open for future games, and if Telltale do decide to make a sequel, we hope they keep up the energy and cleverness present in this episode that was somewhat lacking in other parts of the series.

Awesome.

Awesome.
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The voice cast of Back to the Future shine in OUTATIME with everyone from AJ Locascio to Christopher Lloyd giving wonderful performances. Trixie, Artie, members of the Tannen family (not Biff), they all do a great job. We don't know if it's just us, but the game seemed to run a little better this time as well, with the DeLorean's effects especially looking great. However, at this stage the game's biggest problem is it contains a gamebreaking glitch. There are various conditions that can apparently set it off, but unless you perform events in a certain sequence in 1931 (if you're interested - ask about Emmett's whereabouts, then enter the glass house, then solve the phone booth puzzle) you'll end up in a box with nothing to click and nothing to do but restart the game. To their credit, it seems Telltale are on the case of this thing and are updating executables of the game at all the digital distribution outlets, so if you're stuck with a bung game, it might be worth re-downloading soon.

OUTATIME is a really fun and inventive end to the Back to the Future series, and we wish all of the episodes had shown the energy present in the latter half of the game. It still has some of the same problems as older episodes - the difficulty isn't very high, 1931 Hill Valley is dull, at times the game can seem like an interactive cutscene rather than a game. But at least this episode brings everything together to feel like Back to the Future Part 4, a true sequel to the film trilogy we love so dearly. Well, that might be it for this series, but you never know with Telltale, because before you know it Back to the Future could be back... in time. And we look forward to it.
The Score
The best episode of the bunch, OUTATIME provides some great closure to the series and a great final adventure with Marty and Doc. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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3 Comments
2 years ago
I actually found this chapter to run worse then the others. I know people have had issues with the various other chapters in the series, but they never cropped up for me. But i hit the Optionless room bug, and there was numerous audio issues that never popped up in the other games.
Still good game. Looking foward to the next Telltale season.
2 years ago
As a game, it wasn't that great, but I loved it for the spirit of Back to the Future and wouldn't hesitate to preorder a second season based off that, even with that wtf ending.
2 years ago
I'd like to see a Star Trek one done in this format.. preferably The Next Generation characters but in an episodic format, just like the TV series, it might work..
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