Tue 12 Jul 2011
I was a little bit disappointed with episode 3 of Telltale’s ongoing Back to the Future story but their latest offering has managed to drag me back. This is why:
Double Visions marks a welcome return to Prohibition-era Hill Valley, which I always felt possessed far more flair and character than the dystopian version in Citizen Brown. Despite the return to familiar territory, however, the episode introduces a couple of new rooms and environments and basically remains in these places. As a result, the episode story arc is consistent, self-contained and familiar, yet it manages to still feel fresh and new. In Double Visions
Marty also has a clear aim: to break Doc’s heart. And the nature of this mission is important. The puzzles along the way are fun, rewarding and well structured yet, refreshingly, Telltale make sure you come face-to-face with the consequences of your absurd and tactless adventuring – very much unlike the usual adventure game format.
So yes, the puzzles: episode 4 is certainly an improvement in this regard. From start to finish, the puzzles in Double Visions hang together nicely. They are good fun and manage a fair amount of depth, despite the low difficulty level that exists across the series. One puzzle that stands out is when Marty has to sabotage one of Doc’s experiments. Solving the separate sections is rewarding but if you ever get stuck, it’s really easy to find a nudge in the right direction, without having to resort to the hint system. Telltale should really have managed to achieve this more with the puzzles across the series.
In terms of visuals, direction, acting and the like the game looks, feels and sounds as good as one now expects from any Telltale offering. And it’s on this reflection where the series flaws start to surface. Every game in the Back to the Future series has been just that: what you expect from Telltale. And I don’t mean episode 1 set the standard for the rest, I mean Telltale’s first successful adventure set the tone, style and standard for every one that’s come after. By this point in the series, I would expect Telltale to have done something different; broken their own mould. Because the Back to the Future games have been great but every flaw I can identify – the lack of pace; the familiar puzzles – is the product of the Telltale formula.
On that note, it is fair to say my decision to concentrate on some series-wide issues in this review is testament to how solid an episode Double Visions was. Let’s just hope the only way is up from here. Or across, down, around. Anywhere that’s different. One can hope: bring on episode 5!
Mark’s Score 3/5 starks