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Back to the Future: The Game - Wii Review

Game Info
Back to the Future: The Game

Wii | Telltale Games | 1 Player | Out Now (North America)
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote; Wii Remote and Nunchuk
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1st December 2011; By Patrick

Back to the Future
was a revolutionary 1985 film that followed Marty McFly as he unintentionally went back in time, and ended up meeting his parents, solving their problems, and rescuing the life of his best friend, Doc Brown. The film received two sequels, and while the legacy lived on, no further official stories followed. Then, in 2010, Telltale Games announced that alongside Universal Pictures, they were creating the long-awaited continuation in the story in the form of Back to the Future: The Game. The game released in regular episodes starting in December of 2010 and continuing throughout 2011 until all five were released for PC, Mac, and PS3. This holiday, Telltale then released the game for retail purchase on PS3 and Wii. Does the Wii version hold up, or does it suffer like many other cash grabs on the system?

    When you first boot up the game, you will get a selection of the five episodes: It's About Time, Get Tannen!, Citizen Brown, Double Visions, and OUTATIME. While the game will let you play the episodes in any order (great for those that only played the first episode on PC, as it's free), it is highly recommended you experience all of the episodes in order from beginning to end so there are no major holes in the continuity of the story.

The game is a linear point-and-click adventure -- Telltale's greatest strength. As you go through a large number of environments, you will gather items for your inventory that you can use on other items in the environment or other characters. The story progresses either through using items or progressing key dialogue trees, although there are many miscellaneous surprises and jokes that are mostly unrelated to story progression that you can find if you so choose.

    The strongest part of this game, by far, is the cast of characters and their interactions. While Marty McFly is not voiced by his original actor, Michael J. Fox (for obvious reasons), the game introduces A.J. LoCascio, who sounds almost exactly like Marty. Christopher Lloyd returns to play Doc Brown in all five episodes, Claudia Wells returns to voice Jessica Parker, and Michael J. Fox surprisingly guest stars as a character in the series finale (which shocked me to no end given his health). All the original voice actors (and even A.J.) retain their synergy with each other, and all the new voice actors and characters fit in perfectly to create dialogue and events that will certainly make fans of the films very happy. It also doesn't hurt that film co-writer Bob Gale helped with this game as well.

    The music is also top-notch, featuring both classic themes and new tunes to different areas. One of the characters, Trixie Trotter, also sings often which is a nice complement to the other songs in the game. Jared Emerson-Johnson is well-known for creating music that is very fitting for the source material, and this game is definitely not an exception.

The story becomes slightly convoluted at times, but no more so than the films. Most problems or questions that you might have become resolved by the final episode, which is a brilliant season finale. You can read up on a summary of what has happened so far at any time, as well as check your current objective. Some might feel that the game actually holds your hand
too much, so you can go into the Options menu and turn off the Goal Notifications at any time.

    The controls are seemingly even more streamlined than the PC version, with most of the game controlled with the pointer and the A Button. To get to the Pause menu, you hit the + Button, and to get to your inventory or any other menu besides the Pause menu, you simply hover over it with the pointer and select it. Movement across the game world is handled with the either the D-Pad or the Nunchuk. with running being dedicated to the Z Button. Alternatively, the game features a method of movement where you use the Wii Remote like a joystick with the B Button to run, however this is relatively clunky and I wouldn't recommend it, though it is a novel inclusion.

The rest of the Wii-specific version of this game, however, is questionable. The engine that the game runs on seems to have difficulty with running on the system. This is evidenced by long loading times, occasional slowdown and framerate drops, and some lag between dialogue and animations. These are not
always there, but when they are, they hit hard. This gives me a completely mixed impression of how the game looks. Often times it looks fantastic, and is one of the better looking games on Wii, and in other places, it looks like it was simply rushed out too early to be released in time for the holidays.

    Overall, my time with the game has left me with very mixed impressions indeed. The game itself is amazing, and I've always felt so. The Wii version has its ups with its streamlined controls, but it also has the lows in that it seems rushed in several places. I would say that this game is worth picking up, but only if you (or the person you're giving it to) hasn't played it before, and won't be too fussed about the visual issues.

21/30 - Good

Gameplay 9/10 - Classic Telltale point-and-click, story is well-written, excellent finale, controls feel more streamlined
Presentation 6/10 - Voice work is the best part with many of the original voice actors present, big framerate/slowdown issues, feels rushed
Enjoyment 4/5 - All episodes are fun, story resolves itself well, technical issues may impact enjoyment
Extra Content 2/5 - All five episodes present on one disc, small jokes for those that seek them out, story entirely linear

Equivalent to a score of 70% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by Patrick

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