Review: Back to the Future: Episode 2

Great Scott! Back to the Future: Episode 2 is here! Doc and Marty are still in 1931, set to return home to 1986 after the events of Episode 1, but there’s a problem that could unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire Universe… again!

After a tense opening involving a getaway in the DeLorean, it’s up to Marty to re-visit the events of the first game, akin to the school dance scene in the movies, in order to put things right for himself, Doc and the future! Time-travel is explored really well, as you try to avoid your past self for long enough to sort everything out. Of course just getting that resolved isn’t it; there’s a lot more to do after you’ve ‘fixed’ everything. Put it this way, Episode 1 wasn’t the last you were going to see of Teenage Doc, 1931 Hill Valley and Kidd Tannen.

Retains the superb humour and tone of the first episode

Though there is less exploration of Hill Valley involved (probably due to getting to know it in Episode 1), we spend most of the game in 1931, apart from one brief scene. This isn’t a bad thing; Telltale have put a lot of effort in to developing the 1931 world, so we couldn’t expect them to drop it after just one episode. As with the game world, it retains the superb humour and tone of the first episode, and indeed, the movies.

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Episode 2 feels much less of a tutorial than the previous instalment, so there’s no worrying about it getting off to a slow start; it’s filled with puzzles and action (to an extent) sequences from the start until the explosive ending. The gameplay is almost identical to the first but Telltale have improved the camera; it’s now sometimes over the shoulder and there’s even first person views in some parts. That’s not all, though: it’s become a lot easier to look around now that you can click and drag the previously fixed camera.

Unfortunately, whilst the puzzles are good, there’s only one that manages to stand out, in which you’ll have to mess around with music sheets to directly affect a certain someone’s mood. Thankfully, you won’t have to worry too much since there are a couple of twists and turns in the story and there’s a lot for you to do throughout.

Excellent voice acting and fantastic sound

The vast amount of dialogue and conversations that can be explored is backed up by the excellent voice acting and fantastic sound in general. The music, voices and even the little background chimes that you’ll hear are what made the first episode, and now they’re what make Episode 2 stand out from the crowd. The sound is just great, although some of the ‘natural’ background noises aren’t perfect.

The controls could still do with some improvement, I found that when the fixed camera changed it became complicated to walk and didn’t flow very well. Otherwise, it’s fine, though. Don’t expect a graphical leap from the first game; it’s still the same (and that’s what we should expect) and the animation is still somewhat flawed. It does the job, though, and that’s all we need.

If you’re not a big fan of the movies or Episode 1, you probably won’t ‘get’ it, but if you are, you’ll love this. The story is even better than the first part, and whilst the puzzles aren’t anything special, they provide somewhat of a challenge. After the big cliffhanger at the end, we’re treated to a glimpse of what’s next. And what’s next looks good.

Pros:

  • The story is better than the first episode
  • Feels as though there is more action
  • Lots of dialogue, backed up with great voice acting and humour
  • There is a good amount of quests and puzzles

Cons:

  • Controls aren’t perfect, although they are better than in Episode 1
  • Less accessible to those who haven’t seen the movies
  • The puzzles aren’t anything special

Back to the Future: The Game is a great extension to the series, and Episode 2 does nothing but improve on Episode 1 (although not enough to merit a higher score). Telltale have managed to craft another great episode, and here’s hoping that they’ll be consistent with their brilliance in the coming instalments. From the tone to the dialogue to the sound, it’s completely Back to the Future; there’s no mistaking it. And there’s no doubt that any fan that plays this game will be left with a smile on their face as the DeLorean zooms through time once again.

Score: 8/10

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18 Comments

  1. Do we know if a console version is coming? I’ve probably missed a part that gives this answer but it’s 9 on a sudsy morning so I can be forgiven

    • Episode 1 is already available on Playstation store in north america, there’s also a playable demo on there……..it’s a good game, i’m waiting for the UK version though to save me messing about buying more american psn cards from ebay. Set yourself a US account up and download the demo. Checkout youtube for a tutorial on how to set up an american psn account….its easy.

    • It’ll be out on the 9th (this week) on psn, as hinted by the eu blog last week.

      • Whoops someone beat me to it, and almost word for word :D

  2. Sunday*
    Sudsy mornings are very different affairs….

    • Ep 1 should be coming in next week’s Store update, according to the hint in this week’s blog post

  3. These games (going by the screenshots) look great, gonna try em out at some point. May wait until all episodes are relesed before I get it though.

    • yeah, theres bound to be a bundle at some point, would probably work out cheaper too

    • As far as I’m aware, if it’s anything like the PC/Mac version, you buy the bundle and get them monthly.

  4. Look good these, once I have a drought ill invest in them :-)

  5. Nice, good review. played the demo from the US store of Ep1. Cant wait to get these when they get released in the UK.

    One question I have which is not mentioned in the review is about the length of the game. Having not played the first one yet I am curious as to how long each episode will be and if they’re of the same length.

    • 2-3 hours, the second episode seemed a bit closer to 2 and the first was around 3, but that’s probably because the first episode took some getting used to.
      Not bad, it’s £16.99 and that’s for 5 episodes with 2-3 hours gameplay (at least on PC).

  6. Glad it’s coming this week to UK. Big fan of the films so really looking forward to this.

  7. Thanks :D bit short but I’ll take my time.

    £16.99 for the bundle?, (with at a guess around 12-13 hours first play through if all episodes are of a similar length) That’s actually really good value. Hope it’s £16.99 on the PSN store in the UK, I cant wait!

  8. Hopefully it’ll be coming soon, I adore the BttF series and I’m just really pleased it didn’t turn out to be an unplayable mess. :D

    I’ve tried the demo and thought it was brilliant. Great review and I look forward to it very much.

  9. Blair, fella. You hath won me over! I wanted to get them but realised the game-type wasn’t for me. However, after seeing the opening few minutes on YouTube, it seems to concentrate a lot more on the story-telling and less on the “oh god, I’ve had a tits full of clicking everything”. Is that a fair (if unprofessional) observation?

    • Yes, although it’s not just about clicking things, whilst there’s a few sections that require this, there’s also sections where you walk around and explore.

      • I think it’s usually a game-type that resides on the edge of what I like but this seems to be far more focussed on getting a great game/story across and not too heavy on the click here, now there, now here, now there yawn-fest.

        Thanks for the review(s), blair. Bloody awesome.

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