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BTTF Ep. 5 OUTATIME Discussion & BTTF Game Review

posted by MichaelJ Fox isAntarctian on - last edited - Viewed by 11.6K users

Well ya post stuff. Be all cool and smart and able to think through multiple time spectrum things in order to disprove other peoples theories. Ya...

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  • @doodo! said: Does this mean BTTF 5 will have all MJ Fox again?

    It's unlikely. I think he couldn't do it this time because his illness wouldn't allow him to sit in the booth for however long to record the various lines of dialogue (keep in mind, being an adventure game, Marty has to have various lines of dialog for examining objects, saying why things won't work, variations of lines for the dialog trees). And that he'd have to do it for about 5 different episodes. I personally have no idea how Telltale's process is, but I can assume that unless they take long amounts of time with each episode to allow MJF to be able to record lines at a pace accessible to him, then we're probably stuck with only cameos.

    But hey, cameos are better than nothing, and A.J. Locascio did a pretty good job.

  • Great episode, still buzzed after playing it. I think I'll wait a while until i review it properly, but there were moments in the game that really were touching and drove home the essence of the story -the friendship of Marty and Doc. The final moment of FCB was genuinely sad and the scene leading on with Young Emmett Was funny and just well executed.

    Edna's character throughout, I knew she was (bat$#!+ ;)) crazy, but bravo Telltale for making me sympathize with her in spite of her being the main antagonist.

    I was fortunate not to have encountered the game-stopping bugs that others did. I did have a weird one with the cactus and the hat, but luckily it fixed after a few clicks.

    It was a joy to hear Michael J Fox's voice acting again, especially in the closing scene. It'd be cool if there is to be a second series both AJ and MJ get to work together doing Marty's voice.

    My disappointments I guess are that we didn't get to see normal 1986 Jennifer at the end. And It would have been cool to see Clara and the Kids. Also my mind had been overthinking so much in the story I kind of thought there'd be an enormous final twist behind stuff that really had already been explained (The Shoe, Visiting Marty and Jennifer and such).

    As far as the animation, I personally didn't find too many problems with it. The lip-syncing, while its never been perfect by any means throughout the series, I find its worse depending on your graphics settings. And I thought the facial animations and expressions of Doc and Edna in particular were very well done.

    As a game it definitely has its flaws (all have which have been exhaustively brought up on the forums), but overall it's been one of the very few game's that has tried to capture the essence of a franchise so many of us love and miss. The voice work, character development and story alone makes it a cut above most of the soulless movie-based-games out there.

    If there is to be a second series, there needs to be much more involved gameplay overall, as an adventure game bttf works because you become part of the character interaction and see the effects play out in the story.
    The problem lies with creating meaningful puzzles that fit well within the bttf world, since its entirely different to the world Sam and Max - where things are that bonkers you can solve a puzzle by using parafine based slush puppie to heat glen millers kettle to inspire him for his latest hit and not have it tarnish the story.

  • Pretty good finale. Lots of emotional moments, and the ending was hilarious. The puzzles were OK. Not as good as Episode 4's, but still better than the hand-holding the first three episodes were. (What was the point to the algae cakes' return, by the way? Giving them to people didn't seem to get a response, although I didn't try everybody. And also the blacksmith sign.) Jogging Edna's memory and the whole saloon puzzle were pretty clever. The environments were great. Loved the Expo, wished there was more of it. (I'm a sucker for all that "future that never was" stuff.)

    My only real complaint is that it didn't really feel like a finale. Telltale always sets up the last episode to be something epic. All three Sam and Max finales, Rise of the Pirate God...hell, even 8-Bit Is Enough did it to some extent. While Telltale was definitely going for that this time...I don't know, I just didn't feel it for some reason.

    And now for my thoughts on the series as a whole. Brace yourself for text.

    WHAT I LIKED:
    It Feels Like Back to the Future: If I had to name Telltale's greatest strength as a developer, I'd probably say that, for a company that deals almost exclusively in licensed games, they always make an effort to treat those licenses with respect. There was a time when "Back to the Future video game" meant running around throwing bowling balls and avoiding hula hoop girls. Telltale had a difficult task, following up on the closure-providing ending of the third movie, but they came up with a plot that would be worthy of a fourth BttF film. (Having Bob Gale on board definitely helped.)

    At the same time, though, there is such a thing as being too faithful. Many times an adaptation/continuation of a franchise is so afraid of deviating from the source that they just throw as much fanservice as they can. This is better than ignoring your source completely, but not by much. I was afraid Telltale would go this route, but fortunately they managed to make things different while still keeping them the same. Marty causes a lot of trouble just by trying to do the right thing. There's actual tension between Doc and Marty, when previously they got along so well it seemed like they were two halves of a single character. And the villain wasn't a Tannen! These are all very different elements from what BttF is known for, and yet it still made sense as part of the series. So I applaud Telltale for that. The whole thing was well-written all around.

    The Voice Acting: AJ Locascio as Marty was incredible, plain and simple. (Also, I know he lurks these forums, so on the off-chance you're reading this, AJ, I want to say best of luck with the rest of your voice acting career.) Christopher Lloyd as Doc goes without saying. It's good to know he's still as animated as ever (but of course Judge Doom is animated :p) after all these years. James Arnold Taylor as Young Emmett also deserves some credit for somehow managing a voice that sounds like a teenager yet still being recognizably Doc. And it was great having Claudia Wells as Jennifer, as well as Michael J. Fox's short but sweet cameo. George and Kid Biffyond were a little...eh, but I think they grew into the roles as the episodes progressed. All in all, the voice actors did a good job filling the void the movie's cast (mostly) left behind.

    The Music: Jared Emerson-Johnson is a genius. Plain and simple. I'd even go as far as saying Telltale's Sam and Max episodes have some of the best soundtracks in modern gaming. It's amazing how many of the game's songs feel like score from the movies when they're really original pieces. (I particularly liked the main BttF theme redone as a soft, melancholy song.) The Marquis DeSinge did good.

    The Hint System: Wait, wait, hear me out. Sure, with how easy the game was the hint system was mostly unnecessary, but it was still well done. Think about Telltale's previous hint system (although maybe I shouldn't say "previous" since BttF used it along with the new system). If you were stuck on a puzzle, you had to wait around and do nothing for who-knows-how-long until one of the characters decides to drop a piece of extremely vague dialogue that may not even be useful for you. Sure, you could turn the hint level to high so you can hear it sooner, but then the characters just won't shut up. But a menu with a series of InvisiClues-style hints (so the solution isn't spoiled right away, unless you want it to be) that you can bring up anytime? That's much better. Hopefully Telltale scraps the dialogue-based hint system entirely for the new one.

    Edna: Well, no, I didn't like Edna. I guess what I mean is that she made for a good villain. On one hand, she's a sadistic pyromaniac with dreams of becoming a dictator, yet at the same time she's so convinced she's doing the right thing. Good villains need depth, and while Biff Tannen will always be one of my favorite movie villains, he definitely didn't have the depth Telltale needed for the story they wanted. So all in all, I thought Edna made for a good antagonist.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
    So Very, Very Easy: All right, people have been complaining about this since December. I'm sure everyone (me included, to an extent) is sick of hearing this, especially the guys at Telltale, but the fact that it's brought up so much just proves how serious a flaw this is. I get that the BttF license was going to bring in new players, people who have never heard of a point-and-click adventure before, much less played one. I knew from the start it would be necessary to tone things down, but I didn't think it would be to this extent. I could bitch about the lack of difficulty itself, but instead I'll just say how Back to the Future makes me a little concerned for Telltale's...well, future.

    Telltale's growing as a company, and wants to grow further. That's only fair. As a struggling writer myself, I know that just about any creative person wants their work exposed to as many people as possible. I can't fault them for that. However, there comes a point where in order to make your work popular, you have to creatively compromise it to the point that it isn't truly your work.

    The adventure genre was practically dead before Telltale came around, and even now they're the only reason it's not dead. I love adventure games to death, but there's a reason they went away. The gaming industry is constantly changing, and they just stopped being profitable. The best adventure game ever wouldn't sell a quarter as much as a mediocre first-person shooter. As Telltale grows further, they may have to make some difficult choices, and it's possible they already made it. Jurassic Park is a Heavy Rain clone. We don't know what The Walking Dead is, but it's not a point-and-click. I could be wrong (and I hope I am), but Telltale's days of making adventure games might be numbered. :(

    Lack of Exploration: Despite all the complaints about it, the easiness of BttF's puzzles was not the biggest problem. I'd have easily overlooked it if it weren't for this flaw. Where does the appeal of adventure games come from? Is it the writing and humor? The intellectual challenge you get out of puzzles? Those are big factors, but not the biggest. There are plenty of non-adventure games you can get those from (Portal, for example). No, the appeal of adventure games is in exploration. Trial and error. Examining every item, using everything in your inventory on whatever you can find. Seeing what works and what doesn't. Doing something you know won't work just for the response. During the 80s and 90s, adventure games gave us an interactive world no other genre could hope to provide. It's a different story today, of course, but even now no other game does exploration with quite the same charm adventure games do.

    Remember the office in the first two Sam and Max seasons? It was cluttered with so much crap, each of it with a funny response attached. Most of the stuff in the room was pointless (in fact, in quite a few episodes the whole room was pointless), but it was fun. Or all the memorabilia on Stinky's wall in Season 2? I wasted so much time playing 201 just listening to every one of Stinky's bullshit stories. This stuff adds to the atmosphere, makes the setting feel deeper, and gives the game some length so you're not just beating it as soon as possible.

    There's very little exploration you can do in BttF, and what little there is seems to just be there to justify a trophy in the PS3 version. Most areas have very few clickable items. Using an inventory item when you're not supposed to will almost always get you a generic error response, even when it wouldn't make sense. (For example, using the newspaper on anything in Episode 3 will make Marty say "If I'm going to do anything with this, I'm going to recycle it!"...even if you use it on the recycling bins. And Mr. Philpott didn't care when I showed him the algae cake I stole from him in the finale.) Worst of all, the lack of exploration actually makes the easy puzzles easier, because you know that if Telltale made the effort to make an item clickable, there's an 80-100% chance it's part of a puzzle, depending on the size of the area. If Telltale threw in a few red herrings, some stuff that you think would be helpful but isn't, that alone would improve the game by a huge amount.

    Uneventful Night at the Inventory: Marty's inventory was almost completely superfluous. Most puzzles don't even involve your inventory, and the few that do are pretty...basic, I guess is the word. You use something, then lose it, having quickly fulfilled its purpose. Just about everything in your inventory is a one-use item. Or a zero-use item, as the case may be. I still don't understand the purpose of the picture of George McFly. I thought it'd be like the wedding ring in Tales of Monkey Island, where it sits in your inventory being useless for most of the series then comes into play at the very end. But no. It spends Episode 1 being useless, is used for a puzzle in Episode 2, then goes back to being useless for the rest of the series. Why did we still need to hold onto it after the one time we actually needed it? Anyway, more inventory puzzles would've been nice.

    I Love Misleading Dialogue Options!: I hate misleading dialogue options. There was this thing in Tales where you'd get your choice of multiple dialogue options, then no matter what you picked Guybrush would say something completely different. Marty does the same thing here. I'm not sure why Telltale does this. Is it supposed to be funny? Is it supposed to give an element of gameplay in what would otherwise be a lengthy conversation? Is it supposed to remind us the player character is their own person and not just a pawn for our actions? Whatever it is, it's more annoying than anything else. Just a minor nitpick.

    OVERALL:

    Back to the Future is a very...polarizing game. The lack of interactivity is a huge, huge flaw, yet the writing, the atmosphere, the acting was all just so well done that I'm somehow able to forgive it. I'm not going to call it one of Telltale's best, and it definitely has me afraid about Telltale's other projects, but at the end, I can say it was an enjoyable experience.

  • @dmcman said:

    The only real messy part is how Doc wound up with ANOTHER DeLorean. It can't be the duplicate, as Edna had it and pretty much destroyed it when she was stuck in the 1800's. So that leaves Doc creating a second DeLorean aside from already having the duplicate, while he was in 1986 (which is reasonable), or some strange explanation for Doc having found another duplicate in time.

    Couldn't he just build another one? It's not like there's anything getting in his way, not even plutonium. (He still has a time train, so Mr. Fusion shouldn't be hard to come by)

  • I'm still playing through these episodes and trying to figure out how best to convey how this game essentially veered into every single thing it could have possibly done wrong, with gusto.

  • So, the Doc that came back to 1931 in Episode 5 is technically not the Doc that we got to interact with in the first two episodes? It's really messy.

    Because Episode-1/2-Doc went to 1931 to search for information about Sylvia and Episode-5-Doc went there to chase Edna with Marty and got the information about Sylvia coincidentally more or less.

    The only explanation I got is that the time stream caught up at some point during Episode 5 in 1931 making the Episode-1/2-Doc irrelevant but NOT subsequently destroying him.

  • About the caption after end credits, it was communicated in E3 how TelltaleGame had enjoyed this franchise and thatthey would be happy to give us more BTTF :). So, yes, definitely they are open to a continuation.

    http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/117/1174566p1.html

    That doesn't mean we will have it for sure or inmediately, though.

  • LOVED that ending.

    Actually, that ending seemed like something they'd do in a parody of "Back of the Future," but if you guys could actually make a sensible story out of what I just saw in the last two minutes before credits, I'd be behind you 100%.

    The rest of the game was really fun and very well done. The closing chase, especially.

    My chief complaint is that these last three episodes all feel mismanaged in terms of pacing. Where episode 4 begins is where episode 3 should have ended, and where episode 5 begins is where episode 4 should have ended. I sometimes like cliffhangers, but I much more enjoy the feeling of a complete plot per episode. "Citizen Brown" should have been all 1986, "Double Visions" should have been all 1931 Expo, and "OUTATIME" should have been all chase (and include a trip into the future as the synopsis had been promising for months.)

    My other complaint is difficulty blah blah blah linearity blah blah blah - just go back to the old formula already. Opening puzzle, three puzzles, mid-game puzzle, three puzzles, ending puzzle. It was formulaic but it felt so much more rewarding. Want it back now.

    Third complaint: do serious beta-testing next time. The fact that doing the "Dirt on Edna" puzzle first can break the game in the glass house was ridiculous. Especially since Edna's puzzle can be easily solved first.

    End of complaints:

    You people did an amazing job of recapturing the magic of "Back to the Future." All the twists, turns, and awkward reveals are there, and you even eventually escaped the fan-service long enough to bring some new elements into the franchise.

    The music was exceptionally good this time around. Something about it felt familiar, yet new. Maybe it was new music, or maybe it was just put into a new context. Either way, I felt something listening to it.

    The voice acting was fantastic as usual. Michael J Fox was an awesome addition to the episode. Somehow after waiting two months, I found myself particularly attached to these characters. Within the first couple minutes, I was already excited to see what Artie was up to this time (he was sitting behind a table. Good for him!)

    Beautiful work on the cinematics. The composition, the placement, the direction - I can see where all the real work went into.

    If I could request anything for a later "Back to the Future" game that I was really hoping for from Telltale, it's this: I want to use time travel to solve puzzles. Just like in "Day of the Tentacle" or "ChronoTrigger," give me multiple time periods that I can jump back and forth to so I can play with the space-time continuum. Hopefully this will become more feasible in the second season.

  • Just finished it, I do have a question or two.

    At some point, I expected Einstein to be sent to the time of episode 1 to set the chain of events in motion to start the whole story, along with Edna's shoe. Would this not cause a paradox if they didn't complete the loop and send Einstein to this time?

    When Young Emmitt was successful with his project at the expo and the real doc appeared...where did the other time machine come from that doc showed up in? From when he disappeared at the end of episode 3? That can't be correct as Marty was driving and on course for 1986.

    Some of this wasn't explained very well. Either that or my head hasn't stopped spinning from the cliffhanger ending.

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