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Back to the Future: Episode 3 review

Our Verdict

Strong concept is hamstrung by unimaginative and dull adventure design.

In this episode of the ongoing Back to the Future adventure game, Marty crashes into a world ruled by a Big Brother version of Doc Brown. It's sterile, it's empty, and has no sense of fun. So is Hill Valley under Doc. Sigh. What went wrong this time, Telltale?

Seems legit

It should have been the highlight of the series: a brilliant story concept, and the episode after the series somewhat found its feet last month. Instead, it's adventure design at its most tedious and uninspired, from the structure to the storytelling.

“You'd better not [KISS IN PUBLIC], [MAKE FRIENDS WITH A DOG] and [BE CAUGHT WITH CONTRABAND]!” a policeman practically warns at the start. “Otherwise I'll have to take you straight to Citizen Brown, which is what you want! Would you like me to write that down so you don't forget?”

There are two moments to enjoy: a visual gag I won't spoil, and the revelation that even ultimate power isn't enough to stop Doc being... well... Doc. Everything else falls flat.

...He could solve stupid puzzles just like ringin' a bell...

Repainting Courthouse Square white does nothing to give it an oppressive vibe, while the near total lack of narrative makes for padding, padding and more padding. The worst moment is a guitar duel between Marty and alternate- Jennifer's current boyfriend Leech, which involves all kinds of pointless cheating and jumping around on scenery, but no actual music. Why? Marty can play! It's the only puzzle I've ever seen where I longed for a simple QTE instead.

Let's hope that next month, this timeline gets erased from memory in more ways than one.

The Verdict


Back to the Future: Episode 3

Strong concept is hamstrung by unimaginative and dull adventure design.