As with television shows, the second installments of episodic adventure games are the best indication of where the series is going. The first ones have so much novelty and things to explain, and once that’s gone you just have the game. Well, episode 2 of the Back to the Future series is here. How is it?
First of all, there’s absolutely no reason for people who haven’t played the first episode to play this one, so go to our review of the premiere if you want the basics of how the series works.
This second episode, Get Tannen!, has Marty escape from, then return to, Prohibition-era Hill Valley, trying to fix history after his earlier visit prevented the arrest of gangster Kid Tannen. This likely is the least exciting part of the season, as you mostly revisit places from the first episode. The first had some nostalgic moments (like Doc’s house and the mall parking lot). This one’s only nostalgic if you’re looking back to last month.
Stripped from the novelty of It’s About Time, it’s increasingly apparent that the series’ gameplay matches Sam & Max almost exactly. While the Monkey Island and Strong Bad series had some interesting, context-sensitive mechanics, the original characters in Back to the Future (like Edna Strickland and Kid’s mobsters) seem like generic characters we could see in any other game. various McFlys and Tannens are fun, and the young Doc has some charm, but it can’t help but feel a bit tedious at times. (It doesn’t help that Marty walks very, very slowly.)
Still, if you like Telltale games, it’s a solid few hours of entertainment, and you’ll want to experience this story to get to the final three episodes. It’s a below-average episode in a quality series.