Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Back to the Future

Review: Back to the Future (PSN)
Mediocre Scott!
Written by Philip

The only reason I tolerate movie based games based off films from the 80's is because they're usually better than the movie tie-ins released for new flicks. The Ghostbusters game a few years back actually wasn't all that bad and created an excuse for you to play through classic Slimer moments. And even more remarkable is that these games aren't accompanying some marketing ploy about the 30th anniversary Blu-ray set. Nope they just seem to spawn from some video game producer catching the movie on a Saturday afternoon on TBS or AMC and thinking, "Huh, I bet I could make that into a B grade video game with a limited audience." And thus it is with Back to the Future: The Game on PSN.
The gameplay is a classic point and click adventure affair. It works for the style they were going for, but the controls are clunky and the fixed camera angles are terrible. You'd think that a short episode of a game would run smooth and the only 2 buttons you use in an entire game would work. Right? Wrong. Delays, awkward character movement and often unresponsive controls really hurt what otherwise could be a fun shoutout game to a beloved franchise. There's no excuse to have such messed up mechanics when Full Throttle (one of my favorite games of all time) had it nailed down and executed perfectly back in 1995. Something as simple as selecting the right item is made annoyingly hard because with the left stick your character is slightly facing 7 different things. A simple inclusion of the D-pad would have fixed all of that.

Try and navigate towards town hall, I dare you.
The graphics and visuals aren't too bad, I expected a bit more, or at least smoother edges and animation, but they'll do for a downloadable game (by the way if I ever have to say 'for a downloadable game' in a review I automatically take 2 full points off the score). For any game to qualify as "good" or better it needs to either look great, be fun, or both. And Back to the Future looks half decent and isn't all that fun.

The audio for the game is great. The music from all three movies is used and the writing is done very well so that it feels like these five short stories are meant to be included in the official BttF canon. The voice acting is fun too. Using some of the original cast as voices is what keeps this authentic, including a cameo from Michael J Fox himself in the last chapter. Nostalgia is what keeps this game from being completely irrelevant.

Ahh, memories.
The game can be a fun romp for fans of the movies, but anyone else will find it hard to make it through all five episodes unless you're trophy hunting for the easy golds. This was free to Playstation Plus users not too long ago, so if you can find it for free or cheap give it a go. If not, don't worry. You're not missing much.

6.1 But only because I love Michael J Fox
That's the power of love! (Dun dun dun Dun dun dun DUUN DUN Do DUN DUN!)
I couldn't resist.

Follow Philip on Twitter @LinksALefty


  1. I played it for like 20 minutes and the controls just bugged me too much. I'm a huge Back to the Future fan and would have liked to see this play out much better. Christopher Lloyd returning as Doc Brown is amazing though.

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