Back to the Future: The Game – “OUTATIME” (Episode Five)
Finally, we reach the episode where all is explained…or at least…concluded. We still have a lot of unanswered questions that need resolved and I for one, waited long enough to know how it all turned out. After I’m done with this episode, I’ll briefly review the game as a whole. Also, please be advised that this article is VERY SPOILER HEAVY…do not continue if you want to experience this game’s mystery for yourself.
If you haven’t read the previous episode’s review yet, please do so here:
At the end of the previous episode, Marty convinces young Emmett to continue in the science expo, having been heartbroken about Edna’s “decision” to leave him. Citizen Brown and Edna end up conspiring together, unhappy with the way things were turning out.
We’re treated right away to a confrontation between Marty and Citizen Brown, which occurs when young Emmett asks Marty to deliver an important part he needed for his experiment at the expo. Alternate Doc tells Marty that Edna won’t have the ability to turn Hill Valley into a police state if young Emmett never gets involved with science. It becomes obvious that alternate Doc intends to steer young Emmett away from his experiment and let Edna seduce him again. Without science, alternate Doc claims, Edna will have no way to create the horrors she did. Marty naturally disagrees and a stalemate occurs.
After entering the expo to deliver the part, we find that Edna has informed Officer Parker that “Marty” isn’t who he claims and that he is an anarchist. Parker thinks that Edna has a screw loose, but he needs dirt on Edna or else he’d be forced to follow her wishes. The player is then given free rein to explore the expo with the goal of both finding young Emmett and getting dirt on Edna.
Dealing with Edna turned out to be very satisfying. It’s revealed that Edna is the speakeasy arsonist and Marty manages to get her confession on tape…one problem down. The search for young Emmett leads Marty into a house of glass exhibit, which turns out to be a sliding door puzzle. This was probably the only puzzle that I was truly stuck on for a while. We see alternate Doc knock out young Emmett and carry him off, which was disheartening to see. After all of this time, the older alternate Doc and the young Emmett Brown managed to keep away from each other. I guess the universe shattering paradox that the original Doc was always talking about was taking the day off.
After rescuing young Emmett, we are treated to finally seeing the face of his father who storms in to stop the experiment. We finally get to see (and help) young Emmett truly confront his father…something I was both surprised and happy to see. After successfully getting them to talk, the experiment begins. While young Emmett is busy flying the car around the expo, Marty catches a glimpse of Edna and alternate Doc arguing outside. She steals the DeLorean and escapes.
Marty runs outside to confront alternate Doc, who is disappearing from existence, most likely due to Marty’s efforts with young Emmett. Edna comes back and nearly runs Marty over, but a last-minute push from alternate Doc saves his life…though at a cost. We’re treated to a very sad scene of alternate Doc dying while fading out of existence. We hear a loud crash inside the expo and young Emmett comes outside, just as alternate Doc disappears for good.
I was very saddened to see alternate Doc die off, but I wasn’t surprised. If Marty had already or was about to restore the timeline, the writers could have done anything they had wanted to the alternate Doc character as he would have been erased anyway. Still, this was a very long cut scene, one that I couldn’t keep my eyes unglued from.
Young Emmett and Marty talk for a while, and Marty gives him a piece of the newspaper from the future but tells him not to read it until young Emmett had received the key to the city. It was Marty’s hope that he’d be able to send a message into the future in this manner. In theory, once young Emmett began his work into science, he’d eventually build another time machine (in the distant future) and be able to retrieve Marty. Young Emmett walks away and just at that moment, the older version of Doc shows up in the DeLorean.
I was surprised by how the writers handled this whole thing. What the player may or may not realize is that the older Doc in front of Marty is NOT the original Doc we went back in time to save. This was an alternate, but closer to the original Doc. I silently wondered if we’d ever get our old Doc back, or if the story would resolve itself with a new alternate Doc. It would be almost impossible to at this point, having affected so many things…though I suspect that Marty, if he wanted to, could have somehow prevented Doc from going back to 1931 in the first place before the events of episode one.
Anyway, I digress. William McFly makes an appearance, claiming that Artie (his son) shouldn’t be involved with someone like Trixie. Just as Marty was about to address the “who really is grandma” issue, Officer Parker shows up and informs them that Edna’s car made some funny noise and disappeared. Shortly after, Hill Valley disappears. William McFly pulls up in his truck and acts as though they had never met, but gives them directions to Edna’s place. They find out from William that Edna is an old woman, so it’s clear that she traveled to the past, changed history, and led a full (yet unfulfilling) life.
The player will be put through a series of puzzles designed to surface Edna’s repressed memories…I found them to be a bit of a pain and had to do a lot of trial and error to find the correct answers. I was more interested in the story than these blasted pointless puzzles. We finally learn that she burned down Tannen’s saloon in 1876, in which the fire ended up burning down the whole town. William makes a last-minute appearance to save the two, just as Edna was about to blow them away with a rifle.
In 1876, Marty and Doc stop Edna from burning down the saloon, but not before she is able to get away in her DeLorean. The final puzzle involves Marty maneuvering around her DeLorean using a hoverboard, trying to install emitters on three spots on her DeLorean so that Doc can control it from the skies above. After he is successful, they jump forward to 1931, Edna is arrested and placed in the same cell as Kid Tannen, and all seems well. We also find out that Trixie is really Sylvia, so as far as Marty’s future is concerned, he’s safe.
When Marty and Doc get to 1986, they discover that Edna and Kid Tannen are married, making Biff Edna’s stepson. The last scene was a little odd and very difficult to follow. Three different DeLoreans show up and three different Martys all claim that they need help to restore the future. Whether this is a hint at a future game or just comedic storytelling, I’m not sure…though I haven’t heard of any more games in the works.
Episode five was not what I was expecting and I was a little disappointed in how it was all resolved. I wasn’t expecting the writers to create an alternate future, one that Marty wasn’t used to. To be fair, they did it in the first movie. I was fully expecting the original Doc to be saved somehow instead of an alternate that closely resembled him. Still, all in all, it was a good solid episode that resolved much.
Now, how would I rate the game as a whole, now that we’ve covered all five episodes?
Each episode took about two to three hours without hints, making the overall experience last about ten to fifteen hours. In the grand scheme of things, that is a fair amount of gameplay for the cheaper than average price tag of today’s games. While there is plenty of gameplay, however, its replayability value is not ideal…though that can’t be helped when you play a game that has a linear storyline. I can see someone replaying the game to either catch up on small details they missed as far as plot explanation or maybe once a year, just to refresh their memory.
In terms of understanding the plot, the timeline gets more and more complex as the game goes on. I was doing a lot of, “wait, wait…” a lot in episodes four and five. The story does make sense in the grand scheme of things, but it will confuse those who haven’t “gotten it” yet. The movies themselves had clear and simple goals whereas the game jumps around from mini-plot to mini-plot…I enjoyed it but others might be frustrated by trying to remember it all.
The dialogue choices were one-sided at times, even when presented with numerous options. No matter what option I picked at times, Marty would say the same thing because the plot demanded it. Not a big gripe, but why waste my time picking dialogue choices at all when it won’t matter?
All in all, I do recommend the game for the story that it tells. It is one big epic adventure that I enjoyed seeing to its end, and I must admit that it left me wanting more. I sincerely hope that Telltale can create more Back to the Future games and ignite the same excitement I originally had when discovering and playing this game. If you’re a Back to the Future fan, I recommend that you pick it up today. As always, check your PC specs and the game requirements before purchasing.
Final Verdict: 9/10