|System: PC, PS3|
|Dev: Telltale Games|
|Pub: Telltale Games|
|Release: April 29, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Robert VerBruggen
Fans waited two decades in between the Back to the Future Part III and the first installment of Telltale's Back to the Future: The Game, so it's almost disappointing to think that with Friday's release of the fourth episode of the latter, "Double Visions," we're almost done with this new chapter in the series. There's only one episode remaining, after which the series will go dark again.
If you've been playing the game this far, you'll know that Episode 3 did not end well. Marty managed to talk to Doc—or rather, to Citizen Brown, the leader of a Hill Valley that he's turned into an Orwellian dystopia at the urging of his wife, Edna Strickland. Marty managed to convince Citizen Brown not only that he'd be better off without his crazier, more Puritanical half, but also that if he can fix the DeLorean, he can set things right. Problem is, Edna captured Marty and Citizen Brown and is trying to brainwash them.
It doesn't take long for Marty to break out of his cell and release Doc. And it takes no time at all for Doc to fix the DeLorean, because once he figures it out, he travels back in time to save Marty the wait. But then comes the hard part: Doc and Marty have to travel back to 1931 (yes, 1931 . . . again . . . ) to stop Doc's marriage to the well-meaning but eventually evil Edna. Complicating matters is the fact that the DeLorean's time circuits are slightly off. Doc and Marty try to get Young Doc to see the movie Frankenstein rather than running off with Edna, but they end up arriving a few months late. It's the time of the Hill Valley Expo, where the true Doc is supposed to launch his career in science with a rocket car. Instead, Young Doc has invested his time in an invention that Edna finds more agreeable: A device that reads people's brain waves and (supposedly) reveals whether or not they're a decent citizen.
Story-wise, this episode has the same problem we saw in Episode 3: The basic plot points are fascinating (1984 meets A Clockwork Orange, with time travel!), but the puzzles the developers made from them are boring, and as a result most of the episode just kind of churns along. Rather than exploring Doc's mind and inventions in detail, you'll spend most of this several-hour campaign trying to convince Edna that Doc isn't right for her. The developers cover this up by offering an excuse—supposedly, Young Doc is so hard-headed that his mind can't be changed—but the bottom line is that while Edna is a great supporting character, no one wants to spend hours trying to change her mind about anything. Not to mention that the basic goals here, which are to destroy Doc's suit so he's less attractive, convince Edna that Doc is having an affair (a subplot that involves Trixie Trotter), and make Doc look like a bad citizen, aren't interesting in the slightest. Even the exception, a clever puzzle that involves manipulating Doc's new machine to diagnose him as a "Degenerate Criminal," is too long and slow for its own good.