Monday, April 4, 2011

Get Tannen Review

Get Tannen is the second episode in Telltale's Back to the Future: The Game, an episodic adventure game series that chronicles the adventures of Marty and Doc after the Back to the Future movies.  This episode takes place immediately where the last episode left off, and manages to capture the charm of the first episode while having a bigger story and beefier gameplay.

The art style is really starting to grow on me by this point.  The style seemed to fit the game in the first episode, but here it just shines.  We finally get to see the underbelly of the prohibition era Hill Valley, and with that comes some interesting new locations and new characters.  The models of the new characters are great, and their personalities would be right at home in one of the movies. I really enjoyed the character of Trixie Trotter, and it was great to see Jennifer's relatives visited in a Back to the Future story for once. 

The voices are all great once again.  The new voices fit their characters and don't feel forced, and Marty and Doc sound great as usual.  We get to see Biff as an antagonist in this game, and it feels a bit jarring at first that he still sounds like wimpy Biff.  The feeling was short lived for me however, as I realized that this is an alternate Biff from the ones we've seen, and his character changes make sense for him to be a bit of a wimp.

As for the music, the main Back to the Future score is still used here as it was in the first game, and once again it is used remarkably well.  Beyond that, Back to the Future always has music playing from the era that Marty finds himself in, and this game doesn't disappoint there.  Trixie Trotter sings various musical numbers when she's on stage, and I enjoyed each one of them.

The puzzles are still easier than usual, but they are improving.  I particularly enjoyed one puzzle that was an homage to a puzzle in Monkey Island 2, and required thought rather than just the usual object clicking.  The one thing that I didn't like in this episode was that some of the puzzles seem very repetitive by now, which was a trait that also kept Doctor Who: The Adventure games from being as good as they could have been. The Einstein sniffing puzzle were fun the first time, but they were brought back several times in this episode, and they just feel overused now.  This game also suffers from the same animation and script glitches that the first episode had.  I liked the idea of the characters calling you by the name you chose in the first episode, but since I played through the first episode twice and chose a different name the second time, the characters will alternate between those two names in this episode rather than staying consistent.  These glitches didn't keep me from enjoying the game, but they were definitely a minor hindrance.

Get Tannen keeps the tradition of great storytelling and excellent music and voice work that Telltale is known for.  Unfortunately, the game suffers from some repetitive puzzles and a few annoying glitches.  They aren't bad enough to stop anyone from enjoying the game, because the excellent story, voiceovers, and music make up for it.  Telltale's games have a tendency to improve from the third episode onward, so hopefully in the next episode the puzzles and presentation will match the bar set by the story and sound teams.

Update: 12/1/15: Since I wrote this review, a remaster called the 30th Anniversary Edition has been released. The improved textures aren't really that noticeable, however they also managed to get Tom Wilson to reprise his role as Biff. The authenticity of having Tom voice Biff works really well especially in the alternate reality where we get to hear the tough Biff.  The danger of the scene really works a lot better when you have the angry tones that Tom Wilson does so well.  If you have yet to play the game, pick up the remastered version if you can. If you've already played it, it's not really worth picking up again, unless you're a big Back to the Future fan.

Final Verdict:

3 out of 5

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