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Back to the Future The Game: Episode 4: Double Visions
Score: 78%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:
Back to the Future The Game: Episode 4: Double Visions is one of my first real experiences playing through an episodic game. I've done season packs before, but I've never had to look at each episode as its own entity - which was an interesting process, especially with Back to the Future. The series started out slow, but peaked with Citizen Brown. Unfortunately, Double Visions takes a backslide; it is an okay experience, though it is hard to shake the feeling it is just a holding cell leading to the finale.

Presentation has been a consistent force rolling through the entire season. The visuals are great. Even though they still have a few issues with the proportions (this time, it was with Cueball), I enjoyed what I saw. I was really impressed with the final part segment, which is the closest an in-game sequence has come to replicating the movie's presentation. It's a really cool sequence. The dialogue is great and there's a noticeable sense of weight to the situation. It was one of the first times in four episodes where I chose my words carefully.

Just to recap: After rescuing his grandfather, Marty accidently creates a timeline where Doc and Edna Strickland end up dating. Edna's influence on Doc leads to the creation of an Orwellian version of Hill Valley in 1986. Marty is able to convince Citizen Brown (Doc) that this isn't the "right" future, leading the duo to attempt to rebuild the DeLorean and "fix" the timeline.

Back to the Future The Game: Episode 4: Double Visions starts in 1986, with Marty and Doc both held captive at Edna Strickland's "Citizen Plus" reprogramming facility. After escaping, the two time travelers decide to return to 1931 and stop Doc from going out with Edna. There's a problem; the time circuits in the rebuilt DeLorean are on the fritz. Rather than landing before Doc and Edna start dating, they end up months into the relationship. Doc's given up on developing his flying car, instead focusing on Edna's social mind-mapping technology - the process that eventually leads to Citizen Brown.

As a story, Double Visions is rough. It's the second-to-last episode and at times, it feels like the story is just there to shift the pieces into place and set up the finale. Double Visions gets a bump towards the end of the story because it finally dares to ask a question dogging every time-traveling movie ever. Just because you can change things, should you? And, more importantly, how do you determine which timeline is the "correct" one? It's an interesting idea, though it's really just a setup for the next episode. It's a great hook, but a bit of a tease.

I had trouble with two puzzles. The first happens early in the game, and was only complicated due to a lack of clues. Although I used the in-game hint system in Citizen Brown, it was only to get a general direction. Here, I had to use all three hints. I probably would have stumbled upon the problem by randomly clicking on things, but it was a weird solution. The other involved getting a sequence right, which I'll discuss later.

Still, the rest of the puzzles are flat. I ended up chasing down Trophies just to squeeze a little more challenge out of the game. All four games offer neat out-of-the-way challenges, though I thought the non-story related ones here were some of the best and more fun to chase down.

Game Mechanics:
There's little to say about the mechanics. Back to the Future The Game: Episode 4: Double Visions uses the same system as previous episodes. The camera is finally fixed and not an issue and the node-navigation system has once again proven itself as the best control method, especially in Doc's crowded lab.

After the stellar Citizen Brown, Double Visions is a bit of a letdown as far as puzzle gameplay goes. Nearly all of the puzzles are of the "Get this object for this person" variety. There's a really neat sequencing puzzle using Doc's mind-mapper device, though most of the puzzles felt like I was everyone's errand boy. There's some connection within the story - so nothing feels out of place - though it's a major step down.

Doc's mind-mapper is one of the best sequences in the game yet and resembles the "word hint sequence" puzzle from Doc's lab in the first episode, which I liked. Without going into spoiler-y details, you have to use objects in the environment to affect a test. It's cool, especially if you decide to go for the related Trophy. I really wish there were more puzzles like this rather than the fetch quests.

Double Visions is an interesting episode, though only for how it foreshadows what's coming in the next episode. This is the first episode where I really wanted to jump into the next episode based on the epilogue. The actual gameplay, however, is a big letdown and feels a bit like filler material.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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