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Back to the Future: The Game: Episode 5: OUTATIME
Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:
He's seen the past and traveled to a parallel timeline. He's matched wits with Tannens at every turn and even rebelled against an alternate version of his closest friend. Now Marty has to find a way to fix everything once and for all.

OUTATIME is, like past episodes, a well-written and great sounding adventure. The voice cast, which adds Michael J. Fox in a surprise cameo appearance, is fantastic. In past games, there were usually one or two vocal hiccups, but everything has been ironed out. Music is also spot-on, as are all of the familiar time travel related sounds.

Visuals are equally good. Some characters are still out of proportion, but I've come to accept that by now. There are, however, a couple of noticeable animation issues. The voicework may be fantastic, but I ran across a couple of instances of out of sync lip movements.

Back to the Future: The Game: Episode 5: OUTATIME is a direct continuation of Episode 4's plot. Marty is still in the 1930's trying to help a young Emmett enter the Hill Valley science expo, sparking the young scientist's career. However, forces are conspiring to make sure that doesn't happen. Edna Strickland is still trying to derail Emmett's "silly" experiment and she has an unlikely ally in Citizen Brown, who is convinced science is the reason things went wrong in his timeline, not Edna's influence.

OUTATIME follows the same gameplay style as previous installments. There are no major surprises waiting for players, though, by now, you're either invested or not. If you didn't like previous installments, your feelings won't suddenly change. At the same time, if you are a fan, the final act many leave a bad taste in your mouth. OUTATIME suffers from the same inconsistency as previous episodes. Story elements jumble between great and goofy. There's a definite forward momentum, though it can't help getting lost in meaningless subplots.

Even puzzles seem a bit out of sorts. OUTATIME presents a nice offering of puzzles from previous games. Thankfully, there aren't nearly as many fetch quests. Instead, there are a few more sequencing puzzles, though these are really hit-and-miss. One is too long and another is outright forced in execution.

With the exception of a puzzle towards the end of the game, none are particularly hard. I did find myself using the in-game help system more than in previous episodes, though most of the time, it was to get a general sense of direction. Some puzzles are a little too clunky and convoluted for their own good. One of the more interesting puzzles in the game takes a little too long to play out. It is a neat idea, but by the time I finished all the steps, my attention was elsewhere.

As in the past, I ended up spending a lot of time chasing down trophies for added challenge. Hitting 100% is slightly harder, especially since some are based on an "artificial" in-game timer.

Game Mechanics:
By now, you're either used to Back to the Future: The Game: Episode 5: OUTATIME's control quirks or not. As with the rest of the game, there are no major improvements, though there weren't many left to work out. The camera system, which was always a problem, has finally been completely worked out. There are no awkward perspective jumps and it is easy to figure out where you're supposed to go.

If you're not using the node navigation system by now, now is the time to start. While there are no major camera issues, some objects are too close to others. You can spend time positioning Marty, though it is much quicker to cycle through the nodes. There are a few sections where it is almost mandatory, such as another "Ring-around-the-DeLorean" sequence.

Back to the Future: The Game: Episode 5: OUTATIME is a fun ride if you've enjoyed the series thus far. It's not the spectacular ending I was hoping for, but it wraps up the story in a satisfying way.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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