Episode 5 – Outatime is a wonderful end to a phenomenal series!

Episodic gaming is a pretty new phenomenon. It’s tough to judge one episode over another. It’s like looking at a movie and judging it only by any given 20-minute segment. With the release of Back to the Future Episode 5: Outatime!, we’re finally able to give the entire season the perspective it needs, and heartily deserves.

By this point, talking about the story would be taking away the entire experience of this final episode. Suffice to say, all the time travelling and alterations finally come to a head for Marty McFly and Doc Brown (the real one). Chasing Edna Strickland across time to finally put right all that was wrong isn’t easy, and it all ends up being one heck of a ride!

Looking specifically at Back to the Future Episode 5, it’s the grand finale. As such, Telltale Games pulled out all the stops. The puzzles are plentiful, and just challenging enough without getting frustrating. The top-notch hint systems gives you as much or as little help as you wish. On top of all that, Back to the Future Episode 5 features some great set pieces, including a high-speed double Delorean chase, a standoff in an old saloon, and even some actual role-playing, where the solution of one particular puzzle is to just let things play out.

Certainly the stylized graphics and music (both from the films as well as original compositions based on the movie’s theme) have given the entire season a distinctive feel, and it’s definitely here in spades. But best of all, Back to the Future Episode 5 features the best voice acting of the series. All the lesser characters seem more animated than before. Christopher Lloyd finally gets to shine, delivering the lion’s share of dialog. But the greatest pleasure is hearing fabulous sound-alike A.J. Locascio act alongside Michael J. Fox. That’s right: Telltale was able to bring in the original Marty, and yes, there is some fabulous banter between the two (and more!) Martys. What’s wonderful, on top of hearing an older Michael J. Fox in an acting role, is you can hear just how darn good Locascio is as Marty.

The most important part of the entire season, though, is the importance of family and friends. By the time it’s all over, you realize that the sci-fi element isn’t what mattered. It was all about the relationship between Marty and Doc – just like the films, and just how it should be. Rather than revel in getting eyes-deep in science gobbledeegook, everything is subservient to showing how important Doc and Marty are to each other. Each of them is looking out for the other, and having great fun along the way. In fact, the reason why Doc got lost in the first place is downright endearing, nailing the vibe of the films just right. Playing Huey Lewis and the News during the ending credits is the icing on the cake.

In looking at the entire Back to the Future first season, the arc makes perfect sense. There are highs, and there are certainly lows. But, after playing Back to the Future Episode 5, it’s easy to see how amazing the games are as a whole. This was a huge undertaking for Telltale Games. Back to the Future is a pretty revered piece of pop culture history. It’s wonderful to see the respect, care and polish afforded to it by a group of highly talented artists. The support of the core cast, and some creative input from one of the creators, tells you everything you need to know. If you haven’t already, please pick up the entire season of Back to the Future. It will give you 12 to 15 hours of great point-and-click storytelling fun. It is one of the best storytelling game experiences you’ll have all year, guaranteed.