Back to the Future Episode 3: Citizen Brown Review (Windows PC)

Posted by Jim Cook, Apr 04, 2011 07:28

With how the second episode turned out, the Back to the Future episodic adventures looked like they could be going in a bad direction. Thankfully, Citizen Brown addresses most of the problems and continues Marty McFly’s story in very good ways. As this episode’s trailer/preview suggested, Marty has returned to the 1980s Hill Valley... and discovered that it is now home to a tightly controlled surveilance society where every aspect of life is covered by some sort of law and infractions are eventually met with severe penalties. That is definitely not what Marty wanted, yet the Delorean is involved in a major crash upon his arrival so he can’t just go back in time to undo what has happened.

Back to the Future: Citizen BrownThus the player is tasked with guiding Marty through a ’cheerful dystopia’ and attempting to either set things right or find a way out of this point in the timeline. Seeing Hill Valley as a sterile town with no real sense of life to it is a bit creepy, and seeing how this environment has affected several people in Marty’s life is very interesting. Biff, Marty’s parents, and even Jennifer (who seems to be voiced by her original actress from the movies, Claudia Wells) are all changed in ways that should both surprise and intrigue BttF fans. This is good, since a great deal of your time will be spent watching the story unfold; puzzles take up perhaps a third of your play time.

Said puzzles are mostly a step up from the last episode, and while there are a few that are either far too easy or too confusing in design, many of them are enjoyable. They cover a wide variety, from the typical ’use X on Y for result Z’ to timing-based puzzles (with very forgiving windows to complete them in) and even a few requiring you to figure out the right sequence of actions to get an antagonist out of Marty’s way. It’s not perfect, but it is a significant step in the right direction and the developers have stopped repeating puzzle solutions from previous episodes.

The only other issues are fairly minor, mostly of the quality assurance variety such as a few cosmetic bugs, one or two missing sound effects, and things of that nature. They stand in contrast to a genuinely interesting plot, generally good voice acting, and enough exploration that it’s pretty easy to forgive these flaws. Unlike the 1931 Hill Valley, there is quite a bit to see this time around and looking around will yield a mix of some silly jokes alongside some very clever writing showing little historical details about various characters.

Reviewing adventure episodes is difficult since the story is the most important part of them, and one has to be very careful in avoiding major spoilers as a result. Yet it’s fair to say that Citizen Brown will last about three hours (slightly more if you explore everything you can), tells a very interesting story, and does a great job of setting up the next episode. If you were previously anxious and worried at where the series was going, this episode should put your fears at ease and make you eager to see what happens next! 

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Our Rating for Back to the Future Episode 3: Citizen Brown Review (Windows PC)
8.5 Overall
If the previous episode was a step in the wrong direction, this one more than makes up for it with a fascinating alternate timeline for the 1980s Hill Valley. Hopefully the remaining episodes will keep up this level of storytelling!

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0

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