Fans of the movies will enjoy this, but this is far from Telltale Games' best.
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
I have been looking forward to this game ever since it was announced. Being a fan of both Telltale Games and the Back to the Future trilogy (minus #3), I was very excited to see what we would get here. While I do think that a lot of the content is uninspired and/or blatantly copied from the movies, this is still a worthy dedication to one of the greatest trilogies of all time (no pun intended).
GAMEPLAY - Those familiar with Telltale Games' latest entries (StrongBad, Wallace and Gromit, Monkey Island, etc.) should be pretty familiar with their games by now. For those who aren't, this is basically an old school point-and-click adventure where you solve puzzles to progress the story. This game isn't much different other than the fact that it has its own twist on things, being based on Back to the Future and all. It's definitely not Telltale Games' best release, but it's not the worst either. You'll notice some things about this that are modified scenes and/or dialogue from the movies. I can understand why they did this, but it doesn't make this game feel very original or unique from the movies. I know this argument may seem kind of flawed, but basically what I'm trying to say is, why would you play this if you could just watch the movies? Otherwise this is still a pretty fun game, and the fact that they got Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox to return here is awesome. - 8/10
STORY - Kind of an odd story here, but nonetheless true to the franchise. Marty McFly is upset that the bank has ordered an estate sale at Doc Brown's house since he's been missing for weeks, but Marty soon finds out that he is trapped in another point in time, and must track him down. There isn't a whole lot of reasoning behind the time period you visit, but hopefully this will unfold more and more with each additional episode to the series. - 8/10
GRAPHICS - I personally don't care for the graphics here. They're almost...too cartoon-y. And the animations seem very outdated. This game isn't bad to look at, but there are a lot of animations, mainly facial ones, that just don't look quite right. - 6.5/10
SOUND - Again, Fox and Lloyd returning here is awesome. The other voice actors fit their roles well, for the most part, and the music is taken right out of the movies. Definitely no complaints here. - 9/10
LENGTH/REPLAY VALUE - Not one of the longer episodes, even for a Telltale Games release. Most of the trophies are hard to miss also, so there isn't a whole lot of replay value here. Most of the story follows the basic formula used in the movies, so you won't see anything too memorable here. - 6/10
BOTTOM LINE - Not a great game on its own, but a decent start to what should prove to be a great series of episodes that make up a single game. Fans of Back to the Future will appreciate the fan service here, even if it feels a bit forced and too much on the playing-it-safe side of things. If you're like me though and love the trilogy, this game will definitely satisfy your appetite for another adventure with Marty McFly and the Doc. - 7.5/10
Poker players: Here is what the GS review didn't tell you. (updated)
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
(UPDATE) I have reduced my score to 7.5 after playing it a bit, for two reasons. One, the game has several bugs which only become evident after a few hours of play. Nothing serious but the fact these bugs made it to launch displays a lack of polish, and of course they affect the game's quality. The bugs can be patched, let's hope they will be.
Two, Multiplayer connectivity issues. The game can randomly freeze up, sometimes for minutes. Quick Match only works sporadically, but searching for games and selecting one from the list works most of the time.
Like many of you I'm dying for a decent poker game on XBLA, as the current game is riddled with bugs, poor design choices, and rampant cheating. But quite honestly, I was not convinced by the before-release info I was getting, afraid that it would be a dumbed down, all-in fest with Facebook like features. I can already report that my fears were, for the most part, unfounded, and that Full House Poker improves on the TIK Games release in almost every way.
I fired up a single player game to check the interface and gameplay so I could click on everything and take my time. Just setting up a match, I could see that there are dozens of different game types. Of course we have the standard cash and tournament play, but it doesn't stop there. One can play no limit, pot limit, spread limit, or limit poker. In terms of game types, you can play lowball, where the worst hand wins, or the best and worst hands split the pot, along with the usual 'best hand wins' game. Tournaments can be heads up, or 1, 2, or 3 tables which can hold either 6 or 10 players. Mixing and matching these parameters means your Aunt Ida can find a game she likes too, while the Phil Ivey's can have their heads up shootouts. I made a 3 table 6 max game to see how the game would handle a MTT.
The first thing you notice is that gameplay has been sped up, without seeming frantic. A game feels a lot snappier than the TIK Games version. The table no longer has to hit A to move on to the next hand. Most games I've seen are played on Pro time limit, which is 15 seconds. Yes, there is a rather long win, and showdown, animation, but really it's a wash, as the old game took forever to declare the winner as well.
To be honest, I had a hard time following the action at first as my player was no longer anchored at the bottom of the screen. That problem went away when I clicked the RS and switched to a more zoomed out view. It's also harder to see who has the button and your position, since the camera can be anywhere. Stick with a zoomed out camera behind your seat to solve that. There was also a camera issue when two players were all in, it was not possible to see their hole cards because bodies blocked my view. I had to adjust the camera to see their cards.
Now, the good things:
You can fold, call, or raise before it's your turn. Thank god. A much needed feature that contributes to the quick gameplay.
The pot size goes up when someone makes a bet!!! (You need to be a veteran of the old game to understand why this is such a huge deal.) You no longer have to guesstimate pot odds.
It's no longer possible to bet $472. (EDIT: this is wrong. Pushing up or down on the stick allows to to fine tune your bet.) Changing your bet with the stick is a bit touchy but not unmanageable.
The winner can choose to show no cards, both, or one card of his choice if he wins before showdown. This is huge, and the way it should be. There will be mind games galore now, players can just show the bottom pair of a two pair hand, for example.
And the best for last: the tournament structure is incredibly good. At the start, I said I was worried the game would be dumbed down, and I knew just where to look. If the levels were short and the blinds skyrocketed up, I'd know the game would be mediocre, a money grab. I'm so happy this is not the case. The levels are long! They go up in reasonable increments! There is plenty of time for us TAG guys to be patient, and to make plays we can get away from, without killing our stack too much. Just this, the tourny structure, is enough to recommend the game alone. (EDIT) After a bit more playing, I'd say the structure is *too good*. The blinds need to go up a bit faster and have bigger jumps later Too often you get to heads up and each player has 100-150 BB, and games can seriously drag on.
(EDIT) The Texas Heat game mentioned in the GS review is terrible. Over 10,000 people played the first episode yet most people reported that the tables were full of bots with one human player. Don't bother with this mode until it gets patched, standard ranked matches are against other humans, and are much more fun.
I'll stop here. If you hated the TIK Games version as much as I did, you're gonna think Full House Poker is the second coming. If you have no knowledge of the old game, you're going to find a very solid and fun poker game here.
If you own a Dreamcast, you should get this game, no matter what if you like skateboarding or not.
1 to 2 Hours
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Just plain fun"
The Nintendo 64 is better than the DreamCast. Sure. But the Dreamcast gives a very good try - no wander it's not much loved. But still, it's got a killer app that Gamespot rated 10 - Soul Calibur. So does the fantastic PlayStation, that has 'Cross, and the... Nintendo 64... Zelda. This game looks better than Super Mario 64. Lets be honest. The level design is superb, and the overall levels are fun to play. The sound rocks with some super music to be heard. Oh how the value is, with more to come back for. Let's just give in this: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 rocks.
It's BETTER than: Tony Hawk's Underground 2: World Destruction Tour
It's WORSE than: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (PS2)
+ Skateboarding has never been this fun.
- Not just what I was looking for.
+ It looks beautiful and realistic. Wow.
- I refuse to put a moan for the style here.
+ Good music as always.
- Nothing can be perfect...
Lots to comeback for, but you won't play for months.
Minutes 10/10, Hours 9/10, Days 10/10, Weeks 7/10, Months 7/10
Best skateboarding game ever.
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
Best skateboarding game ever. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is the skateboarding you must play. The Tony Hawk series zips right past all of those other copy offs like Street Sk8er and it's just packed with fun and value.
Right now, you can pick this game up for $2 so I suggest you do. The best version is the Playstation and Dreamcast versions because they have the best soundtracks. The N64 version only has 6 songs and hardly any lyrics but the game itself is very fun in all three versions.
Graphics are very good, they look dated on Dreamcast but the N64 and PS1 versions look above quality for that system. There is a variety of huge levels filled with design to skate through in each version.
There is an impressive amount of skaters, levels, skateboards, cheats and unlockables to get so you''ll play this game a lot. I didn't get tired until I beat it with everyone.
Tricks are easy to do and the control is great! Sometimes you move to slow but other than that the framerate is very smooth. The soundtrack on N64 has 6 songs but on Playstation and Dreamcast it has 15 songs. It has rap and punk music. Some of the music in THPS2 is from Millencolin, Papa Roach, Rage Against the Machine, Lagwagon, Bad Religion and a lot more. It has one of the best licensed soundtracks on Playstation if not the best.
0 to 30 Minutes
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
When I first reicieved THPS2 for Christmas I played it for hours on end, until I'd unlocked practically everything. After this game though I lost interest in the Tony Hawk series, partially because I'm not really a fan of sports games, partially because I just didn't see enough improvement in the series to warrant purchase.
I was looking for a game to play and decided to pick this one up again. I played through career mode in a matter of hours, which wasn't too surprising considering there's only a total of 8 levels (+2 to unlock).
The premise of the game is simple: do tricks off of ramps and rails to earn money in order to buy imroved stats, new tricks, and new boards. There's also other objectives in each level, such as collect the letters to spell skate, do a certain trick off a certain object, find the hidden video tape, and get a high score. There are also three competitions in which you have to get the highest score from judges in order to earn a medal. New levels open up as you earn more money, and that's basically the gist of career mode.
There's also a park editor in which you can create your own level. I used it for a while when I first got it, but it takes so long to create a good park. It's all trial and error, adding something new and then testing it out to see if it works or not.
I haven't played the multiplayer in a while, but I remember enjoying it. There are a few different choices, such as tag, where you have to run into the other player to make him it, then avoid him until the timer runs out, horse, where you have to outdo your opponent with a better trick than him and if he can't beat you he gets a letter, and a game where you have to capture areas of the level such as a ramp by doing a trick on it, which can then be taken over by your opponent by doing a better trick.
The graphics in this game are alright, although I don't think they were pushing the Dreamcast's hardware, it's just more detailed textures from the Playstation version.
I used to like the music, but now I find it annoying. It's a mish-mash of rap, rock, and punk and I really wish that the Dreamcast had had a custom sountrack feature like the Xbox, because it's a chore to listen to. The sound effects on the other hand are pretty good, sounding like skateboards on pavement.
I enjoyed THPS2, but not as much as when I first played it. It's grown old on me, and I can't see myself picking it up again anytime soon. Still, it is fun while it lasts so I would reccomend it if you're looking for something to play.