- + Time powers look awesome
- + Soundtrack is stunning
- - Some major technical issues make me upset
- - More consequences to your actions would have been nice
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Start Replay: “Slowww Moooo”
Visual flare is something Remedy Entertainment are well known for.
Their first major title, Max Payne, changed the landscape of gaming forever; introducing the stylish “bullet-time” mechanic and influencing dozens of games thereafter. Quantum Break feels like a collection of Remedy’s best talents, bringing together immersive storytelling, alongside a brand new world-altering gameplay mechanic.
Jack Joyce (played by Shawn Ashmore – Iceman from X-Men), gets invited by his friend Paul Serene to oversee a scientific experiment. Paul is the CEO of a company called Monarch Solutions, and his work follows in the footsteps of Jack’s estranged brother, William Joyce. Whilst conducting a risky and untested attempt to manipulate time itself, the operation quickly falls to pieces, and both Jack and Paul are exposed to a massive leak of chronon-radiation – the very material that makes time travel possible.
The catastrophic failure results in a fracture in time, which causes the world to occasionally freeze and stutter. Similar to playing Battlefield 4 on hi-resolution with a crap graphics card, the world ain’t going to be moving fast, at all. Meanwhile, the exposure to chronon-radiation leaves Jack and Paul imbued with the ability to alter time in multiple ways; for example, both can freeze time and move at higher speeds, though Paul’s greater level of radiation allows him to see into the future.
Still with me? Good.
There’s quite a lot of narrative should people wish to look and listen, since interactive items fill each level – then again, it’s not absolutely necessary. Most of the time you’ll be shooting enemies and using Jack’s awesome set of powers to manipulate the environment. These include setting up a deflective bubble to shield you from incoming fire, as well as “Time Rush”, which stops time and increases your speed, allowing you to perform a finishing move on any nearby enemy. All of your powers (there are 5 in total), can be upgraded to increase their power and duration.
My most enjoyable moments came via hectic gun fights. The thrill of using my powers to slow down the action whilst I tactically took down enemies one at a time, was both addictive and stylish. Its pumping electronic soundtrack also accompanies gameplay perfectly. It reminded me a lot of inFamous: Second Son, as colour stretched out across the screen when I activated my abilities. When you’re not shooting oncoming threats, there is the odd bit of platforming to plod through. Sometimes you’ll need to use your powers to stop glitches in time, or rewind segments to remove a blockade.
In total there a 5 acts to play through, each of which are segmented by a live action TV show representing the bits in between. All of the actors featured in-game play their real life counterparts. Despite residing in a video game, I’d actually have quite a good time watching the show on a weekly basis, it was a good bit of fun. Generally an episode will last about 20 minutes. Though choices play an important part throughout the game, they only really make a difference at the end of each act. Through the eyes of Paul Serene you get to make important decisions at “junction points” which will alter the storyline in a certain way. I wish there could have been more opportunities to affect the game, but overall the junction points did a good job of making me feel involved within the story.
I had a lot of fun in Quantum Break, but at the same time I equally encountered a lot of technical issues. These mainly consisted of levels not loading, which resulted in scenery becoming invisible. There were even quite a few times when I continued by walking through a door and falling straight through the game world. It was shocking to see the game in such a state, and it was infuriating to think its developer could release it this way. Moving away from graphical hiccups, I appreciated the need to keep a linear level structure, but wondered how an open-world design could have been implemented. Using my powers outside of the constraints of a level system would have been quite interesting. On a high note, the game is meticulously detailed and looks absolutely gorgeous.
Technical issues aside, Quantum Break offers a well crafted story that is joined by incredibly stylish gameplay.