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Review: Quantum Break experiments with time

By Damian Seeto
Fri 1 Apr 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Quantum Break is the new video game from Remedy Entertainment who is most famous for the early Max Payne titles as well as Alan Wake. The developer’s new game however is no ordinary third-person shooter as it tries a new time bending gimmick.

It’s hard to talk about the story without spoiling too much of the plot, but basically you play Jack Joyce who revisits his old home town of Riverport to meet up with a friend. His friend and his brother were working on a time machine experiment, but things don’t go the way as planned. After the experiment fails, Joyce now has new abilities that he has never had before. This may sound very cool, but an evil organisation named Monarch is now out to kill him. Not to mention the time machine caused a huge fracture that may end all time as we know it. The story may sound cliche, but it gets much better the more you progress through it. The game also has “Junctions” after each act that allows you to see from the villain’s perspective of the story. Choosing these junctions can affect the direction of the story slightly, which can be fun to see the different scenarios play out. Unique to this game are the addition of 20 minute long TV episodes. After each act and junction, you have the opportunity to watch a TV show that gives you more background detail for the other characters in the game. They’re quite entertaining, but they aren’t mandatory to watch. You can still understand the main story by skipping them. It’s worth mentioning that the episodes are streamed off the internet so you may need a decent internet connection to view them. Alternatively, you could download the episodes but that will take up 75GB off of your hard drive if you go that route. In terms of gameplay, Quantum Break both changes the way third-person shooters are played yet also falls into the trap of playing it safe too. What I mean by this is that the time bending abilities makes the combat fun, but the level design fails to make the game more innovative. Let’s start with the positive first and talk about how fun the time bending abilities are. Joyce can freeze enemies in a time bubble to prevent enemies from attacking. He can also use his powers to slow down time to navigate through some obstacles or simply punch enemies on the head. The combat is also fast and swift because the game forces you to constantly move and attack enemies while you are running. Staying behind cover is not going to work because the enemies are quite smart as they will always advance towards your position. Sadly, the level design doesn’t fully make use of Joyce’s abilities which I feel is a missed opportunity. For one thing, there are only a few puzzles sequences to solve but they are very easy. It would have been better if a few more puzzles were added to fully explore the time bending gimmick. Another thing to note about Quantum Break is that it has very linear level design. There’s only one path that you need to go to so you don’t have much options to surprise enemies from different locations. The game also lacks any stealth so you cannot take out enemies quietly either. It’s just one huge shoot-out all of the time which can get tiresome after a while. Not to mention that Joyce doesn’t even have a basic melee attack. The only melee attack he has is tied to one of this time abilities. However, you can only use this melee attack once every 30 seconds or so because it has to recharge.   Some people may also find that Quantum Break is a short game because there are only 5 acts. If you skip the live action episodes and other in-game cutscenes, the experience will be shorter. The game is much longer than The Order: 1886, but I feel it could have been longer. Visually, the game has excellent character models as all of the actors look eerily realistic. The environments are sadly less detailed and aren’t as pretty as other Xbox One video games. Another thing that may annoy some people is that this game has pretty long loading times. Overall, Quantum Break is a really fun third-person shooter that tries its best to be as creative as it can be. However, the gimmick sadly never sees its full potential due to the linear level design. It is still a very fun game, but it could have been better if it gave the player more options. Verdict: 7.5/10  

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