Third Person Shooter
PC [Windows 10 only], Xbox One (Reviewed)
April 5, 2015
₹4500 (PC), ₹3999 (Xbox One)
Quantum Break was one of the first games to be announced for the Xbox One and lead the charge of Microsoft’s vision for the new console to be the center of living room entertainment. Since then, a lot has changed for the Xbox One and Quantum Break. The game has already gone through some pretty big changes, however at its core, it still is determined to be one of the first AAA games to express itself by uniting the two entertainment media of Games and TV. I find out if it lives up to the hype and expectation.
The story of Quantum Break revolves around the complex plot of time travel, which has rarely been executed well by video games, but Remedy wants to get it right.
Quantum Break is a tale of a science experiment gone wrong, leading to a scenario where time has been fractured and the end of time awaits for humanity. The fracture also ends up leaving the protagonist Jack Joyce and Paul Serene, his childhood friend and owner of Monarch Solutions with some time bending powers. While Jack Joyce has access to certain time based abilities helping him fight Monarch Solutions and it’s evil plans, Paul Serene has the ability to look into the immediate future which allows him to make decisions that lead to interesting situations after the end of each Act. Yes, the main story is broken Down into Acts.
At end of each Act, a ‘junction’ comes where you’re given control of Paul Serene and you are narrated a situation by Martin Hatch. The consequences of your decision are told to you beforehand giving you plenty of time to decide and act accordingly. These junctions can also be considered as the main pillars of Quantum Break’s story as they define and change what’s about to come next and also add a lot of replay value to the game as one would like to change their decisions to see multiple outcomes and experience a different take on Quantum Break’s story.
Remedy has been known for its habit of adding very interesting easter eggs and extra narrative objects to enhance the story and Quantum Break is no different, going through each area and finding all the narrative objects became a regular activity for me as I was surprised to find out how much they added to the story and helped me in making my decisions during junction points.
Besides it’s in-game story, Quantum Break also offers a TV series to expand upon its narrative. To be honest, at first this idea sounded like a gimmick to me and I was really reluctant to watch it even though the trailer and star cast were up to the mark. However after watching the first episode my opinion completely changed and after the end of each Act, I patiently waited for the episode to finish and had no hesitation in putting down my controller. It is worth mentioning how much Quantum Break’s TV series adds to the game and becomes a major factor which defines the decisions you take. Besides this it is interesting to experience the story from the other point of view and learn of their take on the events and how they justify their acts. The TV series does a good job of humanizing the villains of Quantum Break and adding a lot more depth to them. The only downside here is that the decisions you make during junction points are also meant to change the way the episode rolls out but during my playthrough I only managed to find slight changes in the show making the TV series only worth watching once or twice.
The strength of Quantum Break’s story lies in the way it is presented and how it unfolds without adding any complexity to an already complex plot. Quantum Break sticks with its plot from the very beginning till the end, tying up all the strings to provide a conclusive ending yet leaving room for a future entry in the franchise, again highlighting Remedy’s strength in story department.
Quantum Break does not set out to revolutionize the third person shooting mechanics and expecting it to do so will only lead to disappointment. However, what it sets out to do is combine its different time powers with third person shooting in a seamless way to provide a satisfying gameplay experience. Throughout the game, as you progress, you unlock different powers such as creating a shield to protect yourself from enemies or looking through the walls to plan your mode of action in advance or moving from one spot to another in a flash and at times creating time blasts, completely breaking time and physics for your enemy and giving them one of the worst death blows they could ever expect. Quantum Break does not spend much time keeping you waiting for these abilities and that’s good, because once you get your hands on these abilities you are not going back to doing things the mundane way. You will be mixing them up and using them in clever ways to surprise the enemy and it always provides a sense of pleasure to pull it off. To keep the combat engaging, Quantum Break offers different type of enemies to battle with, but the enemies with certain time bending abilities create a very interesting dynamic in the game and infuse new energy into the gameplay keeping it fresh and exciting for most of the time.
Besides all this, there are areas where Quantum Break falls short. Once in a while, you will encounter different puzzles and platforming sections where want you to make use of your time powers to progress the game. However those puzzles, at times, can be a bit frustrating and annoying, not because of their design, but because of character movements. What’s more surprising is the character movements work very well and smoothly during the rest of the game, but become a bit clunky during these sections. While the gameplay feels fresh and exciting for the most part, it was during the last few sections of the game where it started to get a bit boring and repetitive, as the developers seem to have run out of new gameplay ideas.
Graphics and Performance
Quantum Break is powered by Remedy’s in-house Northlight Engine and successfully creates some of the best looking graphics on the Xbox One. The character models look incredibly detailed with small details visible on their face and body. Lighting and the way it reacts to nearby objects feels very natural and good looking.
However, the moment time starts to break is when the engine starts to flex its muscles, with objects floating in air and bullets bouncing back off your time shield or releasing a bunch of bullets straight on your enemies’ face, it all looks visually pleasing. Passing through areas where time is malfunctioning and seeing those objects behave differently and react differently is also very satisfying. Even after doing so much heavy weight lifting, Quantum Break continues to run at a smooth 30fps with minor drops which rarely occur, making Quantum Break a very good package
Quantum Break is a bold move by Remedy and it once again succeeds with flying colors. Not only does it manages to deliver its first cross media experience in one of the best possible ways, but also builds upon Remedy’s love for time based mechanics and proves that there is still space for such unique experiences in video games.
Disclaimer: Some Screenshots are taken from the PC version. Others are provided by Microsoft.
+ Time Based Gameplay Mechanics
+ Junction Points
+ Cross Media Experience
-Gets repetitive towards the end
-Choices don't affect TV Series much