After almost six years of development, Quantum Break, one of the best looking Xbox One titles is finally here. Remedy Entertainment delivered an excellent photorealistic game with tons of action, interesting mechanics and a polished gameplay that not only looks but also plays next gen.
Available on: Xbox One (tested), Microsoft Windows
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
The first thing you notice after booting the game is the amazing facial gestures of the characters and obscene level of detail everything has. I must confess I was not surprised, not because it didn’t look amazing – we have been following trailers and footage from long before. My fear was about Remedy’s priorities: could a good looking game have interesting mechanics and good gameplay?
Short answer is: yes. Long answer is: fucking yes. I was hooked from start to finish, and I can’t do that with pretty much any title. Even better: after my 8 hours of gameplay I just wanted more. I took my time to grab all the possible collectibles: skill points, intel, lore, but I needed more. Quantum Break is that good. It isn’t just a pretty face.
In Quantum Break, everything is about time. The breakdown of time, time-travelling, the manipulation of time and how important is time for all of us. The game is set at and around Riverport University, a fictional university set in the Northeastern United States. Our protagonist is Jack Joyce (played by X-Men’s Shawn Ashmore), who is caught in the middle of a time travel experiment that didn’t go as planned. This event causes time to start acting funny, and also grants us and our antagonist, Paul Serene, different time-based abilities.
Unfortunately, while the game provides different endings and routes, the story is pretty much linear. At the end of each of the first four acts, we get to decide how to impact time, and based on this, how the story will unfold. Telling more about the story would be just throwing spoilers.
Ok cool, you gain powers. But what can you do, exactly? One of the first abilities we get is a powerful shield that deflects bullets: Time Shield. This will give you the ability to not rely on covers as much as in any other shooter. But it also has other utilities: it slows down time around you, and will know away enemies at melee range or, if you use it right, bubble them inside. You also gain the ability to focus, aim and slow down portions of the environment at will: Time Stop. It is Jack’s more versatile power, and you can freeze pretty much everything: enemies, objects, grenades, bullets, anything. You can also capture a pool of bullets in one place to make them explode. This is by far my favorite ability. Eventually we also use this to solve some mini puzzles, like freezing objects to use as a bridge, or to survive specific events.
Eventually, you also gain the ability to warp or run really fast with Time Dodge and Time Rush. The first one not only allows you to dodge bullets, but at the end of it you gain a few seconds of focus where you can aim and shoot. The second will allow you to traverse the environment at super speed, and one-hit enemies with super punches. You also have Time Vision, that works pretty much like a sense skill: you can skill the environment for ammo, objects to make explode, enemies, intel, lore, you even have a radar when you are near a skill point.
The game also features a simple cover system where you just need to be near a wall or something able to cover you from bullets, and the range of weapons is not that great. It is clear Remedy wanted you to use your abilities first and weapons second.
So… against whom are you using this abilities?
Quantum Break has a decent variety of enemies to keep fights and skills relevant and interesting. But I won’t lie to you: the story is the main focus of the game. As an action game, it is amazing, but it really has little of it, but when the time is right, the shooting aspect of the game is addictive and fun. Towards the end of the title you can notice a huge spike of forced fights, which is also good, and the enemies start wearing suits that allows them to use some of your abilities, to even the fields. Eventually they can even use some powerful toys that will stripe out your powers, which is also really cool.
You get to decide how the story unfolds
The game consists of Five acts. Most of them have 3 parts each, and at the end of the third, you play a Junction as Paul Serene. He has seen the future and the past, and he can decide how to move forward, so you will be presented with two options. Playing as the antagonist is really interesting, as you get to know his perspective and reasons. Each choice will be vastly different, and will affect what happens in the TV portions of the game as well as the gameplay itself. Will you make things harder for Jack and take a hit for the greater good? O would you try to reason with him, making his life easier, and let everyone else take a hit? Each decision matters, and you can only see a glimpse of the future before making your final decision.
Yes, there are TV portions in the game
After each Junction comes a 20 – 25 episode of the Quantum Break TV series. The episodes are really, really high production quality with several famous faces. I won’t expand on the episodes, since they are not interactive. You only get to see them once before knowing them, so spoilers would be lethal to your experience. What it is important to mention though, is that the series are subbed and you can skip them and watch them later. Sure, they are interesting, I personally watched them all, but it is not a gamers priority. Sometimes you just want to play.
Quantum Break features amazing mechanics, polished gameplay, interesting and strong storyline and, as a bonus track, a high-quality TV series that blends beautifully with the game. I can only ask for more gameplay, since I was left asking for more. Other than that, one of the best Xbox One games around.