Quantum Break – Review
Follow Genre: Third Person Shooter, Action, Adventure
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox One, PC (Only Windows Store)
Tested on: PC

Quantum Break – Review

Site Score
8.6
Good: Great combo of gameplay and live action series, Story, Graphics are stunning
Bad: Clear that the port to PC wasn't properly tested, Mechanics are not really groundbreaking
User Score
9.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)

It’s been quite some time since Microsoft last created a new exclusive game series for their own platforms but that long wait is finally over. Even though it’s not the next Gears of War or Halo, we now get a story driven cinematic experience to plow through, all revolving around the flow of time and the possible end of time and the universe as we know it. Intrigued? We were, especially when we learned that this game fuses gameplay elements together with actual live action episodes, with a rather experienced cast. In its own way, Quantum Break truly breaks all expectations.

Quantum Break Banner

Story

The story of Quantum Break is both very complex and simple at the same time. Imagine our current flow of time and the natural order of things, where everything simply progresses at the same pace. If something were to mess it up, total chaos would occur. Imagine walking over to the bus stop, while the bus freezes midair, but your neighbor walks at super speed. At a certain point in ‘time’ this would all simply collapse, creating the ‘end of time’.

When Jack Joyce gets invited by an old friend, Paul Serene, to help him with a project after Will, Jack’s brother, bailed out on him, Jack is eager to see how he can help. Paul is currently being funded by Monarch Solutions, a company that is slowly gaining more and more control over the area, which leads to heavy protest from certain pockets of the inhabitants. Nonetheless, Jack was not prepared to see what Paul and Will had created, namely a time machine. After Jack decides to help Paul, it becomes rather clear that he shouldn’t have, as after the activation of the machine, which Will tried to prevent last minute, soldiers hired by Monarch immediately storm the premises. While this alone is enough to wet your pants, things turn even worse when, after Jack shows signs of weird powers a future version of Paul disposes of Will. Not only did Jack lose his brother, weird ‘stutters’ are occurring all over the place, where time isn’t flowing as it should. It seems this experiment might just have led to the end of time. Last but not least, the automatic cover mechanic the game has, when you’re in combat, often proves to be a nuisance.

Overall the story is presented with snippets of information scattered throughout all the acts, as well as with live action episodes after an entire act has been completed, and certain choices have been made. The episodes you’ll get to see will depend on what choice you made at the end of a chapter, thus changing the course of the story. How everything is brought is simply amazing, especially seeing they used actual known actors and actresses to not only star in the live action portion of the game, but also in the gameplay segments. This means you’ll be accompanied by familiar faces from start to finish.

Quantum Break 1

Graphics

Quantum Break truly looks amazing. When it comes to the whole picture, there are hardly any remarks. Not only do the environments look detailed, with enough decoration and clutter, making sure the eye gets what it wants, there is simply enough diversity to make sure things never reach a stereotypical ‘copy-paste’ status. Even though you’ll often wander in the same areas, you’ll constantly discover new things to look at. Thanks to the immersion, things get an even more realistic appearance.

All the main cast members have been digitally recreated within the game, in a ridiculously realistic way. In some cases it was actually quite hard to see the difference between the actual footage and the gameplay elements (of course, it can be seen, but everything is done surprisingly good). All actors or actresses are portrayed perfectly, with great facial expressions from start to finish. Truth be told, even their attire looks lifelike.

Even though the entire game looks beautiful, there are a few minor setbacks that hamper the realistic feeling this game presents you with. More than often you’ll point your weapon through the wall(s) and the animation for climbing stairs is simply horrible, seeing your feet sink in the steps themselves. Minor issues, but noticeable ones when everything else looks so good. Sadly, the PC port also has a few issues of its own, where frame rate issues tend to pop up now and then.

Quantum Break 2

Sound

The cinematic quality remains intact throughout the entire game, thanks to the superb cast voicing the characters, as well as the rather adventurous score that accompanies most of the grand events that happen throughout the time-phasing plot. Not only instrumental music is implemented in the game, but also modern pop music, where most of you will immediately recognize a track or two.

Seeing the actual actors voice their digitalized character and of course the live action variant, it’s clear that this part of the game will present you with nothing but quality. Even though many mainstream developers/publishers tend to use actual ‘known’ actors and actresses to voice the lead character(s) of their title, it’s quite rare to see a cast of this magnitude work on a single title.

Gameplay

Quantum Break is a story driven third person shooter, with a reasonable amount of puzzle elements. The overall flow of the game depends on the choices you make, but the actual mechanics will remain the same, as during the gameplay segments you’ll be running around, shooting Monarch’s troops, or trying out your newly awakened time phasing abilities on both them as well as objects. That being said, the story truly takes the foreground in this title, thus if you’re looking for something along the lines of Inversion, which had similar mechanics, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Quantum Break 3

First of all, there’s the story aspect of this game that is interesting (even though time travel is always a rather interesting topic). After each of the acts, you’ll come at a ‘junction’, which will present you with a choice, which will in turn affect the game’s layout, the flow of the story and the live action episode you’ll get to see. All of this tends to make it worthwhile to consider a second playthrough, if you’re a fan of different storylines, or you just want to see what the series has to offer.

Even though braiding the live action aspect with the gameplay elements has been done in a rather original way, the game’s mechanics are rather typical. From start to finish, the segments you’ll get to roam around feel like almost every other third person adventure game/shooter on the market, with special time influencing skills thrown in the mix. These skills however, also feel like they’ve been used in other games before, but offer some interesting possibilities when it comes to disposing of your enemies or solving puzzles. Your arsenal of skills consists out of freezing enemies in a time bubble and in combination with a hefty amount of bullets being fired upon it, your enemy is in for a surprise when he unfreezes. Other skills allow you to phase in time, to dodge bullets or other obstacles, and you’ll also be able to rewind time in certain areas, allowing you to see destroyed items when they were still in one piece, which could help you progress. Sadly, the evolution of these skills hasn’t been worked out allowing things to get interesting when you reach the final stages of the game. While upgrades are possible, they feel a bit bland.

A small remark goes out to certain bugs, which present you with invisible walls and other obstacles that aren’t programmed properly, but mainly the lack of an exit button shows that this game was ported to PC, without properly testing it.

Quantum Break 4

Conclusion

Quantum Break is certainly a great new IP from Microsoft’s studios. While the PC port has a few issues going on for it, it’s still a very interesting blend of both a cinematic experience with conventional third person shooter/adventure game mechanics. If you’re all for a great story driven experience, this game will assuredly float your boat, if you’re looking for groundbreaking gameplay elements, this one might not be the title for you. That being said, in its ‘niche’ area, this title is superb.

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Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Quantum Break - Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

1 Comment

  1. Drydwen
    Drydwen
    April 11, 2016, 10:44 pm

    They made a great choice when choosing Shawn Ashmore to play the protagonist here but unfortunately I’m reminded of Bobby (better known as Iceman) from X-men every time I see him and that does not fit the game at all.

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