What started with Max Payne, brought you through the darkness with Alan Wake is now taking a crack at time in Quantum Break. Remedy has always brought us innovative gameplay and storytelling, with Quantum Break they are trying to push this further with a combined game and video series for a deeper understanding of their universe. When I first heard about it I thought it was going to be akin to the old FMV sequences you’d get in games like Wing Commander 3+4, and Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight, more fun for their b-movie corn than quality of acting and direction. The protagonist, Jack Joyce, is likeable although not much is given about his general background other than he is estranged from his brother William. The game made me empathise with the heroes, while the show helped me towards understanding the villains and their motivations.
I had been nervous about the synergy of television episodes interspersed throughout the gaming narrative, I really shouldn’t have been. As you progress through the campaign there is a torrent of background information and intelligence to gather, the more of which you collect affects the content of the episodes somewhat with the main theme of the episode being a result of gameplay choices. You can choose to watch these additional villain centric shows for a deeper understanding of the universe or skip them until later. With what would be called a star-studded cast, the game and show have a lot of talent behind them. Part of me wonders if it wouldn’t have been better to separate them, to make a proper go of each individually as a game and a full blown TV show, it certainly as the potential for it. Whether or not the TV side of things will carry on beyond the game, and assumedly lead up to an eventual sequel, we’ll just have to wait and see. With hints and links to Alan Wake it has to be wondered whether the unfortunate writer may make an appearance or whether it could run side by side, the magical and the scientific.
The game lends itself to a mix of light exploration, puzzles and frenetic action, with a host of skills you gain over the course of the campaign you have a battery of options to throw at your opponents while time falls apart around you. Skills are upgradeable as you collect chronon particles from around the games levels with higher end upgrades costing more chronon.
Technically the game is impressive; it is attractive, detailed and the in game representations of actors are fantastic. well apart from Dominic Monaghan’s which makes him look like a little like a shaved chimp at times. Between the energetic action sequences, impressive physics and throwing time powers around the game manages to run incredibly smoothly on Xbox One. I haven’t had the opportunity to test it out on PC yet as still waiting on code.
Overall I really enjoyed the game, great story and gameplay with main faults being some pieces feel very set and when you have companions near you they can be very insistent you move on while you feel like exploring the area for intel and chronon. Having someone badger you while you are trying to leap over a roof while it tumbles away beneath you can get a bit tedious, but it is an infrequent annoyance in an otherwise well made package.
This post feels really awkwardly written and a right mess, but has been a while since I last wrote anything so apologies for that.