Quantum Break Reviews

  • Deranged AsylumDeranged Asylum499,441
    05 Apr 2016
    32 11 18
    Original Post

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    From the bullet soaked tale of drug-fuelled detective Max Payne to the darklit world of famed novelist Alan Wake, Remedy Entertainment have never been a studio to do things by half, they don’t do the ordinary, it’s simply not in their nature. The Finnish developers have pioneered the bizarre, transcended the unknown but have always remained true to themselves, time and time again they continue to provide us with engaging yet utterly compelling experiences that keep us coming back for more. First party Microsoft Exclusive, Quantum Break, originally announced back in 2013 seeks to explore one of our unanswered questions – time travel.

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    Quantum Break’s story is told through the eyes of returning wayward brother Jack Joyce, portrayed by Shawn Ashmore (X-Men, The Following) and childhood friend Paul Serene voiced by Aidan Gillen (A Game of Thrones, Blitz). Upon returning after a six-year absence, troubled Joyce meets up with long time friend Serene at Riverport University, MA where Serene is eager to show his friend a life changing project he’s been working on. What begins as a harmless reunion between the pair quickly escalates into all out apocalyptic chaos with Jack caught up in the middle, ultimately tasked with saving mankind’s very existence.

    Time travel or manipulation for that matter isn’t exactly unexplored territory when it comes to video games. Max Caulfield’s time rewinding exploits were a major feature of recent teen angst drama Life is Strange. While Dontnod’s episodic masterpiece asked questions of time manipulation, Quantum Break has more about it than simply rewinding time to retune a major misstep in life, it peels back the very foundation of time travel, boldly jumping in with both feet. After experiencing a significant fracture in time, caused by the two protagonists along with Joyce’s older genius sibling Will played by Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings, Lost) Jack embarks on a personal crusade to repair the damage caused, wading through the stutters of a delicately balanced world on the brink of collapse in the process.

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    If there is one thing Remedy Entertainment do well, it’s engaging narrative-driven experiences, Alan Wake was a fantastic example of exactly that. Knowing how to provide players with a well written if not offbeat storyline that is both perfectly drawn out with the correct tone. Quantum Break’s story is compelling yet complex, at times bordering on frustrating due to its very nature however it is all presented at the speed of an almost leisurely stroll. At no point throughout the duration of the campaign did I feel bogged down with an influx of information coming at me from every possible angle. Remedy have done a great job of drip-feeding information not only through the games story but through its exploration. Emails, documents and note boards serve to give players a much better insight into the story, to not explore the game, to not carefully read or listen to these items would be a severe injustice. Amidst the current over-saturation of multiplayer titles, Quantum Break is a classic third person single player game. Take your time, sit back and soak it all in, it’s a story told the way you want to tell it.

    While Quantum Break’s storyline had me gripped, the games Junctions had me undeniably intrigued. Junctions are small moments throughout the story where each player can mold how he or she would like the upcoming proceedings to commence. It’s all about personal choice here whether you want to be a cold hearted bastard or a would-be hero and although it doesn’t necessarily sway the storyline heavily one way or the other, it does have its after effects and consequently, its repercussions. This is far from being a Telltale Games title, where no matter what decision you make it always ends the same way, Remedy have developed choices that go deeper than that. If you make a decision in Quantum Break you will see definitive ripples of those moments later on in the story. You can also affect the storyline with the interaction of ‘Quantum Ripples’ which, when located and touched introduce new elements to the story later on in the campaign.

    Through the high-value production of four separate Live Action segments, players can grab some popcorn, sit back and relax as their every decision is played out in front of them on the big screen with Quantum Break switching out its gameplay for high-end live action TV situated between each Act. Remedy have always made fantastic use of the cinematic in their games with Alan Wake’s, Night Springs TV Show haunting the protagonist throughout but even those brief fleeting appearances are a pale shadow when compared to the 20 minute long episodes that break up not only the story but essentially the gameplay. While undoubtedly the high production episodes will not be for everyone (though they can be skipped) they are in fact surprisingly good. Watching your very decision acted out in front of you by a cast befitting of an HBO series is a great concept, however, with streaming issues you might be forgiven for wondering why you chose to at heat up that popcorn after all.

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    When not enjoying the TV show or getting lost in the captivating storyline, there is of course combat, Quantum Break boasts an exciting blend of firearms mixed with unique abilities among its repertoire. As I pushed my way into the real meat of the games story I found myself blessed with an array of amazing abilities, which I had to learn to control. Mastering these abilities, learning to push their capabilities was one of the greatest aspects of the combat system. The combat options are truly limitless, switching between weapon fire and powers felt seamless although firing the games many weapons felt largely unsatisfying with enemies merely bullet sponges for the taking. While firefights are without question intense they feel slightly lacklustre, enemies, while providing different levels of difficulty fall into the age old trap of becoming far too predictable. How long will it be before an enemy throws a grenade without announcing it first? Why give the game away? Firefights should be about more than that.

    With upgrades, I became stronger. Finding ways to fine tune my powers to deal out devastating damage would be something worth experimenting with. One moment I could throw a bright wave of time towards an enemy, which, in turn, would freeze them momentarily to the spot; with my next move, I could expertly sidestep an incoming bullet – Matrix style before slowing down time which allows myself to execute numerous bad guys with sheer and unerring precision; I could then quickly throw up a protective shield around myself before finally blasting the last enemy into the air with devastating ease. Jack’s abilities are designed to be combined and when performed and executed correctly, led to some of the finer moments of combat within Quantum Break.

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    As fantastic as Jack Joyce’s unique powers are they are put in the shade by the games “Stutters”; short periods of time inflicted by the fracture that can both rewind and freeze moments as Jack progresses throughout the hazardous environments. Traversing through one of these time altering stutters really is quite something to behold, Quantum Break’s lack of fully optimized resolution can be easily forgiven while experiencing one of these random occurrences. Both the Dockyard and Bridge levels provided some of my favourite moments from my previous 25+ years of gaming. The development is both bold, inventive; work born out of pure brilliance, this is where the real value lies. Navigating through a scene trapped in a time loop, avoiding falling objects as I attempt to make my way from point A to B is something I will never forget.

    Of course not all of Remedy Entertainments latest offering is about high octane explosions and long drawn out firefights, it isn’t Just Cause. The game contains some puzzles that require solving before you can progress but that sadly isn’t something that’s heavily overused throughout the course of the story. Fractions of time can be rewound to help Jack get through closed off areas, some enable the protagonist to reach a certain height but it certainly isn’t something that would stand in the way of most for long, providing mere moments of thinking in a game that deserves a whole lot more.

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    Without question Remedy Entertainment have made a unique and bold move with the development of Quantum Break, it is something that deserves to be commended, not dissected. We are in the midsts of something special with video game technology reaching new ways to astound us, this is an era where video games and innovation should go hand in hand, to frown upon creativity would be criminal. We need more developers like Remedy, developers who are not afraid to push boundaries, not afraid to be weird, not afraid to make moves others wouldn’t, forever striving to break new ground.

    While Quantum Break doesn’t exactly unearth a new concept with time travel, it excels at combining a gripping story that will leave you scratching your head in wonder with some truly breathtaking moments of action. Although it doesn’t quite reach the graphical fidelity of 1080p both the character animations and visuals are some of the best I’ve seen. Quantum Break boasts a fantastic cast who bounce off each other rather well. In a world largely dominated by multiplayer titles, it’s refreshing to see a title that isn’t afraid to ask new questions or push the industry forward into the future.

    8.5/10
    4.0
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    Lord DarkfungGreat in depth review and very fair score. clap
    Posted by Lord Darkfung on 24 Jul 18 at 21:31
    WifelikeDrip8.5? Really? Haha. Walk 10 feet and get a cutscene. Skip a cutscene to get a loading screen into another cutscene... The game is about 5 hours long without all the cutscenes, and probably 20 hours if you are stupid enough to watch them all. This game could have been a 8.5 if it wasn't a cash grab to give a job to a bunch of nobody actors.

    Good graphics and voice acting though..
    Posted by WifelikeDrip on 16 Sep 18 at 00:28
    SpartanWolf 1874 out of 5 is more like an even 8 and I definitely feel the game is deserving of that. True all the extra movie like cut scenes were unnecessary imo. With the good gameplay and interesting story I couldn't give it under a 4 but no higher. Nice review 👍
    Posted by SpartanWolf 187 on 02 Aug at 10:28
  • TwinklingPlaysTwinklingPlays162,472
    03 Jul 2016
    11 3 1
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    What happens when time breaks? Quantum Break defines a theory.

    Quantum Break offers marvelous theories about time travel and what happens when time paradoxes happen. Right up to the endgame you will be in doubt who’s right and what the best course of action is - this does not happen often in games, neither movies.

    Remedy Entertainment has made a staggering story that keeps taking unexpected turns. Quantum Break opens up a tale with Shawn Ashmore in the lead role as Jack Joyce. The game released on april 5th 2016 on PC and Xbox One, released by Microsoft Studios.

    The story within the game are based on flashbacks during an interrogation of Jack, which turns out to be happening after everything going on in the game, so basically you're just playing through a series of flashbacks. This works well as commentary and glimpses of the interrogation are unveiling a lot of what happens in the background, including why some characters think like they do - it gives them their viewpoint of opinion. All at the same time, you see so little if this scenery that you still feel you play the game as it happens. And it doesn't spoil what the story ends with and who were right.

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    You play as Jack, who meets with an old friends of his, working with physics. You can clearly feel they are old friends that trusts each other, and it becomes even more clear if you stop for a moment and read some emails on a computer you walk past. That email clarifies that Paul has asked Jack to come by and help him out with something. That turns out to be a time machine that Paul and Jacks late brother, William, has built.

    Everything goes wrong from the moment the machine is powered on and as you progress in the story, Jack finds the cause behind the mishap and the fight is on against Paul. Paul has been travelling in time, making money on stock and shares, knowing which stocks would be on the rise before they happened, due to being able to travel in time. With that money, he made the company Monarch, which has been working for years to try and save the time from ripping itself apart.

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    I normally hate live action sequences in games. They simply do not fit in. Quantum Break breaks that opinion to pieces. I simply loved the live action parts in this game.

    The actors aren’t part of the elite, but they all do a decent job with their characters and personalities with a few exceptions. It shows some aren’t that experienced, but Ben Ketai who directed the live episodes has been able to make it work really well. All the details with the technology, the effects and the unconventional camera angles makes for a unique experience.

    The first actor you will recognise is probably Aidan Gillen, especially if you watch Games of Thrones. If you don’t know Shawn Ashmore, then you do after playing Quantum Break, and I can guarantee you will notice him. Have you been watching Lost or Lord of the Rings you will notice Dominic Monaghan as Jacks brother, and he plays just as brilliant as always. Courtney Hope as Beth Wilder is also quite catchy, but she’s less known if you check out her CV on IMDB. She has an array of smaller roles in both movies and series, so there’s a chance you’ve seen her before.

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    You aren’t sure where you have Lance Reddicks character, Martin Hatch. He is able to keep his intentions in the dark thus keeping you in doubt from beginning to end. Liam Burke played by Patrick Heusinger is also an actor who should be recognised - his CV isn’t empty, but just like Courtney Hope, you might have seen him in smaller roles. He plays eminent in Quantum Break, so well that you will feel his emotions through the screen. If you cross check/reference the actors, you find that they might have been recommending each other as they have been working together on a few series such as Fringe, Lost and CSI related series.

    Lots of collectibles, much with much of this reading emails, notes and important company papers - I normally read everything I can find when I play, but it got too much towards the end of Quantum Break even for me. Because Jack is exposed to the chronon particles when the time machine rips apart time, he is granted some powers that is not human. Time has give him weapons for survival and battle - and he’s does not freeze when time stops.

    The first power you get is time vision, which will lit up important things such as enemies, explosives, ammo and weapon - and where your next task is. Later on ýou get dodge and rush which will give you tools and options on how to fight the bad guys. Dodge will make it easier to avoid being killed and rush can get you up and close to take out the bad guys with melee. Well into the story you meet dampeners which is made and activated by Monarch - these are big antenna that simply takes away Jacks special powers. This adds a new challenge, forcing you to use your handgun until you are able to turn off the dampener, making you able to kick ass yet again.

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    Between chapters you will need to take decisions which will affect later happenings, inclusive characters that dies, and how Monarch handles the situation as well as relationships between different people. This is an interesting concept that also encourages the player to play the game again without feeling they play the same story.

    It is quite hard to find something to critique on the graphics and presentation side of the game - there’s some really fantastic scenes, lots of small details, unique feeling with the game and exquisite cutscenes. The filmed scenes which lasts for 20 to 30 minutes are what they are: filmed, so they’re basically perfect. Lots of props actually adds to the immersion and makes me want to watch a movie or a series based on the games universe and what happens after the games ending.

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    One thing that bugs me is how Jack stands when he’s idling - it looks like he has taken a shit in his pants. Mildly said, he is very bowlegged to an extent it seems excessive. This position would be fine if it were to only be active if there’s any enemies nearby, as a ready to battle-position. But not for an idling looking at the scenery posture. The automatic cover system provides a few issues that can make a fight harder, but the damage isn't larger than you just try again if you end up not being able to get into cover.

    A really great experience with lots of rollercoaster rides, while the end has so many twists that you just want to keep playing. Quantum Break 2 anyone? What is most puzzling with this game is how it’s able to keep making you doubt if you’re (well Jack) is making the right decision. Who is right and for what purpose? Can you even save the world? The characters are easy to like, even Serene who Jack disagrees with, have a few sides and opinions that makes you think he is right, and he’s actually doing the right thing.


    Hit; Believable story based on current theories.
    Miss; Friends gone to enemies based on different opinions? That’s hostile, but it misses the fact they didn’t try to talk to each other first.
    Need; Ending was open for suggestions, feels like this story has not ended!

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    4.0
  • XxTiDyxBoYxXXxTiDyxBoYxX260,439
    10 Apr 2016
    8 8 7
    Quantum Break Review

    Remedy Entertainment is a developer that I had heard about before, their acclaimed success with Alan Wake is evident that this studio knows how to deliver a great cinematic story experience. While I personally haven’t played Alan Wake entirely, I will say it was one of them games that got away from me in the last generation. I’m glad to say that with the release of Quantum Break, Remedy have bundled in Alan Wake within Quantum Break to those that preordered it and that gives me a chance to finally play it. Meanwhile Quantum Break is a new IP that has long been talked about how it can bring about a new breed of games that ties TV and games within the same mould as each other. Now if this is the future of how a games story is told, count me in!

    Quantum Break’s story starts off with two characters sat at a table and it seems like an interview is being conducted, one character is asking the questions, she is an Asian woman named Clarice Ogawa and we don’t yet know her motives or who she really is. The other character is answering the questions. His name is Jack Joyce, one of our soon to be main characters. In the interview Jack talks of a fracture in time and why he needed to acquire a counter measure to stop the destruction of time itself. Clarice asks for him to just start at the beginning to where it all began.

    Act 1 begins with Jack Joyce travelling in a taxi on his way to meet his old friend Paul Serene (who is the second main character) at the Riverport University, he gets dropped and gets a call from Paul, this is the first time the player gets control of Jack. Paul tells Jack to meet him at the physics department. If you stray from doing that and explore your surroundings as you make your way to Paul, you can find these objects which you can interact with called narrative objectives which are the games collectibles. These collectibles can be a whole host of different things and it is up to you to find them. Interacting with them gives you some narrative and some back story on why the things around you are happening. The narrative objectives in the first level gives you information on why the university that you a visiting is protesting against a certain corporation called Monarch Solutions which you will later get to know a lot about.

    Anyways once you make it to Paul, Jack and him embrace. They both talk about how its been so long since they have spoke, Paul tells Jack about the project he has been working on called Project Promane which he says is going to change the world. He then mentions that he has taken Jacks brother William Joyce on as a consultant to the project. Paul mentions Will is pretty hard to work with and that Jack is the only person he can trust right now. By this point if you would have been collecting the narrative objectives and reading all of them, you would have already known who William Joyce is and why Paul cant trust his antics. As you make your way to his lab, you have the option to watch Paul’s PowerPoint explaining the importance of the project and the logistics behind it. If you chose to watch, you then make your way into his lab and Paul shows you what he has built. He says what you and him are about to do is not strictly legal but says anything they did together in the past hasn’t been either. Paul talks about the science of the machine and how its like a self contained black hole.

    Jack and Paul both active the machine and Paul tells jack to remember this moment. The voices of Jack and Clarice bleed through into this scene as a narration. Jack talks about how Paul looked really nervous at the time and was under a lot of pressure to make this work by investors. The machine opens and outcomes a second Paul from the two minutes into the future, the project was a success. Paul then tells a confused Jack that to complete the cycle the first Paul needed to go into the machine. He then asks Jack that he is going to test the machine again and to put the settings to five minutes into the future. Once he steps in and the door closes Will enters the lab armed with a gun demanding that Paul turns the machine off. Will notices Jack who he had not seen in six years and tells him that this project will destroy time its self and bring an end to the world. Will pleads for Jack to trust him but realizes its to late and rushes to the controls to shut the machine off but before he can this a massive burst of energy explodes out of the machine with Paul still in it. The fracture in time has happened.

    At this point time has froze which is called a stutter in the games terminology, Jack and Paul are fine, Paul goes into the machine to find a way out and Jack goes to help Will who is frozen, he unfreezes him but once he does that the stutter ends and armed guards storm the lab and begin shooting at the pair. Both escape the lab and make their way to Wills car which he needs to get to. As you are getting there the player has several gun battles and gets access to some of the time powers, this is the first chunk of real gameplay you get to engage in. Once jack gets to Wills car he cant get into it and Will ends up being captured and gets taken to the library on the complex. On the way there you meet Beth Wilder who is another character you will see more of in the later acts. More gun battles take place and you hear of Monarchs plan to steal the time machines core. Once you get to Will he says he will explain what’s happening soon and right now they need to escape but when doing so they both get captured in the hallways of the library. The leader then comes from the shadows to reveals himself to be Paul Serene who is decked out in military gear. He attacks Jack with his time powers and pleads with Will to stand down. Will refuses and Paul gives the command to trigger the explosion which will bring down the library and seemingly kill Will. This is the end of Act 1.

    After Act 1 is done, we move onto the first junction of the game called Junction 1 Hardline/PR. You play as Paul in these sections. This is the first story decision you are faced with and choosing whichever one impacts your games story for good including the live action show. Once you have made your decision the junction ends and the first episode of the show starts. If you have been collecting the quantum ripples in Act 1, you will see the changes you have made to the world in this episode. A little icon in the top right during the show indicates when the quantum ripple is happening. Depending on what junction you chose to go down, this will dictate how the show starts and how the show will progress throughout further episodes. I chose PR, in my episode it started with an interrogation. Martin hatch is talking to one of the witnesses of the university incident and blackmails her into helping him fool the media with a PR campaign designed to paint Jack Joyce as a terrorist. I then got introduced to a few new characters who worked at Monarch and their job was to locate Jack who had escaped from the clutches of Monarch. Loads of action happens in the episode with some character development. Overall a good way to start off, acting was good, CGI was passable, the fight scenes are not film calibre but still can remain believable to the watcher. A good first episode.

    The start of Act 2 is more of the same, you learn a lot more about monarch and what Will Joyce was up to. You get introduced to new enemy types, one is a brute that carries a shotgun and is basically a glorified bullet sponge, another is a guard which has a chromosome harness on which allows him to move when a stutter happens and gives him time powers. The more you progress through Act 2 and the rest of the game you are presented with twists and turns in the story, some of which you can steer to with your choices in the junctions. The cinematic feel with strong acting really lifts the story in the later acts, you will find yourself really engrossed with what’s going on and wanting to push on to the end, although the science behind what’s going on can get quite confusing especially with the whole time travel factor but remedy do try their best to explain some of it in simple terms.

    Finally at the end of Act 4, the live action show comes to a close. The show for me personally was good as a side handle to the game, it also added storyline depth to those characters that in the game really only show up in the narrative objectives. The show on its own would crumble compared to other similar shows out their which are of the same sci-fi feel. I feel like one more episode of this show would have been beneficial to tie those niggling loose ends that we never got a conclusion to.

    To conclude with the games story, in Act 5 you get a massive dose of gameplay as Jack tries to infiltrate the Monarch HQ building, this for me is the best part of the game. Once you’re done there and you come to nearly the end of Act 5, you get a final boss battle to end this experience, this can be a real pain in the ass. To defeat the boss you have to use all your time powers especially if you’re playing on hard. After that the story concludes, the game ends with in my opinion a satisfying ending that ties up the main story line while putting a cliff hanger there to set up Quantum Break 2 plus an after credits scene which kinda explains the whole interview sequence and what happen to Martin Hatch amidst the chaos.

    The Time abilities Jack acquires throughout the game help you through gameplay in a lot of ways. Firstly Time Vision is basically eagle vision off assassins creed in were it highlights enemies and points of interest on your HUD. Time Stop allows you to freeze a certain position entirely for a certain amount of time with a bubble that can trap enemies within it. Time Dodge lets you jolt quickly in any direction and if you aim while doing so, it slows time down allowing you to shoot the bad guy in a cool way. Time Shield when deployed puts a bubble around you to essentially soak up bullets while you recover your health. Time Blast is a charged blast of energy that targets a certain blast area. And lastly Time Rush lets you quickly sprint in a direction slowing down time in the process. All of these time powers can be upgraded with chromosome particles which can be found around levels and you can spend these in the upgrade section.

    Gameplay is fun in Quantum Break, It breaks from the mould of being a standardize third person shooter with remedy implementing time abilities. Adding that dynamic makes for some interesting and fun gameplay in my opinion. There is a little bit of parkour in the game but nothing too special and is merely there to get you from point A to point B.

    Presentation, graphics are good for the Xbox One, no frame rate lag for me and I didn’t encounter any bugs, acting is superb in the game, in the show not so much for some of the minor characters. It felt like they was lacking something. The licensed soundtrack is also pretty good, I enjoyed after the end of every act jamming out to a tune I’d never heard of, it worked.

    Achievements wise, the games list is pretty easy, you can gain most of them as you play through the game, there is ones attached to each time power, ones for completing each act, ones for collecting collectibles and ones for completing the game on each difficulty. Pretty self explanatory.

    Summary

    + Time powers adds a fresh feel to the TPS genre
    +Compelling acting lifts the games story
    + Meaningful collectibles

    - Live action show felt too shallow
    - Science can be quite confusing at times
    4.0