Quantum Break Review by Deranged Asylum

Quantum Break

Quantum Break

Quantum Break
Deranged AsylumDeranged Asylum500,045
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.

N0T PENNYS B0ATGreat review!
Posted by N0T PENNYS B0AT on 05 Apr 16 at 18:31
Iainoco100% agree with review and the comment smile
Posted by Iainoco on 06 Apr 16 at 21:54
Segendary TyIt's a great review, a little long for my taste and I don't understand why it's only a 8,5/10?
Posted by Segendary Ty on 06 Apr 16 at 23:41
Bar6arianThis game needs a survival mode just for fun. Like the review.
Posted by Bar6arian on 07 Apr 16 at 01:40
Gloss666really good review, very well written
Posted by Gloss666 on 07 Apr 16 at 13:04
Deranged AsylumThank you for the comments. It's not a perfect game which is why I don't give it a 10 obviously being not fully 1080p would be one of the reasons.
Posted by Deranged Asylum on 07 Apr 16 at 15:40
RiahiGreat review, good job.
Posted by Riahi on 07 Apr 16 at 17:12
SmiththedudeI like the review and I agree, but you seriously fault the quality of a game for not being 1080? Not exactly an attribute that a game reviewer should have.
Posted by Smiththedude on 08 Apr 16 at 04:59
Kovy88Pretty sure the Xbox One can't handle the special effects at 1080p, they are top notch DirectX 12 stuff. They wanted to have a steady 30 fps, which they accomplished. Your review is good and the score is high enough already, but what extra enjoyment having 1080p would have brought?
Posted by Kovy88 on 08 Apr 16 at 12:36
Deranged Asylum1080p should be the norm these days for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I'm not saying that not being fully optimized for 1080p was a major flaw more a small factor in me not giving the game a 10 but if you walk up to an area in the game and it takes a while to fully materialise then that has to play a part in any review.
Posted by Deranged Asylum on 08 Apr 16 at 17:25
Lt DavoIt's a great review, but I can't upvote it because it isn't perfect as the score is out of line with the review.

If you don't think that's fair, that's pretty much exactly what you did.
Posted by Lt Davo on 10 Apr 16 at 02:07
Deranged AsylumQuantum Break isn't perfect. It won't be for everyone. I gave it a score of 8.5/10 as I think it's a fair reflection of the way the game looks and plays. I talk it up because it is a unique title that you don't get to experience every day but I reserve 10's for exceptional titles, Quantum Break isn't that.
Posted by Deranged Asylum on 11 Apr 16 at 18:50
Lt DavoNo disrespect intended, but people who want to see a reviewer's score are only looking to find out whether it's:
Awful - 1 star
Not so good - 2 stars
Average - 3 stars
Good - 4 stars
Excellent - 5 stars

That's all people expect. No one thinks 5 stars = "perfect", and no one cares whether you would give it 8.5 out of 10 or 8.6 out of 10. This isn't the Olympics and you aren't the Romanian judge. Even after 3 comments to explain your rating, the only negative you've mentioned is not being 1080p, which you downplayed in the review by stating, "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." In your latest comment, you say it isn't an exceptional game - but your review makes no hint of that feeling. I still have no idea what's actually wrong with the game in your opinion.
Posted by Lt Davo on 11 Apr 16 at 22:10
Deranged AsylumMy review clearly states A.I and Firefights as being a problem, 1080p can be overlooked but graphically it should reach that resolution in the current market whether it matters to some or not there are also streaming issues when watching the live action episodes - this is all mentioned in the review.

The score is 8.5 because that is what my site reviews are based on 1-10, which is also the scoring system for a lot of sites around.
Posted by Deranged Asylum on 12 Apr 16 at 10:01
PrimeBigTimeYour writing style has a lot of potential but I just can't deal with all the run-on sentences.
Posted by PrimeBigTime on 14 May 18 at 05:02
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