Remedy Entertainment are quite widely considered one of the best studios in the gaming industry thanks to an unparalleled track record of quality games such as Alan Wake and the Max Payne series. Now, Remedy is readying to release Quantum Break on the Xbox One and Windows 10 platforms on April 5th. Originally unveiled at the Xbox reveal in 2013, Quantum Break immediately showed off an ambitious concept: A mix of time-bending gameplay and live-action television episodes threaded through key moments in the game. The game unfortunately suffered from delays but that may have been in part to the all-new cast that was revealed at Gamescom 2015 where gamers discovered that X-Men’s Shawn Ashmore, Lost’s Dominic Monaghan and Lance Reddick, and Game of Thrones Aidan Gillan had joined Remedy’s ambitious sci-fi title, replacing the old cast. What this tells us is that Microsoft inevitably invested more money in the blockbuster game in a bid to help it gain more appeal due to the better known cast of characters.
Quantum Break’s plot while, on the surface, may appear quite generic actually seems like something that is rarely tapped into in the video game medium. What I mean to say is that many games feature elements of time travel or time-manipulation but very few have it at the centre of the game. Quantum Break follows the story of Jack Joyce who gains time travel and time-manipulation powers after a time travel experiment gone wrong. Joyce is being hunted by the evil corporation Monarch Solutions as he attempts to ‘fix’ time. Quantum Break adverts have been telling us that ‘Time is power’ and we love the fact that this time-manipulation premise is the core of the game as we have no doubt that the gameplay and the narrative will be very unique.
When the live-action television tie-in was announced, it was fair to say that some were reluctant to see it as an innovative aspect of the game. We have had games attempt this before i.e. Defiance where it simply didn’t work out as hoped. However, Quantum Break includes these live-action episodes on the disc and they are unlocked once you complete a segment of the game. As far as we’ve heard, it’s likely that these live-action sequences can be skipped for anyone that doesn’t want to take a 20 minute break from time powers ass kickery but we would recommend that you try being more patient as Remedy revealed that the live-action sequences will follow the game’s villain, Game of Thrones Aidan Gillan, head of Monarch Solutions and this really does sound like something that will add to the intensity of the story and we wouldn’t recommend skipping it.
Well, safe to say, by the look of things from the most recent gameplay previews from Thursday that the wait has been worth it. Quantum Break looks more refined and polished than ever and the new cast shine in their respective roles. First of all, visually the game looks very, very impressive indeed. Since all previews were recorded on Xbox One’s, we must say it truly is quite remarkable that Remedy have managed to make the game so visually astounding on the Xbox One’s hardware. We can only imagine how jaw-dropping the PC version must look, if the recommended specs are anything to go by we imagine it’ll be quite the treat. Additionally, since Sam Lake, Creative Director at Remedy, recently came out with a statement about Quantum Break saying that the game “is definitely the most ambitious, defining Remedy experience we’ve built so far.” which should give you a hint at the graphical prowess of this game.
Quantum Break undeniably looks very refreshing. Let’s face it, third-person action shooter games are aplenty nowadays and that can make it difficult for a game borrowing similar mechanics to stand out but Quantum Break seems to break this trend with time travel and time-manipulation powers that are key to Jack Joyce’s arsenal. Some of Joyce’s time-manipulation powers include a Time Vision ability, which highlights enemies and pick-ups which should be familiar to anyone that’s played a game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Time Dodge has Joyce dashing short distances and triggering a slow-motion bullet-time-style aim similar to the gunplay featured in the Max Payne series. You’ll also have access to a Time Stop ability, which freezes enemies caught within its radius in addition to temporarily stopping the path of your own bullets, which build-up in the gravity of the time bubble and inflict magnified damage once everything unfreezes.
What we like from what we’ve seen of Quantum Break’s gameplay mechanics is that it’s almost what one would imagine to be produced were Remedy’s other games Alan Wake and Max Payne had a baby. Alan Wake was praised for it’s unique use of a flashlight or other forms of light as a weapon and Max Payne was adored for it’s time-slowing shooting mechanics. It seems Remedy have put the best of both of these games and created something that looks truly empowering as you play as Jack Joyce. Joyce is essentially a superhero, considering his newly gained time travel and time-manipulation abilities and we can’t wait to step into his shoes and take down enemies in gratifying combos of our powers. Another benefit to the combat that has been teased with Quantum Break is the potential for the game to be played very tactically, as we suspect might be imperative later on in the game. Since the enemies have equipment that allows them their own time-manipulation powers, we imagine that the direction you take in facing these different enemies will force you to adapt if you wish to stay alive.
So, the game looks fantastic both graphically and in terms of gameplay, the game also features an ambitious live-action tv tie-in with top class well-known actors so is it time to call Quantum Break a Game Of The Year contender? Well, we’re sure some would say it’s premature but in terms of new IP at least, Quantum Break definitely looks like the best of the bunch. With a high production value, Remedy have created a AAA sci-fi blockbuster here and since the game is launching simultaneously on both the Xbox One and Windows 10, we have faith the game will find the wide-appeal and success that Alan Wake couldn’t when it first launched. From the limited previews we’ve seen and heard, critics seem to have nothing but praise for the title and while it’s still up for grabs whether this will be the Xbox One’s first 90+ rated metacritic console exclusive, there’s no doubt in our minds that Quantum Break is definitely shaping up to be a Game Of The Year contender.
What are your thoughts on Quantum Break? Do you agree that Quantum Break has GOTY written all over it like I do? Get involved in the discussion below and let us know your thoughts and opinions!