Quantum Break Review (Xbox One)

I’m going to get right to the point with this review, and say Quantum Break is one of the most innovative video game I have played so far in this current generation of video games. Remedy have taken some big chances with Quantum Break to change the way video games are played like having a live-action counterpart that ties into the main game. It’s a risk because if the live-action sequences are awful, it could easily make Quantum Break a joke for doing this. Thankfully the live-action counterpart is actually quite good.

I don’t think the live-action sections of Quantum Break would have worked had it not been for the great cast which includes, Shawn Ashmore (Jack Joyce), Dominic Monaghan (William Joyce), Lance Reddick (Martin Hatch) and Aidan Gillen (Paul Serene). They are very well received and established performers which helped legitimize the TV show portion of the game. If the cast was full of Z-movie actors and actresses who weren’t highly recognized or that good of performers then the live action portion of the game would have been treated as a low budget joke.

With the way TV has changed in the last decade, I feel it’s smart of Remedy to capitalize on the popularity of TV shows. Tying in a TV show to a video game is no small feat, sure it’s innovative and something new, but there was a big chance that it just wouldn’t work. It’s thankfully not a cringe worthy representation of video games like some movies have done in the past, it’s acted well, it’s produced well, and it’s surprisingly entertaining to watch.

Could it be the new way to introduce longer cut-scenes to video games? Many people have complained in the past about long cut-scenes in video games, and how they have ruined the game for them. I can admit that there are times when I feel a scene is going on too long, and it becomes boring or ruins the pacing of a game. At 22 minutes long, the live-action series is like one big cut-scene, but I never once felt like skipping any of them or that it was slowing down the pace of Quantum Break. I feel this will be the same for players who don’t like long cut-scenes, it’s easier to digest and more acceptable compared to a video game scene lasting that amount of time.

Now I want to move on to the video game side of Quantum Break. Throughout the game you play as main protagonist Jack Joyce as he plans to stop Paul Serene and his company Monarch Solutions. You will spend most of your time defeating Paul’s men using the games interesting time powers that Jack gains after helping Paul test out a time machine which goes wrong, and causes the break in time.

The powers Jack gains include the ability to freeze enemies, create shields to block incoming bullets, and dash around areas along with more time powers. These time powers come with some limited upgrade options which just feels “there” rather than being an important part of the game or crucial to advance further. The time powers add to what I feel is a very good third person shooter. It’s pretty much like being a superhero with a gun in a 3rd person setting, and I can safely say there’s not many games out there like that.

There are times when you feel way overpowered, and the action sections of Quantum Break become too easy even on a hard difficulty setting. There are however enemies introduced later in to the game that have no effect to Jack’s powers or a machine that can drain Jack of his powers. This give Quantum Break players the balance needed in the game to stop you from just spamming time powers all the time, and gives the player a challenge too.

Outside of action sequences, there are parts of Quantum Break that are more dialogue/puzzle heavy and provide a good balance of action and exploration. The puzzle sections incorporate Jack’s powers as being necessary to solve the puzzles, which I must add are extremely easy to figure out.

One of the most interesting aspects of the game are missions which are called “Junction”. These Junction missions take place after an act and before the next episode of the live action series. They are used as bridge between the video game and live action series. You will take control of Paul Serene in Junction sections as you must make an important decision that will come to effect both how the TV show and how the game plays out.

We called the Junction missions in our preview of Quantum Break “an extremely interesting approach to choice in video games” because you are making the choice as an antagonist (Serene) which will effect Jack Joyce who is the protagonist we control for the majority of Quantum Break. Paul’s time powers are different to Jack’s, he can already see what will happen in the future. This means the two choices that are presented to you can be seen by Paul before you even choose them. It’s weird because usually in a game that features choice, the repercussions of choice is a major part of a video games story arc. It’s unique, it’s unlike any other video game that has choice and a morality system.

Junction missions gripped me to the storyline more than anything else in the game, each time a new Junction mission was next it was exciting. I wanted to see how Paul’s storyline would progress and what options would be presented next, and what consequences would come from either choice. There aren’t many games that manage to tie in morality and choice to video games, but Quantum Break did an excellent job here with Junctions.

Everything sounds so great so far doesn’t it? This is the part were I have to talk about Quantum Break’s performance because to be honest it’s not good. I ran in to some terrible texture issues which included blurred textures to even huge textures completely missing and re-appearing. At one point I skipped a cutscene after I already had seen it once before, and the game completely froze on me. Then there’s the live action sections which are streamed which means I had “Content Buffering Please Wait” flashing on the screen as the video froze, this happened multiple times throughout each live action episode.

Remember how I mentioned earlier that Quantum Break isn’t just full of action sequences, well there’s these sections that use platforming in the game that just don’t work at all for me. The handling was poor, and I always dreaded these parts of the game, as I kept missing the jump from one section to another. I would admit if it was my fault, but it seems the aim on the jump is off, and I had to start the platforming/puzzle section all over again.

The Final Verdict

Quantum Break is a very good game that could have been a great game if it wasn’t for performance issues and the handling issues throughout the game. I can’t praise Remedy enough however for the chances they took in Quantum Break, and how well they paid off in the game. I feel there aren’t many developers taking these kind of chances anymore in the video games industry, and full credit goes to the great team at Remedy for doing what they did. Overall I enjoyed Quantum Break even with the few annoyances scattered throughout the game, and recommend trying this one out.

+Great story

+Live action series is fun

+Junction missions are interesting and unique

– Performance and handling issues during platform sections

Final Score: 8/10


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