Quantum Break Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Quantum Break. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
Note: Since it's initial release, the PC version of Quantum Break has suffered from a number of issues that have made it almost unplayable. For this purposes of this review, the PC version and the Xbox One version of the game were used. Several bugs were encountered on the PC version and the Xbox One version was used to finish the review.
Quantum Break may not seem like it but as a AAA game, its a gigantic risk. While the action scenes are pretty standard, it dares to tell it's story in a way that no game in history has before. It may not achieve every lofty goal that it sets but that doesn't mean that it's not a success. With it's fantastic visuals, solid gameplay and intriguing story Quantum Break hooked me in like few games can.
The story revolves around Jack Joyce, played by Sean Ashmore (X-Men, Fringe) as he goes to visit his scientist friend Paul Serene, played by Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire) after he asks him to fly out and check out his progress on a new project he's been working on at 4 AM and quickly learns that it's a time machine. If it all sounds familiar it's because the setup is pretty much Back to the Future (think about it), but those similarities stop very quickly. Things go very wrong and an explosion creates a ripple in time, threatening to end time as we know it and giving Joyce the ability to manipulate and control time for short spurts. Your goal is to hunt down Paul, stop his corporation and save time and the world. Quantum Break employs a lot of the stereotypical time travel story tropes but uses them well. A good majority of the story is well written and features a number of cool twists that I didn't see coming.
Of course, Quantum Break doesn't tell it's story like most games. It's broken into five chapters, which are broken up by TV show style scenes that dive deeper into the world Remedy has created. When it was initially announced the general worry was that these scenes would be cheesy FMV type scenes but luckily that's not the case and I actually found myself enjoying these segments much more than I thought I would. Clocking in at around twenty minutes each, these episodes go a long way in adding depth to the world of Quantum Break, especially Monarch Corp, the organization created by it's main villain. While there are still moments that they seem like your typical organization run by an evil guy, they're a much more rounded and fleshed out entity than you'd expect. They have an IT department, inter office relationships, and even a health care program (as evidence by an announcement for free flu shots inside one of the buildings). It's a bit of a curious idea no doubt since you're going to be shooting and killing a number of their employees but it's a welcome addition in an industry that's ok with so many corporations existing just for the sake of being evil.
These TV show sections are also directly impacted by what you do in the game. At the end of each chapter you're given the ability to play as Paul Serene, the game's main villain and make a choice. The first one for instance gives you the choice to either kill all witnesses to one of your company's worst days but the other is a bit more strategic and you force a fake confession from a witness after intimidating her that places all fault on the shoulders of Jack Joyce. There also small narrative objects you can find in the game like e-mails or files that you can read through that will have minor effects on what happens but the game doesn't really do a great job at telling you this so you're likely not going to know what you missed. Regardless of what you do, you're still going to end up at the same end point but it's a neat story telling mechanic that kept me playing Quantum Break and looking out for everything I could find.
It also helps that Quantum Break looks so damn good. This is the first game that I genuinely feel like it could not have been done on the previous generation of hardware. There are some awkward animations here and there but for the most part, Quantum Break looks, sounds and like nothing you've played before. Even the actual gameplay moments look like those cool too good to be true trailers you see at trade shows like E3.
It's a bit disappointing then that the rest of Quantum Break couldn't take as many chances as the way it tells its story. Quantum Break is not a bad game, it's just not a very original one. Jack Joyce starts the game as an every man who knows he's in over his head but he quickly becomes a gun toting commando unafraid of ruthlessly murdering Monarch troops. That's really what you're going to be doing most in Quantum Break, entering a room or parking lot, killing a bunch of bad guys and then moving on. More often then i was comfortable with my prime goal was to clear the area of enemies and that was it. For what it's worth the game does do a great job keeping the action moving, ensuring that there's always something to do and the enemy AI is far better than most action games with enemy soldiers taking smart positions to try to track me down and often worked together to take me out.
Unquestionably though the true star of the game are the cool time powers that Jack Joyce receives from the time ripple. At it's heart, Quantum Break is a superhero origin story and it's a lot of fun to play around with the abilities you're given. You can blink across space in an instant, teleporting you from one end of the map to another or create an impenetrable shield around you allowing you time to heal. The most useful that I've found though were the time vision which allows you slow down time just enough to pin point enemies and resources and the time burst ability which allows you to shoot a blast of time...stuff and freeze your enemies. You can then unload your bullets into these time bubble thing and watch as all of the bullets hit at the same time when it finishes. None of these are new abilities and plenty of games use similar ideas but Quantum Break uses them smartly enough and it's a lot of fun to mix them around.
The game is in a hurry to show you all the cool things it can do and as a result, the second half of the game feels a lot slower paced than the first. There is a skill tree and upgrade system and work but it rarely feels like it's worth the time because of the minimal upgrades it offers like longer effects for most of your abilities. The first few hours of the game feature a pretty steady stream of new abilities and new enemies to sue them on but everything slows to a drip shortly after the game's midway point. It's like “Hey, you can do this awesome new thing...try it out!” versus “Hey, remember that awesome thing we told you that you could do a bit ago...now you can do it for a few seconds longer!” A lot less of an impact right?
Quantum Break may not accomplish all of it's lofty goals it sets for itself but it's still more than worth your time. The story is interesting, the gameplay is solid (if not inspired) and you'll actually care about the chatters involved in it's world. Much like Max Payne and Alan Wake before it, Remedy has crafted a unique and worthwhile action thriller that needs to be played to understood and there's nothing wrong with that.
Joe started off writing about video games for small fan sites when he realized he should probably do something with his communications degree and didn't want to get into the grind of daily reporting. Joining the team in late 2008, Joe is the featured game reviewer for Cheat Happens, producing up to 10 CHEATfactor Game Reviews per month.
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