I’ve been a fan of Remedy Studios ever since they released the first Max Payne, one of my all-time favorite games from the early 2000s. Quantum Break is Remedy’s first sci-fi based video game and has a strong and interesting story that will have you wanting to see it through to the end. The story is where the game’s biggest strength, boasting characters that have been played by real actors that have been motion captured into the game. Where it fails is the actual gameplay.
I am not saying that the gameplay is bad, but it is lacking. You play as Jack Joyce, the brother of a genius named Will Joyce, who creates a time machine. Of course, something goes wrong at the beginning of the game, which gives you powers that can control time. At first, being able to control time is cool and interesting, but the situations quickly become repetitive. You move from place to place, fighting the same guys during the action parts, and completing puzzle and platforming in less frantic parts. The platforming certainly could have, and should have, been cut out to streamline the experience, however in doing so it would have cut the gameplay hours down in an already relatively short game. Quantum Break can be completed in 8 hours, which is adequate given the amount of content.
Remedy tries to add more to Quantum Break by adding in a live-action TV show. Players essentially play the game for a few hours, then make a decision based on two choices, before watching the consequences of those decisions unfold. The live-action TV episodes are around 40 minutes long, with around 4 episodes per choice (or a total of 8 if you play the game again and choose the other choice). It seems a lot went into the production of the TV show and the game development parts suffered. The gameplay is a rinse and repeat, all the way to the end, and watching the live-action TV show pulled me out of the immersion of the video game. Fortunately, the story makes Quantum Break worth playing.
The story is undoubtedly Quantum Break’s key feature. The plot revolves around time, and while it isn’t ground-breaking, it is undeniably interesting. Players try to save the day as Jack after learning that Will has broken time with a time machine that he has constructed. The story has emotional moments, and the science parts are fascinating. It is the main reason I kept playing.
You get to play with some neat time powers too. You can place a bubble around baddies that stops them in their tracks, then unload your gun into them until the bubble pops, allowing all the bullets hit your target, causing massive damage. It is immensely satisfying. Your other powers include the ability to run fast while everything else slows down, kind of like a speed burst, the ability to see enemies through walls (I’m not sure how this ability is related to time, but maybe it is like seeing the future or something), a time blast, and a shield ability. You can combine these abilities to take down the multitude of enemies that come at you, making fights satisfying and as varied as you wish.
Overall, Quantum Break is a fun game to play and watch. What it lacks in gameplay, it makes up for with a decent story. I enjoyed exploring the non-action sections and reading the information scattered around the game. Remedy’s take on time and time travel was an interesting ride. With that being said, taking into account the short gameplay, TV show that ruins the immersion, and repetitiveness of the gameplay, I feel that Quantum Break isn’t Remedy’s best work.
Is it worth playing? Yes, especially if you can pick it up in a sale. Just don’t expect a masterpiece.