Quantum Break Review (Xbox One)

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Quantum Break Official Launch Trailer

Developer: Remedy
Publisher: Microsoft

Main Review

Review Context: I have played Quantum Break through nearing 100% in twelve hours . I have also played and completed Remedy’s other title, Alan Wake.
Date of Playthrough: June 9, 2016

Time travel is a hard topic to tackle when trying to tell a story. With few exceptions to the rules, they seem to break the rules of their world. Quantum Break tries to take on this challenging idea while also trying new concepts to enhance the story telling.

Quantum Break follows Jack Joyce as he races time to stop time itself from ending after his friend Paul Serene’s experiment goes horribly wrong. Jack tells the story itself through an interview as he runs from global industry leader and villain, Monarch. During the progression of the game the player is given choices that will affect the game. These choices can have major impact that change the course of the story, or they can be smaller things you come across during the gameplay that affect future episodes.

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After the initial breakdown of time, Jack Joyce gains abilities to manipulate time. These include stopping enemies to set them up to be hit with multiple bullets at once, speeding to dodge attacks, creating a bubble that shields from projectiles, and enhanced vision to find clues and Chronon particles to upgrade all abilities. Quantum Break at its core is a generic third-person shooter, but with the added time abilities battles become more interesting and fun as you take out endless amounts of Monarch soldiers. Farther into the game you will find enemies who are not affected by your time stopping powers. These specially equipped enemies throw an extra challenge into the mix to make the player really change their play style during the game.

Quantum Break’s story is the most interesting part of the game. While we follow Jack and Paul’s story as time collapses and everyone prepares for the end of the world, interestingly, Remedy has put in thirty-minute episodes of a live action show that focuses on characters that work for Monarch who are key to the story. These will come after every episode and feature stars like Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen, who plays Paul Serene. Other stars include Lance Reddick and Dominic Monaghan. These actors play as their characters from the actual game. The TV episodes give a greater sense of the world in Quantum Break. It’s within these that you really see the effects of the choices you have made, as well as get a sense of what people within Monarch think, and how they react and help move the story from behind the scenes. Production on these episodes are every well done. The biggest hitch with these is that they are not initially on the game disc to begin with. They are streamed in over the Internet. This does pose a problem for people without Internet connections, as a great deal of story is lost without them. You can download the episodes in a free episode pack for a whopping seventy-five gigabytes. However, the size is understandable, considering the pack will contain video for every scenario the player may choose. Yes, the episodes too will change based on in-game decisions.

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The choices in Quantum Break effect how the game’s story is told. While the live action sequences will change and some gameplay aspects could change, nothing too major actually changes. This allows each player to have their own experience with the game, but it doesn’t have the multiple endings that other choice based games have an emphasis on. This does not have much in common with other choice heavy games, besides choices to steer the story. Each chapter has at least one major choice that will affect the whole story, from gameplay to the live action sequence. These can be pretty heavy, as they give a preview of what happens with each decision. Each gameplay segment will have few or several minor choices that can steer the course of discussions or small effects on the live action. These don’t have much of an impact on the game but are more for the collecting.

Quantum Break‘s third-person shooter controls are what you would expect from the genre. Nothing changes drastically, and each time ability is mapped to its own button so it is quick to use. There is a cover mechanic that is pretty basic, but it gets you out of the way from bullets so you can wait a few seconds for abilities to recharge or for you to heal. However, most of the combat will take place out of cover, requiring you to think on your feet and time your abilities perfectly. Combat sections aren’t difficult, but letting yourself get overwhelmed by enemies can result in a quick death.

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Quantum Break is a game that has seems to have been overlooked because it was released earlier this year. While the gameplay is a bit on the generic side, the story more than makes up for it by keeping you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out the mystery and directing the actions of a fun story. The time travel tale seems to keep to the rules of its world, making the time travel make sense and gives you a bunch of enjoyable powers to use in combat. Xbox owners who are looking for a game to play should definitely check this out.

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