Aah, time travel. The mind boggling stream of quantum physics that no one understands completely and yet are fascinated by it. Books, movies and even videogames have adopted the theme of time travel to entertain and engage audiences. Remember BioShock Infinite? The conclusion that made you play the game all over again? Or the TV show 12 Monkeys? Or Interstellar that led you to scratch your head as to how time travel helped save the world.
Today, we have with us Quantum Break. The game is primarily a third person action adventure game with four 30-minute live action sequences thrown into the mix. Is this time traveling journey worth your attention?
You don the role of Jack Joyce, an individual who gets caught up in a controversy revolving around time travel. Jack Joyce is played by Shawn Ashmore. You may know him as Ice Man from the X-men movies. He visits his friend, Paul Serene played by Aidan Gillen. You may know him as Little Finger or Peter Baelish from the Game of Thrones fame. So yes, the star cast in this game is pretty stellar. Without spoiling anything, the game revolves around a time travel experiment gone wrong because of which the protagonist and antagonist get some time controlling super powers. As always the antagonist has his reasons for wanting the world to end and the protagonist wants to be the unsung hero who saves the day.
The story of the game is intriguing yet time travel fans have enough reason to find loopholes in the story. The overall narrative will keep you on your toes and there are junctions where you take on the role of the antagonist to make crucial decisions that affect the outcome of the game. What’s interesting is to see how these choices play out as these different junctions become a motivation to replay the game. The downside, is that the final outcome of the game is set, so irrespective of the decisions you take, the game will end the same way.
Apart from the regular cut scenes, there are four live-action sequences that play out at the end of each act (the game has five acts). These live-actions sequences are nothing like what we have seen in the Sega DC game Night Trap. They are well produced high budget live-action sequences that last for about 30 minutes each and will definitely draw your attention.
The biggest downside to these live action sequences is that they don’t come on the disc. You have to download them separately or stream them. On the Xbox One, these live actions sequences span 75GB and that is a lot. Add to it the 45GB download of the game if you want it digitally and you are looking at an overall download of about 120GB. That’s huge! You have the option to skip these live action sequences, but I highly recommend that you don’t as they add depth to the story and characters.
There are notes, emails, voice recordings and video recordings scattered throughout the game to keep you apprised of the background story.
I personally didn’t expect the story of the game to be this intriguing and I wouldn’t mind playing the game a second time just to see how the story is stitched together from a different perspective.
Moving on to the gameplay of Quantum Break, there is a lot of good here and some frustration. At its heart, the game is a third person shooter with some time powers thrown into the mix. Just like Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider reboot, you have the ability to highlight key areas of interest as well as see your enemies for a brief period through walls. You have a set of time related powers like the ability to create a force field around yourself. Slow time for your enemies, create a time explosion (which is essentially like throwing a grenade) and dash through the environment to avoid gunfire. You also have the ability to speed run and melee attack your enemies. The time powers work very well and never gets overwhelming with the controls. These time powers are upgradable and they need to recharge after use, adding a level of planning before you shoot. The gunplay is cover based and even though you can use your time powers from behind cover, there is no ability to blind fire with your gun like we have seen in games like Gears of War and Uncharted.
There is also some puzzle solving, which is as simple as – go pull this lever here or push this switch there to get from point A to point B. These puzzles won’t make you scratch your brain, but are a nice break from all the running and gunning. There are also some ‘time related’ puzzles where you can reverse time to prevent a platform from falling, so you can reach a desired location.
Overall, the gameplay in Quantum Break is functional, but isn’t as smooth as we have seen in a game like Uncharted. The time powers make the combat diverse and a lot of fun.
Coming to the graphics of Quantum Break, they are quite good. The character models are very well drawn and when the scene shifts from in game CG to live-action, it isn’t very jarring. Sure, there is a world of a difference between the live-action and the game, but the graphics of the game stand tall on their own. The manner in which the “fracture in time” and the time powers are shown is a visual treat. There is very little to complain about when you have a good looking game.
One thing that I was worried about is that despite having a AAA star cast, the game would be cheesy because of the dialogue and scripting. I’m happy to say that this isn’t the case. The voice acting is top notch and high tempo background score during combat will give you a rush. From the bullets fired from the gun to the sound effects of time stopping and slowing down, the game is an audio delight. Best play this one with a nice pair of headphones or a good sound system.
Bottom line – QUantum Break
Since the final outcome is this 10-hour long game is the same, there is little motivation to play the game again, except if you want to relive the different choices offered throughout the game. The 75GB live action download is the biggest con of this game. Having said that, there is good here too. The mix of in-game cut scenes and live-action is very well executed. It is at the opposite spectrum when compared to Night Trap and that’s saying something. The action is good, the powers are fun to play with and overall, it’s a good third person action game. If you like games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider and are looking for a deep story driven third person action adventure, then this is one for you.
|Interesting story||75GB live-action download|
|Well paced gameplay||Low replay value|
|Live-action sequences are well produced and executed|
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Platforms: Xbox One & PC
Price: Rs. 3,999
We tested the Xbox One version of Quantum Break.
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