From the creators of Max Payne and Alan Wake comes a third person, Xbox exclusive shooter (at least for now) about time travel, coupled with a TV show. Quantum Break is many things, the two most prominent of which are: ambitious and perplexing. Oh, and delayed.
To be perfectly frank, writing about the new game from Remedy Entertainment is challenging. It confuses the hell out of me. After hours of reading and watching as much footage as I could, I’m still not confident I fully understand Quantum Break’s story, nor how that ties in with the integrated TV show being made for it.
Allow me to explain what I’ve figured out thus far.
Players will be in control of a man named Jack Joyce (played by Shawn Ashmore). Jack’s brother, Will (Dominic Monaghan), is a brilliant scientist and creates a working time machine. Somewhere in the experimentation things go awry and Jack and Will’s buddy, Paul (Aidan Gillen), gets sent into the future. Paul comes back from the future, now at the head of an evil corporation, and kills Will. Jack is pissed, Jack wants revenge. From here on, the game appears to follow the tried and true revenge formula, garnished with an ideological battle between fate and free will. Paul is a fatalist; Jack is the champion of free will. Paul tires to do bad stuff, Jack tries to prevent bad stuff. Bang, bang, bang.
Somewhere amongst the time-stuttered chaos, the TV show comes into play. To make things more interesting (or perhaps more confusing), the show will be filmed from the perspective of the villain(s), but the plot determined by the actions of the player. For instance, at the conclusion of a chapter in the game, players are presented with a choice, the result of which will determine which “episode” of the show is then displayed. Clear?
Aside from the murky nature of this title, the gameplay looks great. The physics and graphics look fantastic. Objects, vehicles and men go flying about in smooth, action-packed chaos amidst the well rendered background. The combat is reminiscent of Remedy’s past work, perhaps too much, making it feel unoriginal. Jack Joyce’s ability to manipulate time, both offensively and defensively, doesn’t seem overly unique either, but it is certainly still impressive.
Forget the strange storyline, at least the gameplay looks fun.
Getting all the moving parts of this new franchise to mesh properly has been challenging. Filming a TV program with multiple plot lines told from an opposing point of view to the player and syncing those episodes with a player’s in-game decisions is ambitious indeed. And confusing. With this in mind, it is possible Remedy has already sealed this game’s fate, for better or for worse.
Believe it or not, Quantum Break was first teased to the public with the original Xbox One reveal in 2013. It’s been delayed several times since then, but is now slated to come out on April 5th, 2016. Who needs the time machine now?