quan­tum break

We go back to find out why the time-bend­ing shooter Quan­tum Break wasn’t a Rem­edy to Xbox One’s ex­clu­siv­ity woes

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Stephen Ashby Pub­lisheR Mi­crosoft Stu­dios / De­vel­oper Rem­edy En­ter­tain­ment / For­mat Xbox One / re­lease date April 2016

Hol­ly­wood stars don’t of­ten pop up in games. Be hon­est, how sur­prised were you when you heard Kiefer Suther­land’s growl­ing tones as Snake?

But Rem­edy’s Xbox One de­but is dif­fer­ent. It’s got ac­tors from Game

Of Thrones, X-Men and Lost, and they look fan­tas­tic in-en­gine. And at the end of ev­ery act, they pop up in a TV show episode. Against all odds, it is not com­plete crap.

See­ing the char­ac­ter you just watched re­al­is­ti­cally recre­ated in Rem­edy’s North­light en­gine sud­denly ap­pear in a live-ac­tion scene is bizarre at first, but it’s key to un­der­stand­ing the char­ac­ters and what’s go­ing on be­hind the scenes.

Which is handy, be­cause when you reach a story Junc­tion, you have to make a big de­ci­sion. Do you want to keep peo­ple happy, or just cause chaos? Do you trust your right-hand man, or the doc­tor keep­ing you alive?

The de­ci­sion points feel im­por­tant. Nor­mally in games like these, I’ll be in­de­ci­sive. I’ll turn to Google, and see which one is the ‘right’ op­tion. But some­thing about Quan­tum Break felt dif­fer­ent. I made de­ci­sions based on the in­for­ma­tion in front of me. And boy is it re­fresh­ing. Was I right? There was only one way to find out.

One of my favourite touches is how, once you make your de­ci­sion and see it play out, Rem­edy shows you how your choice com­pared to those on your friends list and the com­mu­nity as a whole. My first de­ci­sion went against al­most ev­ery­one who’d played, and re­sulted in a char­ac­ter’s death. I felt like I’d made a mis­take. But later in the story, with the town turn­ing against the ne­far­i­ous Monarch In­dus­tries, my choice was jus­ti­fied.

This is the kind of sto­ry­telling I love in games – where it re­ally feels like your choices make a dif­fer­ence. I’m not just press­ing X to pay re­spects. I’m chang­ing the fu­ture with my de­ci­sions, and al­ter­ing the story (even if the choices are lim­ited).

Mak­ing changes

How­ever, as I play, the ques­tion of free will is raised. If I travel back in time, can I change the past? Do your de­ci­sions re­ally have an im­pact? It raises in­ter­est­ing ques­tions about your choices, and makes you think about their con­se­quences. But this is all get­ting a bit deep. This is a game where Shawn Ash­more from X-Men runs around with au­to­matic weapons and trav­els through time. Am I tak­ing it all a bit too se­ri­ously? Af­ter all, the plot is a twist­ing, turn­ing tale of dou­ble-cross­ings, back­stab­bing and the kind of wib­bly-wob­bly timey­wimey silli­ness that would have David Ten­nant in a tizz. So let’s talk ac­tion. The av­er­age shoot­ing is el­e­vated by some gnarly pow­ers. In the heat of a bat­tle I did for­get about some of them, like the time shield and time blast. But stop­ping time around a spe­cific en­emy, fir­ing a bunch of bul­lets at them, and watch­ing them fly back­wards as time restarts and all the bul­lets hit at once is pretty damn cool.

Ev­ery level is also packed with stuff – in­clud­ing some neat Alan

Wake Easter eggs. The down­side is that a lot of the back­ground story is told through email chains that you’ll stum­ble across. Urgh. Read­ing.

Still, as I put the con­troller down, I find it hard to un­der­stand why

Quan­tum Break wasn’t a com­mer­cial suc­cess. It looks good, it plays well, and it’s got a neat hook. It’s well worth re­vis­it­ing – even with silly sea­son fast ap­proach­ing. ■

“It raises in­ter­est­ing ques­tions about your choices, and makes you think about their con­se­quences”

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