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