Monday, May 2, 2016

Quantum Break Review - All I Wanted Was a Sonic Screw(driver)

Quantum Break. So much hype, so much promise. Let me say first off, I'm a sucker for a good action game that does weird things with time. F.E.A.R. was one of my favorite games of all time (I may be a little biased on that point though) and I've had a soft spot for games with time powers ever since.

Quantum Break really focuses in on those time powers too. As the game progresses, your character gets a larger, and more varied set, until he can stop time in local areas, sprint up to an enemy and melee kill him, launch a bomb (of time particles or something) and various other powers. I'd almost call the powerset too varied, because there's two or three other powers I didn't list, because I couldn't remember them and rarely used them. Combat is just sort of there. To me it felt like pretty generic 3rd-person run & gun fighting, with time powers layered on top. Think of the combat in Uncharted, give Nathan Drake the ability to stop time and dodge bullets, and you've got Quantum Break's fight sequences.

Far more interesting to me was the story. Remedy's writers had a lot of fun hiding little side story bits around the world (one in particular involving a programmer and his terrible screenplay had me laughing gleefully and inspired an impromptu dramatic reading) and for a main story that could have turned out awfully generic, they did an excellent job of fleshing out the world, and actually raising some interesting questions about predestination and free will.

Then there's the much publicized "TV Episodes" that integrate with the end of each chapter. Basically, they'll be slightly different depending on the choices you've made throughout the game, but overall, the plot doesn't change much. They're perfectly serviceable TV, but feel more like really extended cutscenes than actual episodes of a semi-standalone series.

Overall game length for me was about 10 hours. I'm a completionist though, someone less inclined to try for 100% without using any guides could probably do it in about 8. Add in four 45 minute TV episodes to get the full experience.

There are definitely a few issues with the game, particularly with some of the later game save points. I have something of a personal pet peeve about save points placed before unskippable loading sequences, which Remedy does on at least two occasions.

Overall I enjoyed the game, and the lack of multiplayer achievements means I'll probably go back in and try to 100% it, something I don't even bother to try on games with multiplayer. A Hard mode run will be interesting.

I recommend it, but probably not at full price. Remedy's games really hold up well over time, and when you see it on sale, I'd definitely recommend picking it up.

Hardware: Xbox One (streamed to Win10 PC for streaming/recording purposes)

Microsoft in no way compensated me for this review, and the copy I played was purchased with my own money.

Schedule: May 2 - May 8

Finishing up ChromaGun on the nightly Power-Half Hour stream, then going back to Mechwarrior: Online for a while.

Special May 4th Stream! For Star Wars Day, I'll be doing a TIE Fighter marathon all day! Prizes and giveaways will be had!

And of course, come back to the blog on Thursday for the next post in my aviation series!

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