Good story based games are often few and far between. When you have a developer such as Remedy Entertainment, you know that you’ll be given a quality narrative, which Quantum Break follows suit with as a nifty experiment that blends gameplay storytelling with a live action mini-series TV show. Does it work? Mostly, if you’re in the mindset of playing a solid story game, Quantum Break might be for you. We get a great story about time-travel, a plethora of minute details that gives more story in collectible emails, documents, and more, and the game is a beauty to behold with excellent gun-play to boot.
I don’t often advocate for time-traveling stories because many of them don’t work or don’t understand the rules that the universe makes. Without spoiling anything, I can attend that Quantum Break does a great job of making a coherent and compelling story, though I wasn’t always sure which side I was more empathetic toward. The game takes a black and white view of heroes and villains and mixes it into a gray matter. Loyalty and strive are tested between two competing factors and it’s not that I don’t like the main character, Jack Joyce (Shawn Ashmore), it’s just that many times there are far more interesting characters than him. Through five acts we see this story unravel, and though the beginning and end somewhat bookend as being more on the dull side, the entire middle and near the conclusion there lies a stellar story to witness.
Aesthetically the game is not only visually pleasing but the time-based powers are a fun element to spice up a normal third person game. Seeing blips in time which time is frozen or moves back and forth in a few second time frame is mesmerizing, and complimented by beautiful use of color. Seeing the blades of a helicopter and the trail they’ve made was one hell of a sight to behold. As I said previously, Quantum Break doesn’t really start with too much of a bang but that’s okay. We get some story appetizers before Jack gets his powers, but the game doesn’t get invigorating till the end of the first act after Jack attains most of his powers. This also is likely related to the game dumping a ton of info on you during the first act that doesn’t really get digested till after the first episode of the TV show.
And what of the four live-action episodes of Quantum Break? It mostly works pretty well. The focus on the show involves the side-characters where we get to learn more about them and their motives. Some dialogue doesn’t bode well here and there, but veteran actors like Aiden Gillen who plays the primary antagonist, Paul Serene, steal the show when he is present. The production values are also rather exceptional, I found myself pretty impressed how big the show was despite there only being a few episodes. I definitely had issues with the last episode and the last act considering one character in particular that made very little sense and had little closure, but in a bigger cast that is done justice, I’ll take my losses because I enjoyed the show and it added to the story.
What detracts from this game are that it sticks with a safe ending, though getting there is a damn treat. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together are fantastic and it’s only a little bit of a let-down at the end because you’re expecting something more, but it all makes sense and it’s damn good writing. I had an issue that affected a small number of people but it’s inexcusable. My first play through I got to act three, the next time I sat down to play it all my saved data was gone and I was forced to restart a new game completely from the beginning. I’m a fan of Remedy, I reached out to them and on numerous forums, but they haven’t contacted me back and haven’t addressed the issue. While they did make a great game, this is unacceptable and brought my enthusiasm down for the game. Finally, the replay value will be low for this.
Those itching for an excellent narrative driven game, the fans of Remedy and Alan Wake, do yourself a favor and buy the game, you won’t be disappointed. You can go back and change some decisions to have a different outcome in your story, so it warrants a second play through, but I beat the game in one sitting after my save data was lost, total play-time was around 10 hours and I found 96% of the collectables. I would say it’s absolutely worth getting on sale whenever that happens, full price may not be too appealing for a limited experience, but one that I say is worth it. Also I would like to add that the music is phenomenal, the rock beats that play between each act are just awesome and get me pumped for the next bit. I will definitely recommend Quantum Break as a great story game, that’s a little on the short side and has some faults, but gives for an overall fun experience that I really enjoyed.
+ Great Characterization in the Fine Print
+ Overall Excellent Time-Travel Story
+ Graphically Beautiful
+ Mostly Enjoyable TV show
+ Fantastic Music
-Game Breaking Save Issue (Small Effect-Rate, but still Aggravating)
? – Liam near the end and Charlie the entire story