Quantum Break (PC) Review

By Athanasios 09.10.2016

Review for Quantum Break on PC

Surprisingly, for the big budget used, the name behind Quantum Break isn't somebody like Kojima. Instead, this sci-fi trip down the world of time travel, stylish, The Matrix-like gunfights, and SyFy TV series-esque presentation, is the child of Sam Lake/Sami Järvi, the writer (and initially the face of the main character) of the good ol' Max Payne games… and, to tell the truth, it shows in here, although not in quite the positive way some might be expecting. After success on the Xbox One via Microsoft, THQ Nordic has now brought the title to PC format.

Time: the final frontier. Even if man eventually manages to conquer space in all its scary eternity, he will always be a slave to time. Yes, that's another story about time machines, and how tinkering with them can bring forth trouble with a capital 'T' - in this case the end of time as we know it. Now, the thing about time travel is that it's a very tricky subject, mainly because it is impossible to construct a storyline devoid of numerous logical paradoxes.

The right thing to do is to use time travel as an appetiser, and focus in the main dish: the action, like in The Terminator, the adventure, as in Chrono Trigger, or the human drama, like in… here - or at least that's what Quantum Break tries to do and, unfortunately, fails while at it, mostly because it's hard to care for any member of the available cast of characters.

Screenshot for Quantum Break on PC

The use of B-list stars like Shawn Ashmore and Dominic Monaghan, amongst others, doesn't help much, either. This could have Antony Hopkins and Al Pacino, and the result would still be bland. While Sam Lake managed to take two good, but not that good, games (Max Payne, Alan Wake), and transform them into something special through the excellent use of narrative and fantastic atmosphere, this over here feels like any generic SyFy production, with science fiction themes existing just as an excuse to fill the screen with special effects, and with a bunch of pretty faces taking on the roles of typical stereotypes.

Ashmore plays the passionate "Hero" that slowly adjusts to his superpowers, Monaghan is the "Genius Scientist" who knows how to fix things, Patrick Heusinger (who?) is the "Hunky Cop" (sort of) who will "betray" the big evil corporation and side with the good guys, and so on. The antagonist of the story (played by Aidan Gillen) is probably the most interesting character, since he is the classic tragic villain: the one who does what "needs" to be done, but takes little pleasure from it - but still, the boringly offered story doesn't really let him shine.

Screenshot for Quantum Break on PC

Even worse, after finishing an Act, it will then be time for a 20-minute, live-action episode that will give some insight into what is happening inside Monarch, the company responsible for the coming End of Time. Unfortunately, the already colourless characters of the main game become even more so here, and are, thus, impossible to have a connection with them. Furthermore, this is also the part where it becomes even more obvious why Quantum Break doesn't leave a lasting impression.

What's that? The fact that it takes itself too serious. Despite being a very emotive journey, Max Payne was actually 100% aware that it's neo-noir style was pretty close to feeling campy, and it actually embraced that, became even more over-the-top, and even self-parodied itself - and as a result managed to stand out, instead of feeling like any other Cop-vs-Bad-Guys tale of vengeance. Long story short, while ambitious, Remedy's creation is nothing more than a generic sci-fi tale filled with technobabble, and actors that look like actors instead of real people.

Screenshot for Quantum Break on PC

As for the game attached to all of this, similar to the Uncharted series, it's extremely plot-heavy, and, thus, very, very linear, with all the shooting and platforming between each cut-scene being nothing more than a small intermission. Are these small sections any good, at least? Well, sort of. The platforming and "puzzle" solving is probably the most boring aspect of the adventure. The protagonist can use some time-bending tricks to overcome certain obstacles - running like the Flash before a door closes, or rewinding time in order for a broke bridge to reconstruct itself - but it all feels like a chore where the main mission is to make it all last a little longer.

The actual shooting is the part where Quantum Break feels like it's at its best - at first. Battles are pleasantly chaotic, the fantastic "time-is-glitching" effects that make this so good-looking are even more spectacular here, and the super powers of the main hero make things more interesting. It's possible to encase enemies in time "bubbles" to freeze them, dash away from danger, activate energy shields, slow time, and so on. Exciting? On paper, yes; in reality, however, it all turns into a repetitive bore-fest after realising that every single gunfight is pretty much the same, with enemies having a pretty unimpressive AI, and a severe lack of variety.

Screenshot for Quantum Break on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

The phrase "all spark, no flare" fits like a glove for Quantum Break. It doesn't do anything wrong, but there's also nothing special about it. It looks cool, the time machine-induced apocalypse starts in a promising way, and some of the characters are quite interesting, but it doesn't take much time to realise that hidden behind the flashy shootouts, famous faces, and ambitious storytelling, is a boring and generic sci-fi tale that never really goes anywhere.

Developer

Remedy Entertainment

Publisher

THQ Nordic

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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