Quantum Break Reviewed

Microsoft has made a larger investment in first party exclusive titles since its transition from Xbox 360 to Xbox One. Long gone are the day of being known simply as the Call of Duty and Halo box. Adding to collection of AAA game exclusives for the Xbox One, Quantum Break is another solid entry that I hope becomes a reoccurring franchise over the course of this generation of games.Quantum Break is developed by Remedy Games, makers of Max Payne and Alan Wake, and boy does it show. Remedy Games has pulled the lighting effects and exploration from Alan Wake and combined them with Max Payne’s bullet time physics to create and experience that feels unique from other games so far this generation, and also feels like a blast to play. The game also looks like a million bucks, and almost never drops from its 30 frames per second, no matter how intense the battles get.You play as Jack Joyce, played by X-Men’s Shawn Ashmore, a man who has been called home to help his friend Paul Serene, Game of Throne’s Aidan Gillen, a technology entrepreneur who is poised to make a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of time travel based on the work of Jack’s brother, William Joyce, played by Lost’s Dominic Monaghan. Soon after arriving home a series of events leaves both Jack Joyce and Paul Serene with abilities to manipulate time and puts them on a path that will either save or destroy time itself.Jack gains a stable of abilities for use in combat that feel like they could belong in any of the Matrix movies. Jack can move a lighting speed, throw what can only be described as time bombs, freeze time around enemies, and most importantly….deliver a super time punch that would make any Flash fan proud. These abilities each have their own cool down and are unlocked very early in the game, thus encouraging players to experiment with their surroundings to gain the best tactical advantage. I often found myself freezing time in front of enemies thus allowing me to build up multiple clips of ammo around, all awaiting to be unleashed at the same time. Once that was in place I would dash across the room to my next target, placing myself in perfect position for a shot gun blast. Casting a shield around myself I’d fine a group of three or more men and unleash a time bomb that would take them all out in one hit and finally run at lighting speed to deliver the time punch to the last remaining man. All of this can be done in less than twenty seconds if done right.Gameplay though only makes up half of the game. The game is broken into five acts, however at the end of each act, the game shifts to a TV show format that explores the actions of the antagonists of the game, the Monarch Corporation. At the start of each episode, the player is allowed to make a choice from the view point of Monarch’s CEO. These choices have a profound effect on the world around you. You can play as a cold sinister Bond villain, try to inject some morality into these character’s decisions, or simply do what you think may help Jack Joyce the most further down the line. I personally tried to inject morality into these characters. Over the course of four episodes I learned more about them and began to hope that they would at least make it through whole game, if not maybe even consider joining Jack Joyce’s cause. The episodes themselves are solid and could easily be mistaken for any show you may find on Amazon, Hulu or Netflix. Similar to shows such as Lost, Battlestar Galactica or Breaking Bad, you’ll likely find yourself ready to jump back in at the end of each episode or act just to find out what’s going to happen next.Not all things are perfect in the game though. The game uses an automatic cover system that honestly wouldn’t hold up if not for your sci-fi powers. The final boss battle is somewhat of a letdown, especially given the fact that it’s over after just two waves. Also, Jack Joyce and other supporting characters constantly give you clues as to your next objective, thus taking away some of the joy of discovery.While there are plenty of games where folks shoot people and try to prevent shadow corporations from obtaining world domination, Quantum Break manages to feel like a breath of fresh air. It combat is simply fun to play, enough that as soon as I finished the game, I began to go back to some of my favorite encounters. There are hidden story gems throughout the game that explore the relationships between the various figure heads at Monarch and even a terrible movie screenplay from a chemist about a time knife (it’s a knife but also a time machine). Remedy Games takes their time with each project and it shows. Let’s hope that Microsoft keeps up this trend of pushing new exclusives for the Xbox One. If they turn out to be half as good as Quantum Break, console owners will have plenty to play in the years to come. Have you played Quantum Break? Leave your thoughts in the comments.If you want to hear more about Quantum Break and other games, check out this week’s episode of Geek Versus Games! Game On!

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