Quantum Break is just around the corner and we’ve been playing the highly anticipated release for the majority of the week.
Remedy is well known for Alan Wake and the early Max Payne titles so it’s little surprise that Quantum Break looks very familiar to fans of either title.
The review build we’ve been playing is final, but we where kindly notified of a patch due next week (a week before the release) that will further enhance various aspects including graphics, interface, polish, bugs and loading times, It’s always great to hear developers working so hard to have everything 100% for release and with so few issues to speak of, I can only expect they’re aiming for an incredible level of polish ready for release.
When the game begins, you take control of Jack Joyce arriving at RiverPort university to meet an old friend Paul Serene after 6 years away. He’s called you in to assist with a lab experiment since your intelligent brother jumped ship at the last minute. Soon after starting the experiment your brother Will turns up, there’s a delay which causes an error resulting with Paul trapped and Jack and Will trying to escape the pursuing Monarch Corporation who have caught wind of the not-so legal procedure.
This starts off the first chapter of the game, and throughout this initial 2-3 hours you’ll be faced with a very cinematic and atmospheric experience which will certainly make you think twice about Alan Wake.
Before too long you’ll be firing back at your pursuers and as you might guess, this feels very familiar for anyone who enjoyed the fantastic Max Payne 3 which, while developed by Rockstar games, Remedy had very high praise for the title saying what had been done with the franchise was “Brilliant” so there’s no shocks to find out the they’ve certainly taken the work on Max Payne 3 on board as gun-play feels very similar.
On top of the cinematic experience and the third-person shooting mechanics you’ll find a clever automatic cover system which will see Jack happily snap to nearby cover, this doesn’t feel over powering, and the subtle positioning feels natural and intelligent. Speaking of brains, while not to the level of TombRaider you will be tested with a number of puzzles, some are pretty straight forward and centralize around platforming, but between adequately placed planks and sheets, you’ll be able to find your bearings and with the added benefit of being able to slow down time, you’ll find a few tasks that will feel familiar to Prince of Persia fans.
You reach the end of Act 1….. By this point you will have faced a few twists and turns, Paul Serene and Monarch Comp, are your main foe’s. Paul intends to use his powers for personal gain, and there’s certainly something fishy going down at Monarch. But after spending the first 3 parts of Act 1 learning about Jack and his brother, you hit part 4 and Everything changes….
Part 4 of each act, is a Junction. there’s a tough decision to be made, and Act 1, you take control of Paul Serene, from the opposite side of the Spectrum you need to decide the route the bad guys will take to make life difficult for Jack as the story continues/ After viewing the available choices, you make the decision, there’s a short in-game video and then it switches to the Live action series. With cast from Game of Thrones and Lost to name a few there’s high quality throughout, and if my words don’t make the point, a IMDB rating of 8.7 shows that the TV series side of Quantum Break is a quality production.
Take a look at our first look at the Act 1 Junction below.
There’s a full sitcom-length episode after each chapter, and the contents of these will vary dependent on your choices in game. While many games see players skipping through cut-scenes, I was so immersed, I didn’t think twice about watching the episode in it’s entirety.
If your first choice is to take the PR route, this is shown within the live action episode and then the actions of each carry through to act 2, Playing through with the Hardline approach and going in with the iron fist means that events in the Live action episode you watch, and the game thereafter will alter accordingly.
The high quality cinematic production both within the live action scene and the game itself is immersion at it’s best, and I’m pleased to say I’ve never witnessed game/film integration that is anywhere near this level. While gameplay elements start off slowly in the first stages, you’re regularly reminded Quantum Break is just as much a game as it is an interactive novel or cinematic masterpiece, enemies become tougher and more plentiful and you’ll soon be facing far more than a simple room at a time.
My favorite aspect of the actual gameplay was the usefulness of the time powers, ‘Time Stop’ set’s an area in stasis, while dodge lets you move past a troublesome situation to re-position quickly, and it was vision that proved most useful in the early stages, pausing to outline enemies, ammo and objects of interest before fading away as you begin to move.
With various ways of approaching any situation, It never felt like I was reliant on the powers, but it was definitely easier when I experimented with my options and started to put them to good use.
Many people are doubtful about Quantum Break due to the previous delays, but as soon as you’ve played the game, and seen the lengths that have been met to produce both the game and live action series parallel and integrated within in each other you’ll be shocked and pleasantly surprised at how well they come together.
You’ll have to wait till the 1st April for our final verdict, but rest assured we are so far very impressed with how the game, and experience as a whole is taking shape.