Quantum Break

quantumbreak

It is very clear from the get-go that Quantum Break was made by the same people who conceived Alan Wake – story is front and center and the game in between is functional, but hardly inspiring. It is a very ambitious project – would have been even without the TV episodes that are interleaved with the actual game.

A lot of times and on many levels, Quantum Break feels like it is full of good ideas that could have used a little bit more attention. On the presentation side, for instance, textures visibly stream in when you’re standing right next to them and effects and environments frequently make the game very hard to read. Gameplay-wise, you get a sense of areas being designed to be realist¬†first and fun later – it is never clear where you can go and the areas where you fight feel ill-suited for it. It is a particularly egregious example of ludonarrative dissonance with an upgrade system that encourages you to search every area thoroughly but a narrative that constantly nags you to hurry along. What makes this even worse is how the game gives you a rough idea of when you are supposed to find something, but if you happen to miss one it will almost never allow you to backtrack. For these reasons, and some ill-advised instant-kill moments, Quantum Break can be frustrating to play.

It is, however, very obvious that these choices were made in order to tell a better story – and it does tell quite the story. It is not as atmospheric as Alan Wake and it left less of a mark on me, but it is an ambitious project with some great performances both in voice and live – Aidan Gillen in particular shines as an unusually sympathetic antagonist. It is a game that is flawed in some ways, and I don’t think Remedy has quite figured out a good way to merge their kind of storytelling well with gameplay just yet, but I am happy that they are trying.

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Posted on Jun 13/16 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »