I am certain everybody at least once in their life has wished that they could control time, whether it be pausing time, revisiting your past, or even seeing the future it’s a common dream. Quantum Break more or less makes that dream a (virtual) reality. You play as hero Jack Joyce as he fights his way through catastrophic fractures in time and time stuttering disasters. Master your time manipulation powers, as they’re the only way you can stop the end of time. Pair the gameplay up with the live action half-hour episodes, and you’ve got the start of a unique gaming experience.
First of all, let me talk about the star-studded cast of this game. Shawn Ashmore (of the X-Men franchise) lends his voice and face to our main protagonist Jack Joyce, and he does an excellent job doing so. Our Antagonist, Paul Serene, is played by Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones), with Lance Reddick (Fringe, Lost, The Wire), Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings, Lost), and Courtney Hope (Allegiant) making up the rest of the supporting cast. The game utilized the cast exceptionally well, with the exception of a few smaller characters. I can’t remember the last time I was so impressed with a games facial capture and likeness to the actor playing the character.
In the live action segments, I felt like I was watching a full season-ordered TV show (think along the lines of Fox’s 24) from a major network. The thirty-minute episodes between acts were a nice break from the game as well as a genius way to tell more of the story from a different point of view. The game integrates the live-action TV show perfectly, with in-game choices affecting the show.
The gameplay is really fun and immersive and left me wanting more when I was away from my Xbox. The time manipulation was straight-forward yet really fun to use, creating various combos and pairing time moves with melee or ranged attacks just makes you feel like a bad-ass. The in-game graphics were great for the most part, and the rendered cut scenes were almost movie quality. The cinematography was unique not only in the live action story but in-game as well. Watching a scene from a perspective you wouldn’t have even thought about certainly sets this game apart from the others. The game also has a lot of replay-ability as each choice you make sets you down a different path.
One of, if not THE most important part of any video game, is the story. Sure your game may have been made on the newest engine, and is the best-looking game out, but no one cares if it has a weak story. Quantum Break has a great story. It’s unique and the way it’s told is like no other time travel/manipulation story in any medium. I won’t give away too much, but the story is told from two different perspectives, that of the hero and of the villain, showing you that maybe not all villains are bad. Various points in the story, the game will have you make an important decision as the antagonist, and, unlike some games, these choices matter.
Nothing is perfect though as this game does have its flaws. For one, the dialogue can get repetitive at times. If you don’t do something right away, it leaves NPC’s repeating instructions over…and over….and over again until you do which can get annoying. Another problem with the dialogue is some of the things characters say just doesn’t sound natural, like something a normal human wouldn’t say, or something a person wouldn’t say in the specific situation that the character was in. Staying with the topic of speech, while playing the game I found a lot of times the characters speech would go out of sync with the mouth movements. I understand how hard facial mapping is, but sometimes the sync is way off. Finally, I felt like the game was too short. I wasn’t keeping close track of how long I played, but it was in the ballpark of around 6-7 hours to beat it (not including the live action episodes of course). For a Triple-A game with a $74.99 price tag that’s way too short. Now there is a decent amount of replayability but the main story should be at least 15 hours for that price.
Time Manipulation is touched upon rarely in video games and is done right even less. Quantum Break is one of those games that hits every aspect right on the head of the nail. Smooth control of time, great cast, fun game, unique story. All these factors are what makes Quantum Break a fantastic game. I hope this game encourages more live-action integration from developers as it can actually work (unlike that one game a few years ago, looking at you Defiance). I definitely recommend Quantum Break as it was a fun game, with a good grasp on the time control genre, and really fun story.
Check out one of the many cinematic trailers for Quantum Break below: