Ever since Quantum Break was announced during the Xbox One reveal event back on May 2013, I had high hopes for the game. It looked amazing. Hell, I even thought that game would make me finally spend money purchasing an Xbox console! However, at the end of the day I just knew I was going to wait and see if the game released on PC, because I’m a PC gamer of course. When it was announced that it would come to Windows 10, I knew I had to get it, and last weekend I finally had the money to purchase it, but now, I regret having spent my money on it…
Why would I regret purchasing Quantum Break?
Well, I haven’t been able to game too much lately with the work I do at the office as well as all my responsibilities here at Gamers Sphere, so I have a full plate right now; still, I have to release some stress by gaming anything I have (yeah, I actually do have hundreds of games and feel like I have “nothing to play” too), but I really needed a good third-person shooter to do so this time given how that is my favorite kind of game, so I gave Quantum Break a shot, believing I would have a thrilling, action-filled and story-rich game to play for days. Boy was I wrong!
Some background here. I live on a budget, so I can’t really afford paying too much even for internet connection; that means I have a 2MB connection that downloads at about 250kbps. I’m not even kidding here. Imagine how long it took for me to download a 55GB game! It took three days….three whole days….a bit over 72 hours, about 4500 minutes!!!! But yeah, I’ve done it in the past with different games, I really don’t care “too much” about that waiting time because I know I’ll have tons of fun with the game I’m downloading. That wasn’t the case this time.
Imagine waiting 72 hours for a game to download, finally have it ready on Wednesday at 16:00, start the game, and be done with the full story by 21:20 even after taking your time to explore everything there is to explore, get every “discovery” or as they call them “narrative items” and “intel” on each episode…
You may say “but that wouldn’t matter too much if the story was good, right?” And you would be right. A game doesn’t need to be super long in order to be good. I mean, look at those episodic games that have come out in the recent few years, where you play a full episode in about 1 hour, the whole “season” in about 5-6 hours. Those are some thrilling games that get to you. There’s one of those games that got me crying during the season 1 finale (you may already know which one I’m talking about! I’m trying not to talk about other games in here…), but tha twasn’t the case with Quantum Break, the story didn’t get to me on any possible level, and being honest, I just had a feeling of “Déjà vu” during the entire game, it seriously felt like I had already played that game before, and to feel that with a “new IP from the developer” is bad news.
The story is simple yet complicated. The story begins with the protagonist of the game, Jack Joyce, coming to a campus in Riverport after his best friend Paul Serene asks him to come in order to help him with a demonstration that was so important he needed to arrive at 4 in the morning. When he arrives he gets to know that Paul has been working on something Jack’s brother, Will, had been working on in the past, and he has created a massive time machine that isn’t anything like any other machine we’ve seen in the past, this one requires a whole pool chamber in the university to host it. I mean it, it is huge.
The story wouldn’t be so interesting if something worked just fine, right? So, the time-traveling experiment goes wrong, and we suddenly are being chased by Monarch Solutions soldiers, and everything gets messier as the Joyce brothers meet an older version of Paul who claims to have seen the “end of time” and refuses to try and fix the time fracture that was caused, claiming it can’t be done.
The whole idea is somewhat interesting, because due to the failed experiment, Jack and Paul get some time-related abilities, and this is the whole premise for the game, as Jack will do everything he can in order to fix the fracture.
When it comes to the gameplay of Quantum Break, we have the usual third-person shooter features minus real covering for the protagonist. I’ll go back to that later on. There is shooting with handguns, shotguns, and the whole arsenal you can think about. Additionally, and because only using weapons is so mainstream, Jack has time-controlling abilities such as stopping time in a certain place, which is quite useful when you are being shot at and there’s nowhere to cover.
As well, you can create a time-shield around you when you are surrounded by enemies and just want everything to look super cool before you kill everyone and the time bubble explodes killing the ones you couldn’t shoot right in their foreheads.
You are also able to create an explosion nearby enemies, wherever you want it to be. It is super useful against certain enemies that won’t die when you shoot bullets at them, and I found myself using that one quite a bit, but not as much as the “time rush” which can be used in two ways: the first one is by simply “jumping” from one place to another in a blink, or you can just keep the button for it pressed and you will feel like Quicksilver in the X-Men movies, running around while everything looks super slow giving you the chance to do whatever you want. Until the skill is used up, of course.
Actually, this is the only way to defeat certain enemies, which are supposed to be the “most powerful ones” of the game, as you need to shoot them in a really specific part of their gear, otherwise, you won’t be able to defeat them.
Spoiler alert: you shoot them in the device they wear on their backs.
Now, the timeline is really confusing because, of course, there’s time traveling, and that means you go back and forth in time. One thing that was successfully done was the avoidance of Time Paradoxes, as at some point in the game we travel back in time and visit the places we’ve already been at, while stuff is happening, so Jack will get to see himself from the past, without allowing his past-self to see him, or anyone else.
What’s the issue with covering?
As I mentioned before, to take cover in a third-person shooter is super important. If you cover right, you may be able to defeat your opponents, as opposed to those times in which you simply don’t know how to cover yourself. Quantum Break doesn’t have real covering. You just move around and wherever there’s something that can be used as cover, Jack will use by himself, and he won’t even do it right. Most of the times I was trying to take cover from the bullets, they would still hit me because Jack is so stupid that he will cover his body but never his freaking head, so one of the best aspects of a third-person shooter was taken away from me, and I was forced to simply use the “time rush” skill in order to jump from one place to the other trying to avoid bullets, and running like hell when they were shooting at me so that I could go behind them and kill them.
What about the final boss fight?
Well…what can I say about that one? It was confusing. It was boring. It didn’t make much sense. It was easy.
At the end of the game, Jack obviously has to face the other let’s call them “Time Masters” (see what I did there? Legends of Tomorrow, anyone?), who was at some point in time his best friend, and he brought a full army of men to kill him. Jack simply has to run around this place, killing every soldier he sees, and avoiding some sort of explosions caused by Paul. After a few explosions, there’s Paul’s vulnerability, and you are able to shoot him. You don’t even have to repeat this process many times, and he is dead. Really, it was super easy.
Unfortunately for Quantum Break, the really good things about it are graphics and its soundtrack. I know a lot of people judge games by how “pretty” they look, or how great their soundtracks are, but I am not one of those people. I like an intriguing story that takes me to places I can really get into, with relatable characters that will actually make me care for them and feel their pain if one of their friends die. This is something that simply doesn’t happen in this game. It looks amazing, and the soundtrack makes it feel better than it actually is, but that’s about it.
I mentioned that playing Quantum Break game the the feel of a “Déjà vu” and now I will tell you why. Back in 2007, I found a first-person shooter game that wasn’t like anything I had played before. It allowed me to control time and that helped me move forward in some places where everything was destroyed, because I was able to make time go back for that place for some seconds, fixing the destruction and allowing me to move through it until my powers depleted and the destruction came back. That game was Saber Interactive’s Timeshift. I know they aren’t exactly the same, but if you start playing both games, you will find how similar they are, and if you are anything like me, you will find Timeshift to be way better than Quantum Break.
All in all, and I will be honest saying this, I really regret spending money on this game. Yes, it gave me 5 hours of entertainment (for the first playthrough, the second one took way less, and I did it just to see what would change given the decisions we can take in the game), and I completely understand that the studio needs to pay the actors and actresses for the live-action fragments of the game, but I didn’t feel it was worth it. The worst part about this is that they left the window open for a sequel, and I’m sure I’ll be purchasing that game too with the hopes of it being better than this one.
If you have the opportunity to play the game without having to purchase it, like get a demo of it, or play it at a friend’s house, I highly suggest for you to do it in order to make the decision on whether or not you want to spend your money on this game. I’m not saying Quantum Break is a bad game at all, it isn’t bad, but it might just not fulfill your expectations, as low as they may be.