After a long drawn out development phase, Quantum Break was finally declared ready and we were lucky enough to be able to play it early for the purposes of this review. Remedy Entertainment is no stranger to games that are story driven, with the likes of Alan Wake under their belt, so I was excited to try their new game. These days I think it is hard to find games that focus most of the development budget on the story, as most of them conform to what the multiplayer generation want, delivering copious amounts of maps and weapons to play online in a never ending loop of levelling up. This new trend in gaming is one that I am not a massive fan of and I am one of those gamers that actually enjoys to play the campaign in COD rather than the multiplayer. Stepping aside from my little rant lets focus on the title at hand and how I found the experience.

Without going into too much detail about the story of Quantum Break as it would definitely spoil the plot for you, I will be as vague as possible. You play as Jack Joyce brother of William Joyce, who were both friends of the games main protagonist Paul Serene. Paul is head of a multinational company called Monarch Solutions with its head office in Riverport, where the game takes place. Both Paul and William have worked on the principal of time travel and for the most part they figured it out. Now, however, something has gone drastically wrong and the storyline focuses on a struggle between Jack and Paul. One trying to fix the problem while the other is looking at the bigger picture of the technology. Paul Serene may be painted as the bad guy, heading up this company that not only runs everything but also has its own private army, but I got the feeling that he was not that drawn to the dark side and truly believed in what he was doing. Jack on the other hand had no idea what was going on and had to wing it all the way through.

I would love to delve deeper into the story but by doing so would ruin the whole game for those of you waiting to play it, so I will leave it there. Moving onto the gameplay of Quantum Break which essentially is a third person shooter at heart, I found it a struggle to begin with. The first firefight I got involved with as Jack totally threw me off as it does not play like conventional shooters, at least from my perspective. Jack will get into cover himself whenever there is trouble around, simply approaching something will have him crouching down to avoid bullets. Once in cover you can do the usual things like blind fire, switch from right shoulder to left and pop up and fire a few rounds, but it is the cover element that is pretty loose. Jack never seems to actually be tight to the object and this allowed me to be shot, more than a few times, by snipers at different points in the game. Also I found the weapons strange to fire, they seem to have very little weight behind them and never really showed any true oomph, for want of a better word. It is not until Jack starts to receive his powers that combat truly shines.

Jack will receive a few powers as you progress through Quantum Break, from Time Rush that allows Jack to zip around like The Flash, to freezing time for a few moments. Freezing enemies in a capsule of time while you empty your clip has got to be my favourite of all the powers Jack acquires. Once the power runs out, all of the bullets fired hit the target at once for a tremendous amount of killing power. All of Jack’s powers can be upgraded to last longer or give a bigger effect, by collecting Chronos hidden throughout the game. In fact there are quite a lot of collectible items hidden throughout the game. These are located by using your Time Vision, which will not only highlight the collectables, but while you are in those battles it will highlight the whereabouts of any enemies within its range. Enemies also vary from the simple dressed up Monarch foot soldiers to ones that are immune to Jack’s powers, these guys have Chronos generators strapped to their back and can zip about the screen as fast as Jack. They do pose quite a challenge when you start encountering them. Another one to watch out for is the heavily armoured, rocket launching guys, these are tough as nails and deadlier than a case of Ebola.

All of the enemies you encounter in Quantum Break will definitely try and kill you, as the AI is relentless. There is no point in staying in cover hoping to freeze them one at a time with a power, as more often than not they will flank you and Jack does not take damage too well. Along with the combat scenes there are a few times when time is fractured and objects are stuck in a loop, for instance I can recall one such instance on the bridge where I had to get past a tumbling trailer. This for me became a matter of pride in the end as I died over and over trying to get the timing right. All of these blend in well with what is going on in the story. Now we come to the way Remedy have blended live action with the gameplay elements. I definitely had my doubts about how this would work, but it not only worked it involved me more in the game. It was like watching a blockbuster movie, with you actually playing half of it. Remedy made these sections intriguing because before you go into a segment of the series you step right into playing as Paul Serene.

This is where you have to choose what path you will take to combat Jack Joyce’s efforts in disrupting Monarch’s plans. Paul can see into the future, not completely but he can see segments of what will happen if he chooses a certain action. You have the chance to see these segments before you choose the path you want and then this directly affects the live series that follows. Some of your choices will make it harder for Jack and some will even see dire consequences for main characters. The series is star studded as we know and obviously had a high production value. With each 30 minute episode I couldn’t wait to choose what would happen. Throughout the game you can find hidden segments as Jack that also effect the outcome of each episode. Bringing both forms of media together in this way definitely made the story of Quantum Break for me and you could see the painstaking brilliance of Remedy’s concept. As with all titles there are some hiccups, I found controlling Jack at certain points a little less fluid than I would have liked coupled with the combat issues I mentioned before and you definitely have a few flaws, but if everything was perfect all the time then there would be no need for people like me.

Quantum Break is a game that steps far away from the norm and brings together two massive media types in a way that has never been done before. Would I call it an experiment? Yes I probably would, but I would call it a successful experiment in my eyes. Some may not like sitting through 30 minutes of a series while they wait for the next part of the gameplay to kick in, but you can skip them if you wish. Doing so would completely defeat the purpose of what Remedy are trying to do here. You may also take the view that Quantum Break only really delivers two playthroughs before it is completely finished, and you would be right, but to combat the value aspect you do get free games thrown in like Alan Wake and a copy for Windows 10. If gamers see this for what it is, a visionary piece of gaming, then you will get the full enjoyment out of all that Quantum Break has to offer. I have to commend Remedy for two things, one for actually mixing gameplay with live action television, and two, for having the balls to do it in an industry that is far too much multiplayer orientated.