Reel Geek Review Time: Quantum Break

 

Greetings fellow geeks, this past weekend I finished up the new video game Quantum Break, from the makers of Max Payne 1-2 and Alan Wake, and figured I’d share my thoughts on the experience.  No spoilers, for those of you that haven’t played.   So, without further adieu, here we go.

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So, since Alan Wake, Remedy’s last game, the studio has really been influenced with the episodic nature of genre shows,  that cliffhanger, binge worthy nature that good television has, and this game takes that combined with an innovative, albeit, short action thriller.

The plot of Quantum Break gets a little convoluted, but it’s nothing that people familiar with time travel shows or movies won’t be able to follow.   It starts out with Jack Joyce played by Shawn Ashmore (X-Men, The Following) returning to his hometown after some years away to visit his friend Paul Serene, (played by Aiden Gillen of Game of Thrones fame) who’s had a breakthrough in his latest experiment, well his and Jack’s brother William (Dominic Monaghan from Lost and Lord of the Rings) have completed a time machine.

After testing the time machine on himself, Paul Serene emerges but 17 years older, grayer, a bit more evil than he was prior to the machine, and from there all hell breaks loose.   As it turns out, the machine’s turn on started a fracture in the fabric of time which will eventually end all of time itself.  Some goons with guns burst in, and Jack and Will are on the run.  It turns out also that this same experiment also gave Jack special abilities to manipulate time, rewinding some aspects of it, freezing time, and essentially super speed not too dissimilar from the Quicksilver scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

And along the way some allies are met, and some alliances formed, and the game play is fun, fast, and only a little bit frustrating at times.     The game is divided up into Five episodes, with each episode of game play taking roughly about an hour or so.  After each episode is complete, well the first four at least, you’re presented with a section where you play as Paul Serene, and using his own time abilities, you’re given a choice as to what Monarch (the evil company that Paul runs)  is to do next, which affects how the game’s story plays out, and then once that choice is made, we’re presented with a short live action segment, a mini episode of Quantum Break:the series, where some of the ramifications to the action in the video game portion, and your choices as Paul come to light, and that part of the game is just as entertaining as the video game part.

Lance Reddick of The Wire and Fringe frame plays the mysterious Martin Hatch in both the show and the game, Paul’s colleague who may be more than he seems.   The other actors in the show portion aren’t any name actors, but they all deliver great performances, the show is just as binge worthy as anything else you’d find on Netflix.

And that’s about all I’ll say on what the game is, it’s best left for you to see for yourself.  As far as my judgement goes, it’s an overall, fun, albeit short game, maybe 12 hours max, but it has a lot of replay value, to see what different choices do to the story, and to hopefully answer some questions that for me were still unanswered when I finished the game yesterday.       The controls are smooth, graphics are fantastic, especially in the cut scenes, had some uncanny valley stuff going on there for a few seconds.  Only thing I really didn’t like about the game was that plot wise it left some things unanswered, and could really have benefited from a fifth episode of the show wrapping things up rather than the ending the game presented me with. Some minor plot holes towards the end as well, and unanswered questions that I’m not sure are the result of JJ Abrams style writing (leaving things unanswered for a later season, or in this case game) or just that I need to play it through again to get these questions answered.  Overall though I’ll give Quantum Break an 8/10.  In a world of clones of the same thing over and over again, it’s nice to see something refreshing hit the game market, albeit a flawed one.

 

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