Quantum Break

Alan Wake is one of my all time favourite games in spite of its flaws.  A horror themed, atmospheric third person shooter with an utterly bananas story.  Quantum Break is a science fiction themed atmospheric third person shooter with an utterly bananas story…ABOUT TIME TRAVEL!  By all rights I should love this game.  And up to a certain point I do.  But more about that later.

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Look!  Alan Wake exists in this game!  It made me very happy when I saw this little nod.

You take on the role of Jack Joyce, looking for revenge for the murder of his brother due to his involvement in time travel experiments.  You’ll travel from place to place fighting off members of Monarch Solutions who are looking to create a bunker for the best and brightest to save them from the end of time itself.  Obviously this makes them the bad guys because TIME TRAVEL!  The third person shooting itself is fairly ordinary, but the special abilities you get really add to the experience.  Special abilities?  Did I not mention those?  You can use time powers (because TIME TRAVEL!) to teleport around, freeze enemies and generate a protective shield.  This really elevates the combat scenes as flanking enemies, freezing them in a time bubble, filling it with bullets before it unfreezes and unloads all the ammunition at once is incredibly satisfying.

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From time to time the game world freezes for puzzle solving resulting in some gorgeous looking scenes.

It’s a good thing to combat is fun as that’s what you’ll be doing for 90% of the game.  There’s a little exploration allowing you to find items that explain other things going on within the game world.  Reading these can really give the universe some depth, and certain items you find and choices you make will change what you can find and what they tell you.  For example, choosing to have the villains take a hardline approach to people who get in their way results in protests later in the game that make things somewhat easier for you.  It’s a nice feature that encourages replaying the game.  There’s also an entire live action TV show in the game that focuses on certain minor characters that expand the universe further still.  Whilst cheesy, I did enjoy these segments.  Regardless of what you think of the game, the developers worked really hard to create an expansive and atmospheric world.

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Looks like there’s some more enemies arriving.

The world, the combat and the visuals are really rather good for the majority of the game, even if the story is a bit all over the place at times.  Then you reach the final chapter and good god does it take a turn for the worse.  Now I should point out that I was playing on Hard mode (humblebrag!) and the game had been a reasonable challenge throughout, but the final boss was a cheap, overly long difficulty spike.  The final boss should be a challenge, but this was just silly.  You will regularly be killed without any idea of what killed you, the boss can one-shot you and it’s not clear what you’re even meant to be doing.  Worst of all, the boss signposts his attacks with a red glow, but when you are damaged your screen turns red making it impossible to see this telegraph.  It really brought me down after enjoying the rest of the game so much.  Thankfully the rest of the game had been fun up until that point, but it did leave a sour taste in my mouth.

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A train randomly turns up and crashes through a building. Because TIME TRAVEL!

Quantum Break was developed by Remedy and published by Microsoft.  I played the game on XBox One and would recommend it if you enjoy story driven games.  Just don’t play it on hard!

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