Well, the first 30 minutes after the extremely spoiler filled introduction that we aren’t allowed to show you. Quantum Break is the next big IP from Remedy Entertainment, home to past classics such as Max Payne and Alan Wake. Exclusive to Xbox One and PC, Quantum Break is both a traditional third-person action game for the likes of Remedy, but also part experiment. Interwoven in the game is a live-action series that you impact as you play, with protagonist Jack Joyce not wasting any time getting himself into trouble.
Without mincing words, Quantum Break’s opening is fantastic. It doesn’t waste time letting you know some of its rules for time travel and time manipulation, and then wastes even less time letting you dabble with them. Jack Joyce may uncharacteristically slide into the role of serial killer far too easily (this seems to be a difficult thing for any game to get right), but his justifications for at least starting are clear and easy to understand.
I’m treading carefully around any detailed plot points, because the first Act of Quantum Break is filled to its eyes with twists and turns already. All you need to know right now is that Jack and his brother Will have played witness to an experiment which threatens time itself, and Monarch, lead by the brooding Paul Serene, is trying to make sure that neither of them get in the way of…something.
Thick plot aside, the first Act of Quantum Break does a good job of establishing the tone of gameplay that so far travels quite nicely throughout the next few acts. At its most basic, Quantum Break is a third-person cover shooter. It’s a little less like the cover shooting in The Division, as Jack automatically ducks behind waist high cover and pokes his head out when you’re aiming. It’s organic and fluid, and the gunplay itself is rather great. But it’s the way you throw caution to the wind with his time bending powers that really brings out the fun.
The first act featured only regular grunts to shoot through, but already Quantum Break had me flirting with death. The AI is relentless, and sticking behind a single piece of cover for too long had me flanked on most occasions. The time powers put me on the offensive however, allowing me to freeze time in a small bubble and stack bullet damage for explosive impact. Or dash to nearby cover while initiating an almost bullet-time period at the end. Or creating a massive time freeze around me to brush off incoming fire.
These and a few more are some of the powers introduced in just the first hour of play, most of which you can see me messing with in the first 30 minutes of gameplay below.
There’s more to come of course, and already Quantum Break is challenging me to think about how these different powers work well with one another. Near the end I was getting almost a rhythmic flow to my engagements, quickly dashing out of cover while throwing a freeze bubble at a far off enemy and engaging another in slow-motion right in front of me. How Quantum Break keeps testing the experimentation of these combinations will be paramount to its enjoyment – and I expect enemies to adapt better the more I play.
We’ll be showing off just how the live-action series woven into Quantum Break is organically affected by some of the choices you make, as well as the very first episode of said series along with our own choice. Quantum Break is out on April 8th, and we’ll have our review up well before then when the embargo drops.
Last Updated: March 21, 2016