Quantum Break Review
PC, Xbox One
When will scientists learn that inventing time travel is a terrible idea?
Jack Joyce is the latest luckless everyman caught in a disaster of a time-travel experiment, this one conducted by his best friend and disastrously causing a fracture in time that threatens to end it completely. On the positive side however, it’s also given him the ability to mess with time itself with a variety of different powers.
This is going to come in useful, because he’s got to step up and save the world from his now ex-best friend who’s come back from the future and formed mega-corp Monarch.
Jack Joyce is a likeable guy, trying to make the best of a bad situation while surrounded by people who seem to know more about this fracture in time than he does. He’s also a bit of a roguish sort, with backstory explaining away his proficiency with firearms as a result of him being trained in light and heavy weapons in Laos.
It’s a solid performance by a motion-captured Shawn Ashmore in the game, and a real live Shawn Ashmore in the live-action TV show that slots in between Quantum Break’s five acts.
Remedy have always played with different media, with Alan Wake playing with the written word and Max Payne exploring comics, but the TV show is sure to be the most divisive part of this package. Between each act are 10-20 minutes of a live-action show that’s a step above the usual video game cut-scenes, and it’s a show that reacts to your decisions, although seemingly just the ones when you play as the villainous Paul Serene in the quiet moments at the end of an act.
The TV show itself is decent, or at least, I’ve enjoyed it. It’s more Syfy channel than HBO or even AMC, but it fits with Remedy’s pulpy style.
One problem with this for every 60-90 minutes that you play, you’re spending 20 minutes or so not playing. This can be nice if you care about the world Remedy is building, but if you’re just here for the crazy time powers, you might end up disappointed.
Give it a chance though, because Remedy’s world building is second to none, and I think Quantum Break really shines in the little details. If you’re willing to spend as much time reading as you are shooting, you’ll find hundreds of little details about the world around you, layers of information that make character motivations make sense and add to the depth.