Quantum Break is available now on Xbox One, Steam (Direct X11) and Windows 10 Store (DirectX 12),and shows Remedy Games certainly know how to capture the true essence of single-player story-driven games with their earlier titles like Max Payne 1 & 2 and the more recent Alan Wake games. Granted, not the biggest studio out there and games tend to be released every few years, but quality over quantity is always appreciated.
I remember being quite jealous of Xbox One owners after seeing Quantum Break‘s promotional material and was listed as exclusive to the console. Then news came about (much like Alan Wake) that Quantum Break was finally heading to Windows 10-only PCs via the Windows 10 store. There was a bit of an uproar from PC gamers as it was DirectX 12 only, upsetting a lot of PC gamers understandably, especially those that are wanting to stay on Windows 7. So now, as of 30th September, Remedy/Microsoft Game Studios have finally released Quantum Break on Steam and using DirectX 11, which opens up the game to users of Windows 7 or newer.
Quantum Break is a great bit of Sci-Fi storytelling: you start out by arriving at a university science centre to help an old friend out with an experiment after your brother has gone missing. It turns out that the experiment involves time travel (sorry, no Doc Brown or DeLorean!), and you’re asked to help your old friend perform the first live test. Of course, alarm bells go off, but you flick the switch anyhow and a duplicate of your old friend appears to say hi. Much like Half Life, messing with stuff you don’t know about isn’t the best idea without a full compliment of staff, and things start going awry quickly, creating fractures in time after your missing brother shows up trying to stop the experiment, gun in hand. So now, it is up to you to sort out what is going on with help from individuals you meet during the course of the game – thing is, you have been affected by the experiment, and you now have the ability to distort and control time, slow bullets down, temporarily hold enemies in place, manipulate objects by reversing time and so on.
After the opening events, you and your brother have to make good your escape but unfortunately, there is a company helping fund these experiments and like all videogame evil corporations, they have their own private army to try and stop you!
The gameplay, in the most basic of terms, is a third-person cover-based action adventure, much like Uncharted and so on, but with time-bending abilities. You’ll find yourself being led down open corridors, through facilities into larger open areas where you just know a large-scale gunfight is going to take place. Enemy numbers are quite high, so this is where you need to use your new-found abilities on crowd control. As an example, you will come across a heavily-armoured shotgun user during the second act, so I found charging up the time freeze attack to damage the enemy a fair bit, initially, and then hitting them a second time with the time freeze and emptying a clip into them to finish them off.
There are also various explosive barrels dotted about, items suspended in air that a well placed shot will cause to drop and barrels that, when hit, can freeze enemies for a short time. It makes the combat quite tactical and thoughtful; you could shoot a pulley holding a load of board, which then drops and can kill enemies, but you could push forward, forcing enemies away from you and then rewind time and make the same item drop a second time, and so on. This time-rewind ability is a really neat feature and introduces a few light puzzles. Towards the end of Act 2, you have to make your way through a shipyard where the main protagonist has released the items holding a ship in place, leading to rewinding time and using dash etc. to get through it.