I played through the beginning of “Quantum Break” on the Xbox One a few weeks back, but was interrupted by the trip to San Francisco for Build 2016. Bad timing: What are you going to do? But here are some quick thoughts about the game.
First, if you’re not familiar, “Quantum Break” is the first of what Microsoft promises will be many so-called cross-buy games. This means that those who purchase the game on Xbox One will also get it on Windows 10, and that gamers can go back and forth between the two platforms, continuing along in the same game on each.
I’ve not tried that part—as noted, my experience so far has been on the Xbox One only, and I’m now downloading the Windows 10 version, which is a hefty 42 GB—but I can already see where this kind of capability would be particularly exciting with a plot-driven single player game such as this.
From a plot perspective, the set-up is simple enough, and quite intriguing: You play Jack Joyce, a man who is accidentally thrust into a time-traveling action adventure with fascinating implications. It’s more adventure than action, frankly—it’s no Rainbox Six, let alone Call of Duty—but what makes it work is the plot, pacing, and of course the excellent and familiar actors who populate this wonderfully-rendered world.
You may recognize actor Shawn Ashmore as Jack Joyce, as he starred in the TV show “The Following” and in several “X-Men” movies. And the villain is played by Aidan Gillen, a favorite of mine from “Games of Thrones” (he plays Littlefinger). Graphically, the characters are all nicely rendered, with the notable exception of hair; on some characters, it’s more helmet than head.
So far, I’m only on Part 2 of Act 1. What’s happened so far is that the game has been set up with an explosive set-piece at a local university, and from here on out you’re off to solve the mystery and try to return things to normal. What those things are, I can’t quite say, but “rift in the space/time continuum” is pretty close.
Play-wise, the game works best as a goal-oriented adventure, and the vague-feeling battle sequences can get a bit tedious, especially if you’re used to the more precise controls in shooters. But the “Time Stop” capabilities—sort of like bullet time from “The Matrix”—with which you’re imbued are quite nice, and the game does a nice job of mixing up how you use them, even in the early going.
I’ve been looking for a nice break from Call of Duty, and “Quantum Break” may serve as the appropriate venue for some long-overdue non-shooter gaming. I’ll keep playing and see whether it stands up over time. (Pardon the pun.)